Building foundations are the components you rarely get to see on your structure. They sit buried in the soil, carrying out the uphill battle of supporting the whole structure. Problems with the foundation will not hide for long. Anytime there is a structural problem with the foundation, it will show up in several ways just days or weeks after it begins. You must address these problems within the shortest period possible to ensure that your foundation has enough strength to support the building. Underpinning is one of the reliable techniques you can use to restore your foundation. Here is more information about foundation underpinning.
Breaking Down the Term "Underpinning"
Underpinning is a strengthening technique used to elongate the depth of a building's foundation so that the footing stands on a better soil structure. It comes in handy when you need to repair a foundation that lost its structural integrity. Additionally, you can use underpinning to alter your foundation to suit the needs of your building after making structural changes. For example, you can use underpinning to strengthen your foundation after adding a floor to your building.
Causes of Weakness in Your Foundation
The elements that cause a weak foundation are responsible for the need to carry out underpinning. However, you can also underpin as a preventive measure when the risk of a failing foundation is imminent. Some of these causes include:
- Extensive excavation in an adjacent property, which affects the footing of your foundation
- A failure to account for soil structure in the initial construction phases
- A significant change in the soil structure due to excess rainfall or other climatic elements
You can use several underpinning techniques that can be used to repair and restore your foundation. They include:
Jet grouting – the jet grouting process involves injecting jets of cement grout into the soil at high velocity. The cement grout often comprises water and air to help with proper settlement and curing. Typically, the cement grout will form columns of more robust, grouted soil under the existing foundation.
Mass concrete method – underpinning using this technique involves replacing the weakened soil with a mass of concrete. You need to carry out an extensive excavation to create room for the new mass of concrete that will take the soil's place. The concrete will cure to form a sturdy platform to support your building. It is worth noting that mass concrete underpinning is one of the traditional forms of underpinning.
To learn more, contact a foundation underpinning company.