Home » 7 Reasons Why You Might Need Underpinning Solutions

7 Reasons Why You Might Need Underpinning Solutions

(June 7, 2023)

There are multiple reasons as to why underpinning solutions might be needed. One of the most common reasons is due to building subsidence affecting either domestic or commercial properties and that can be caused by something as simple as overgrown tree roots or a leaking drain. But there are other reasons as to why underpinning services might be needed, aside from subsidence issues. First, let’s discuss what underpinning is, when it’s needed and signs that your property needs to be underpinned.

 

What is underpinning?

Underpinning is a technique used to strengthen and restore the stability and integrity of a structure’s foundations, whether it be a commercial or a domestic property. Underpinning reinforces the existing building foundation and it can be done in a few different ways. The conventional underpinning method can be messy and disruptive to everyday life, whereas more innovative techniques, such as the resin injection method, is highly-effective, long-lasting, non-disruptive and mess-free. Geobear is able to offer the resin injection underpinning method to customers who want absolute peace of mind that their subsidence issue will be completely rectified, and remain that way for many years to come.

 

When is underpinning needed?

Although underpinning is, mainly, used to resolve subsidence problems (something we’ll get onto in a moment), there are other instances where underpinning is needed, from building a cellar to fixing issues after a natural disaster. Other cases where underpinning solutions will be needed includes, but it not limited to, the following:

 

There’s planned construction works going on

Underpinning is often needed if a building is having additional loads built into, or on top of, it. This is essential in order for the existing property to withstand the extra weight, which can be substantial depending on the building work that’s needed. For example, it might be that a hotel is being expanded and is, therefore, having to have a further three or four floors added to accommodate more guests. 

In this case, underpinning will be needed to reinforce the building’s foundations. This is because the existing property was built on foundations that were specifically-designed to hold the weight of the original structure, nothing more. Underpinning is done to restore strength and integrity to the original foundations, so it’s a key part of planned, considerable, construction works.

 

You wish to have a basement or a cellar constructed

Most houses within the United Kingdom do not have basements as standard. Older properties, often from the Victorian era, have cellars, but an increasing number of people are looking to build downwards, as opposed to upwards, in order to gain more space. However, homeowners these days aren’t seeking out additional storage space. Some dig down to have a larger kitchen, a home office or a play area for their children in a bid to add value to their property. 

But you will need to hire underpinning professionals so that the structure can withstand the alterations made. If your house didn’t have cellar space, then you’ll need to dig even deeper down, past the houses’ foundations, and so these will need to be reinforced again to be able to hold the structure of the original house. If you’re looking at extending your home downwards, then make sure you consult an underpinning specialist for further advice and expert services.

 

The property sits on soil that’s not fit for purpose

The soil that your property’s foundations sit on may never have been fit for purpose, even when it was first constructed. However, as a homeowner, you’re unlikely to know this at the time of purchasing. This is why it’s important, and always recommended, to have a structural survey carried out before you buy a house. It’s likely that the house was constructed a long time again, but then it could be that the property was built on an old bog or on land where a lake has been filled in, for example. 

This automatically makes the soil inadequate for building structures on, especially an entire family home. It might also be that the soil has, over time, become compromised by leaking drains or long, thick tree roots that suck the moisture out from the clay, shrinking it down in the process. Although, when this happens, it can be incredibly daunting, it can be rectified with underpinning solutions from Geobear.

 

To elongate the lifespan of a building

As already touched upon, underpinning work reinforces the integrity of the foundations the building sits upon. If your home has never undergone underpinning methods before, mainly because it’s never needed in the first place, then you might find that the effects last for many years and you’ll never have to worry about subsidence issues occurring, or recurring. It strengthens the property itself as well as the building’s foundations. The two come hand-in-hand.

 

Following a natural disaster

Anything from flooding to earthquakes, underpinning can rectify the issues and damage caused by natural disasters. The aforementioned can have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the building’s foundations, thus rendering the property itself unstable and weak. In turn, it could cause the building to shift, collapsing in the process, eventually. Underpinning is something that’s done after a natural disaster has hit to help restore the strength of the building. You’ll also find that it will help in future should another disaster occur.

 

Your property is subsiding

We have already touched on this, but underpinning is often needed if the property is subsiding. Subsidence is when the foundations of a building sinks into the soil underneath, thus causing the house to become weak and unstable. We’ll get into the signs of a subsiding property below, but underpinning is needed to stop and reverse the damage caused by subsidence.

 

7 reasons why you might need underpinning solutions

There are multiple signs that your property is subsiding. Underpinning will be needed, generally on domestic properties, for structures that are subsiding. If you’re worried that your house is subsiding, then keep an eye out for some of the following things. Where you shouldn’t worry too much if you spot one in isolation, you should still keep an eye on it and also pay attention to any accompanying signs. 

For example, it’s entirely possible for doors to become jammed or for them to have trouble closing. This is because they shrink and expand as the temperature changes. Therefore, on its own, it’s not a sure way of determining that your house is subsiding. However, if you’re having a problem closing your doors, your windows are jammed and you have a jagged crack down the wall that you can fit your little finger into, then you likely have a subsidence problem. Other signs to look out for include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Cracks are appearing in walls and ceilings
  2. Floors are uneven
  3. Windows aren’t opening or closing easily
  4. Doors are jammed, sticky or won’t open or close
  5. Wallpaper is peeling or rippling, even without signs of damp
  6. Your extension is moving away from the rest of the house
  7. Your property is leaning, noticeably

 

 

Geobear has a specialist team of underpinning professionals who are always on hand to inspect it for any signs of subsidence. If we determine that your house is subsiding, then we’ll recommend an innovative underpinning method that is guaranteed to stand the test of time – the resin injection technique. The resin will run through the voids, hardening as it goes. This will reinforce the land the foundations sit on. For more information about how this modern underpinning method works, or if you’d simply like further advice and guidance on subsidence, get in touch with a member of our knowledgeable team today – we’re always pleased to be able to help.

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