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Does My House Need Underpinning?

(January 25, 2024)

You might have heard of subsidence and underpinning, but how do you know whether or not it’s something that affects you? Underpinning is only really needed if your property is suffering the effects of subsidence, often as a result of soil shrinkage or expansion. But how can you be sure that underpinning is necessary? Firstly, let’s delve further into what underpinning is. We’ll then touch on when it’s needed along some different underpinning methods. Only then will you be able to determine whether your house needs to be underpinned.

 

What is underpinning?

Underpinning is a process that’s carried out in order to support and strengthen building foundations that have become unstable. It works to reinforce the existing foundations by adding strength to the soil. Alternatively, it can be used as a way of extending the foundation so that considerable loads are distributed over a more vast surface area. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fixing subsidence or soil support problems. This is why it’s important to know when it’s needed, the options that are available to you and the steps you should take next.

 

When is underpinning needed?

Underpinning is only needed should your property suffers issues with regards to soil support, including:

  • Subsidence
  • Expansion
  • Contraction
  • Excess ground moisture
  • A lack of ground moisture
  • Large trees being planted nearby
  • Damaged plumbing left unrepaired

However, as a homeowner, as opposed to an underpinning professional, it can be difficult to know the signs of soil support problems. As such, some tell-tale signs that might indicate that you need underpinning solutions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Doors and windows that have become jammed
  • Doors and windows that won’t close
  • Cracks in driveways, patios and garden paths
  • Water pooling in specific areas on driveways, patios and garden paths
  • Cracks in walls measuring at least 3mm wide
  • Cracks in ceilings measuring at least 3mm wide
  • Wallpaper rippling where damp isn’t present
  • Sloping floors
  • Diagonal cracks running along mortar lines on exterior walls
  • House extensions coming away from the original building

 

What are the different underpinning methods?

Underpinning might sound like it just covers one method, but underpinning actually covers a wealth of different solutions and services. Depending on the severity of the issue and the budget you have, there are a few underpinning methods to choose from. 

However, the most popular method that we, here at Geobear use is the resin injection method. Despite this, however, there are a couple of other options available to you, including:

  • Concrete slab – traditionally used to increase the size of the building foundations, it also strengthens them in the process. This is a traditional underpinning method that is still used in projects today. Although, it can be disruptive and rather messy, unlike the resin injection method
  • Screw pile – this method looks to combine steel piers with concrete footings in order to lift it to its original position. It works to close up the gaps and cracks that have formed as a result of the building sinking. It’s a permanent solution, much like the resin injection method
  • Resin injection – Geobear invented this solution. It works by injecting the ground with resin that hardens as it goes along. It runs through all of the cracks and voids under the ground to restore strength and stability to the foundations. It’s non-disruptive and not messy at all, either. This is a method we like to use here at Geobear

 

What should I do if I need underpinning services?

If you think that you need your house to be underpinned, then the first step to take would be to have a subsidence survey carried out with Geobear. A member of our expert team will conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine whether or not underpinning solutions is something that is necessary in your individual case. 

It’s always best to establish whether or not it’s needed but it’s also important to work out the extent of the issue first. If underpinning is needed, then the team here at Geobear will be able to discuss your options with you. 

The most effective, long-lasting and non-disruptive way of carrying out underpinning is the resin injection method, as already touched upon, briefly. This is a method that Geobear is proud to use as it provides excellent results that will last for decades to come. If you’re in need of underpinning, then look no further than Geobear. 

 

Geobear is pleased to provide subsidence survey services and underpinning methods that will stand the test of time. If you think that you’re in need of underpinning solutions, then get in touch with a member of our friendly, professional team today – we’re always happy to hear from you.

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We deliver projects on any sort of building or structure – from conservatory extension problems to 80,000m2 warehouses and road infrastructure. In most cases we will have the best solution, so get in touch today.

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