The Different Methods of Underpinning a Basement

Underpinning is a method used restore damaged foundation or to increase its depth and improve its strength. In traditionally built homes, the height of the basement is not sufficient to adequately provide you everything you would expect. However, Underpinning will solve this problem and deepen your basement with ease. Besides this, underpinning can also be used to correct faulty foundations that have suffered a lot of cracks and settlement. If your foundation is not strong or stable enough to hold the weight of your property, this procedure will also come in handy and restore the structural integrity of your home. If you are interested in increasing the load bearing capacity of your foundation or if you want to add more floors to your house, underpinning is the right method for reinforcing your home. Let’s take a look at some of the methods for underpinning the basement of your house.

Correct Method for Underpinning Your Basement

The right way of choosing the underpinning method depends on the type of foundation of your home. Besides this, you should also have in mind the structure of your foundations, factors that have caused damage to it, and the depth of excavation. Also, before you get carried away, determine a budget and strictly follow it. Materials, local permits and regulations, as well as the required time frame to finish the job, may be rather expensive.

Now let’s take a look at some of the commonly used methods for underpinning such as mass pouring, the beam and base method and the pile method. The most traditional method of underpinning is mass pouring, and it is suited for shallow excavations. All you need to do if you choose this method is to excavate the weak soil underneath the surface pour concrete in its place. Since concrete is stronger than soil, it will strengthen the base, and increase the load bearing capacity of your home. The advantages of using this method are the following:

  • Low labor costs
  • The simplicity of engineering
  • There is no need to evacuate the property

Beam and base method involves using traditional mass concrete base but also incorporating beams to support the existing foundation. The load is transferred to a concrete beam located bellow, above or in place of the existing foundation. The beam provides evenly support for the mass concrete base and strengthens the foundation.

Similarly to this method, you can use Sheet Pile or Screw pile. It all depends on the architecture of the structure built on the foundation and the type of load you want to apply. If you opt for pile method, your contractor will drive piles at equal distances along both sides of the wall and connect them with concrete or steel needles. These needles will penetrate the walls and strengthen your home’s structure, but relieve the load of the existing foundation. This method is especially recommended for houses built in clay soil or waterlogged areas. Before you opt for any of the mentioned underpinning processes, make sure you remove the heavy load of the building from all floors of the property. Additionally, to make things extra safe, you can install temporary structures that will protect the property.