The foundation of a building is the most important aspect of its structure, as it provides stability and support for the entire building. Unfortunately, over time, the foundation may become weak, unstable, or insufficient due to a variety of reasons. This is where underpinning comes into play.

Underpinning is the process of strengthening an existing foundation to make it more stable and secure. It can be necessary for a variety of reasons, such as improper building practices or natural disasters. If left untreated, foundation problems can cause serious damage to a building, making underpinning an essential process for homeowners and contractors alike.

What is Foundation Underpinning?

Foundation underpinning is a technique that has been used for centuries to strengthen the foundation of a variety of structures. Changes in the foundation depth, damages in the foundation, or additional weight, such as when adding an extra story to the building, can all lead to the need for foundation underpinning. This technique involves adding support to the existing foundation, which can greatly improve the stability of a building.

The underpinning process is also cost-effective, making it a popular choice for those who are looking to improve the foundation of their homes or commercial properties without breaking the bank. Overall, foundation underpinning has become an essential technique in modern construction, and it is worth considering for anyone who needs to ensure the lasting stability of their structure.

How Does Foundation Underpinning Support Your Home?

Your home rests on its foundation. When the foundation is damaged, the building is stressed in ways it wasn’t built to withstand. When that happens, you may see large cracks, buckled walls, and windows and doors that no longer work properly. Additionally, parts of your home might actually shear away from the rest of the house.

Foundation underpinning increases the strength of the foundation and prevents further damage by increasing vertical support. Vertical support extends deeper into the soil beneath the building, thus adding strength and stability. Two methods of increasing vertical support are steel push piers or helical piers.

What Are Some Signs That You Need Foundation Underpinning?

Generally speaking, cracks are the signal your home may need foundation underpinning. Cracks wider than ¼” are sure evidence of foundation failure, especially if they are diagonal cracks or cracks in concrete floors. Buckled or cracked walls are more evidence your home could benefit from foundation underpinning.

What’s the Difference Between Steel Push Piers and Helical Piers?

Finding the right foundation repair method for your construction project can be challenging. Both push piers and helical piers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. While push piers are ideal for heavier construction projects, they require considerable weight to push the piers into the ground. Helical piers, on the other hand, are suitable for lighter construction projects, but they may not be able to withstand heavier loads, especially if they buckle under pressure.

In any case, it’s essential to work with experts who can assess your project’s needs and determine the most appropriate foundation repair method.

Steel Piers

Steel piers, also called push piers, are interlocking steel pipes that are rammed, hydraulically , into the earth, one pipe at a time. This continues until the piers reach a depth where the soil is strong and stable enough to be considered suitably load bearing. When the push piers are all installed, a hydraulic pump is attached to each. The house is then raised until it is level and the piers are then interconnected with cables.

Helical Piers

Helical piers are also known as anchors, piles, or screwpiles, and they literally screw into the earth. There are two types, round and square shafted. Both are easy to install, require minimal soil disturbance, and are not affected by a high water table. As with push piers, these piers are installed to a depth where the soil is considered load bearing. Then brackets are attached to the wall bases so that weight is transferred to the anchors. This process may be best for larger, heavier repair projects.

As serious as the need for foundation underpinning sounds, it is not catastrophic. In fact, this type of home maintenance is fairly common. When you contact Atlas Piers of Atlanta, we use engineering data to determine how best to repair your foundation, and that often involves foundation underpinning. Give us a call today — we can help you prevent further damage to your home and pocket book.