Underpinning to Correct Subsidence. Subsidence is among the major structural issues that may affect houses. Subsidence is where parts of the house foundation move or sink leading to cracks and sticking doors or windows. The causes of subsidence can be any of the following…
– the house foundations haven’t been dug deep enough;
– where clay soil contracts (due to the water table falling or due to tree roots);
– where water seepage washes soil away from the foundations.
For severe cases of subsidence, underpinning or piling is necessary to resolve the issue. This may be a lengthy, expensive and disruptive process. Fundamentally, underpinning and piling is building a new foundation beneath the existing foundation in order to offer a stronger and more stable base. This will typically involve putting a metal ‘table ‘ beneath the existing foundations and supporting that table with deep metal piles. If your subsidence issues require underpinning or piling then you need to employ an expert contractor to do the work.
Piling and underpinning is very expert work. Experts are a requirement to analyse the subsidence and its causes in order to design a proper solution. The solution design will require complex calculations based on the house structure, the soil, the vicinity of trees and plenty of other factors. From this there’ll be a design for the underpinning table and the piles. Clearly, digging deep piles and putting a metal table underneath a home is a difficult and lengthy task (especially if the house is close to or adjoined to other homes).
If you have serious subsidence then it’s necessary to employ a contractor that has got substantial experience in resolving such issues and in undertaking underpinning projects. Such a contractor would work with structural engineers to analyse the reasons for subsidence and then with the piling specialists who will design the best solution which is implemented by ground works contractors. A good contractor must be acutely knowledgeable to the impact that this work has on house owners (and possibly their neighbors) and should work to attain a quality solution whilst minimizing disruption.
Find out your homes problems prior to buying, contact the Barrie Home Inspector prior to investing in your next property.