Basement underpinning refers to the process of reinforcing the existing foundation of a building. It is usually undertaken in commercial and residential buildings to extend their durability and increase their structural strength. However, before considering the project, it is essential to understand what it entails and why it would be a viable consideration for your home.
Basement underpinning basics
Traditionally, basement underpinning comprises of materials such as concrete and piers, which are used as stabilizing additions to the foundations of the building. During the commencement of the project, a temporary support structure is built to ensure that the basement does not collapse. After that, excavation is carried out around the basement to create room for laying the piers, which act as the reinforcement materials.
After the piers are laid, concrete is poured on their frames to increase their durability. The process is quite technical, and it should be undertaken by experienced contractors to ensure that the structural integrity of the building isn't compromised during the process.
When to perform basement underpinning
Your contractor may recommend basement underpinning in case of any of the following:
- If your basement shows signs of extensive cracking and water infiltration.
- If the basement shows signs of sinking due to structural problems or old age.
- If the basement is leaking internal heat even after efforts to insulate and repair it.
- Any other signs of structural weakness in the foundation that could cause instability of the house.
If the above situations aren't addressed, they can eventually lead to instability and collapse of your home. However, basement underpinning can solve all these structural issues by providing reinforcement to the existing foundation walls.
Benefits of basement underpinning
Basement underpinning improves the structural integrity of your home by countering foundation weaknesses that result from wear, extreme climate changes, and poor construction and repairs. It also offers the following benefits.
- It opens up the hidden mechanics of the home such as plumbing, insulation, HVAC, and electrical systems and facilitates easier inspection, repairs, and upgrades.
- It improves the usability of basement spaces. If your basement has been prone to flooding in the past, underpinning can eliminate this problem, and allow you to convert your basement into a functional space.
- Underpinning creates more headroom in your basement, and this allows you to add extra rooms, larger windows, and improved lighting to create a better living, working, or gaming space.
Basement underpinning is a less disruptive and cost-effective way of reinforcing the foundation of your home and increasing the functionality of your basement space. Ensure you get a qualified and experienced contractor to undertake this project for the best outcome.