When Do You Need Underpinning?

Updated October 25th, 2023

Underpinning is an important form of structural maintenance. When structural issues arise, underpinning can help keep homes and commercial buildings from falling apart by strengthening the foundations, usually after major faults or flaws have been spotted.

However, like many home maintenance jobs, it is not always easy to know exactly when underpinning is necessary. But how can you tell if your property needs emergency underpinning support from local experts?

When Is Underpinning Necessary?

Underpinning is necessary when serious structural problems arise, such as cracks, sinkholes, or other major faults. This means that it is usually performed on old homes or homes built on poor foundations – anywhere where the foundations themselves are not sufficient to support the structure above them.

Underpinning needs to be carried out by an experienced building contractor with the correct license and insurance in place. Like many major methods of home repair, underpinning can be a complex and delicate process, often needing thorough pre-planning to pull off correctly.

Since underpinning is tied to foundation weakness, you can usually tell that you need underpinning if your foundations are starting to fail you or cause long-term problems.

What are The Signs That My Home Needs Underpinning?

As mentioned above, foundations are responsible for supporting the rest of the structure. If they become unfit to do so, then your house could collapse into itself – in the sense that its structure becomes less and less able to support itself until it eventually falls apart.

This process often starts off quite subtly, so it is useful to keep an eye out for a few clear signs that your home needs underpinning:

  • Drainage issues: if you have water pooling around your home’s foundation, it may be due to water leaking into the foundation itself, which can have a disastrous effect.
  • Sinking floors: if your floors are sinking, it could be an indication that there is a serious foundation issue that needs underpinning. This also counts if the floors are sinking in only a single direction, such as one-half of your basement or ground floor slumping down.
  • Cracks: cracks can develop at any part of your home or structure, but seeing them at the foundations (or even just at the base of your home, consistently appearing near ground level) can indicate that the foundations are weakening.

There are many reasons why your home may be showing signs of weak foundations. Perhaps your home was built on poor foundations in the first place, or maybe it was hit by bad weather – in particular, flooding or sinkholes. Whatever the reason, if your home has been subjected to this kind of structural trauma, you are probably in need of underpinning support to get it back into shape again.

There are also some homes that are simply built on old foundations that were never replaced or properly repaired. The older a house is, the more likely its foundations are to be older and less reliable.

Looking locally is often your best option. For example, people in Adelaide can often find the method of underpinning Adelaide best suited to their home with only a few quick searches, making it very easy to find the options that suit your needs best.

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