A home is often a once in a lifetime investment for most people and this requires it to be a structure that is sound and one that has foundations that will last. If the foundation is weakened due to any reason, it endangers not only the home but also the lives of those who reside in it.
This is one of the things that, as architectural designers, we have to be very aware of, and we often see issues with older homes that didn’t take other factors into account.
The first signs of a weak foundation come from cracks in walls and floor slabs or settling of floors. This is due to the movement of the soil below the foundation that can be caused by changing water tables, or inadequate preparation during construction, or other reasons. Foundation underpinning is a type of foundation repair that uses piers and other support systems that take up the weight of the home, so that it no more rests on unstable soil, and transfers the weight of it to solid rock on which the piers or other supports are now rested.
In underpinning, piers of steel are driven down hydraulically into the ground till they reach the rock strata. The existing foundations are then connected to these piers with heavy steel brackets, that enables the weight of the home to then rest on the solid rock. The brackets and pier combinations are adjusted to see that the home after it is underpinned, has the correct level. This form of foundation repair ensures that there will be no movement of the foundations in the future and that the home is then safe to live in. Once this job of underpinning is completed, the other repairs to cracks, uneven floors, and other problems, like poorly functioning doors and windows, caused by weakened foundations are then undertaken.
Underpinning is an engineering solution to repair foundations that are weak. This can be a result of land subsidence under foundations or even natural calamities that have had their effect on the foundation. It can also be used in case you need to add floors to your home and require to strengthen the foundations to accept this additional load. It is an exercise that must be carried out by specialists who have the knowledge and experience of carrying out such work. You may also require the contractor carrying out the work to obtain proper permissions for doing the work.
Underpinning Melbourne Website states that it stabilizes a foundation and gives it back its original strength. It must be undertaken only after your home and its foundations are inspected by competent engineers.
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