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Does My House Need Underpinning?

February 26, 2024

Your home may require underpinning if you notice obvious signs such as cracks in plaster, brickwork, render, or expansion joints opening up and uneven or sloping floors.

Signs harder to detect are windows and doors that are out of square and do not close properly, or gaps forming beside windows/doors. 

What is underpinning?

Underpinning is the process of strengthening and reinforcing the soil/foundation of a building by treating the load bearing soils and helping to support the structure. Today there are multiple ways this can be achieved.

Resin Injection

Mass concrete

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Screw Piles
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When is underpinning required? 

Underpinning is generally required when there is a change in the soil structure that supports the foundation. This change could be a result of,

  • A rapid change in moisture content in the soil that supports the home can lead to either drying, causing the soil to contract, or ingress of water, saturating the soil and reducing its bearing capacity.
  • Damage to plumbing such as stormwater, sewer pipes and water lines.
  • Poorly compacted fill.
  • Footing design may be inadequate for the class of soil on which the home is built.
  • Trees close to the home can be a factor in removing moisture from the surrounding soil.
  • Building works such as extensions or new homes being built nearby can affect the footing of a building if they are nearby.
  • Natural disasters such as drought, floods, and earthquakes, whilst well out of our control, can cause some of the worst subsidence.

Identifying the root cause of footing subsidence is a strenuous undertaking. But it’s essential for successfully addressing subsidence issues and ensuring the long-term stability of your home’s footing following underpinning.

If you suspect your home may require underpinning, consulting with underpinning experts to evaluate the condition of your home’s foundations, slabs, the surrounding soil, and any potential moisture-related concerns is an excellent initial step.

How long does underpinning last? 

Given the underlying issues that have caused subsidence are treated e.g. leaking pipe, raingarden beside footing etc. then the underpinning should last for the duration of structure life. At Rectify, as underpinning experts we do offer 10 year workmanship warranty, and general consensus is it should last at least 10 years after chemical underpinning is utilised. 
When engaging underpinning contractors, it is essential to check how much warranty they give, and check the amount of warranty on workmanship rather than product warranty.

Amelia Martin

Rectify Editorial Lead
Amelia Martin's expertise in structural engineering is matched only by her eloquence in writing about it. With numerous successful projects under her belt, she's a respected voice in the industry. When not advocating for building longevity, Amelia enjoys hosting backyard barbecues, playing the didgeridoo, and mastering the art of Australian Rules Football.

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