Underpinning a foundation describes the process of adding strength and structural integrity to your foundation. Through one method or another, an expert can install an underpinning structure under your home, providing additional stability to your foundation and the home as a whole.
Foundation Underpinning in Virginia, Maryland, DC
The Reasons for Underpinning
Many reasons could cause someone to consider underpinning a foundation. If you’re looking into underpinning your foundation, it’s a good idea to understand what reasons you may have for doing so. That way, you’ll know whether it’s a good option for you.
Although there are a few reasons to consider underpinning, these are the most common reasons for choosing to underpin your foundation.
- House Settling
Settling can be a huge problem for your home. You may see a variety of issues in relation to house settling. That can include gaps between the floor and the wall, nail pops and even unlevel concrete in the worst cases.
If your home is settling, you’ll probably start to see these warning signs. The signs of settling can not only be unsightly but can actually become dangerous if you leave them for too long.
A useful way to avoid further house settling is to underpin your foundation. With the added stability brought along by the underpinning process, your house will stop settling because it’ll have something additional to lean on.
- Poor Initial Construction
There are many steps to constructing a house. If any of those steps go wrong or have corners cut, you may end up with a poorly constructed home. That can have serious consequences down the line, especially if you don’t know about the poor construction.
Poor construction can include not tamping the soil down enough before pouring the foundation, not leveling the soil properly, and choosing a poor location for the home, among other things. You can use underpinning to fix some of these problems, especially if they would largely impact the foundation.
Especially if you purchased the home from another owner, it can sometimes be difficult to verify that the construction crew did their due diligence in construction. A foundation inspection from JES can help you verify whether you need foundation underpinning.
- Change in Usage
There are many things a change in usage can mean. For example, a residence being converted into a business may need underpinning due to very heavy machinery and heavier foot traffic that may happen on a day-to-day basis.
A common change in usage occurs if you’re planning to convert your home from a one-story home to a multi-story home. Though this isn’t an incredibly common occurrence, it’s something your construction team should certainly be talking about.
Are you planning to change the way you use your home, whether into a business residence or into a multi-story home? If you are, it’s important that you get all the information you need from a JES expert, who can help you pave a path to the new usage.
Underpinning and House Leveling
If you’re looking into underpinning because you’re dealing with a sunken home, you’re going to have to address the problem of house leveling. Many homeowners don’t understand the difference between underpinning and home leveling, but they’re actually two different things.
Homes that are already unleveled need different types of attention. Here’s what you need to know about home leveling in the context of underpinning.
- The Differences Between the Two
First off, there are differences between home leveling and underpinning. The difference mainly comes from the reason behind the process and the fact that you need to do them in a very particular order.
Some underpinning methods that JES uses can level the home and also provide stability at the same time. However, they’re simply not a “one size fits all” that works for every single home. That means you and a JES expert will have to come up with a personalized answer for your underpinning needs.
If your home already has leveling problems, that’s something to talk about with a JES expert. An inspection can let you know whether you can level and stabilize at the same time, or whether these two things will need to occur separately.
- Tackling the Cause of Home Settling
One reason you can’t just underpin a home that’s already settled is because it doesn’t tackle the root cause of the settling. It’s important to tackle the cause of the settling because if you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for the same problems to rise again in the future.
Instead, it’s important that you determine the cause of the settling and take steps to avoid it happening again. That way, you’re actually fixing the issues causing the various symptoms.
If you don’t know what’s causing your home settling, don’t worry. That’s pretty normal among homeowners. Get in contact with a JES expert to schedule a free foundation inspection and learn what’s happening under your home.
- Stabilizing Before Underpinning
If your home is settling, you can use underpinning to increase your home’s stability. You just have to do it after you use a stabilization method that will level your home again. With this method of doing both processes one after the other, it’s easier to make sure your home actually stays stable.
Remember that there’s no real way to know what your home’s going to have to go through until you get information from an expert. After all, there are many different reasons for underpinning and stabilizing, and you need to tailor yours to your specific home.
The best way to prepare for house leveling is to make sure you have an expert who can do it properly. Get in contact with JES to schedule your free inspection and learn more about what might need to happen to make your home safe and stable.
Underpinning a Foundation: Your Options
Now that you know what foundation underpinning is, it’s important to also learn a little bit more about your options for underpinning your foundation. There isn’t just one method for foundation underpinning. In fact, it’s more complicated than just putting in one type of underpinning style.
In general, you’ll run into two different types of foundation underpinning. Which one will work best for your needs?
- Foundation Pilings
One of the more common methods of underpinning is foundation pilings. Foundation pilings are installed into a stable soil level, often deep underneath your foundation. Because they push down into the soil until they can’t go any deeper, they can certainly provide a lot of support to a home.
The problem with foundation pilings is that they’re installed with a pile driver because they need a substantial amount of effort to sink into the ground as low as absolutely possible. This can cause damage to landscaping or close-lying buildings; it’s incredibly disruptive, and it’s often a difficult process to go through.
JES chooses not to use foundation pilings because they’re such a disruptive method of underpinning. Although foundation pilings can be useful for some buildings, they’re not typically a great option for everyday homeowners.
- Steel Piers
JES only personally uses and recommends steel pier systems. These systems don’t require heavy machinery to install, and they can be stronger and deeper than concrete foundation pilings, which can allow your home to start settling again.
With JES, you can take advantage of a few different types of steel pier systems. That may include JES Helical Piers, JES Push Piers, or JES Slab Piers. They also drive into a stable soil level, like foundation pilings, but they don’t have such a dramatic impact on the area around them, making them a safe and secure option.
If you’re considering foundation underpinning, steel piers are probably the right option for you. To start with one of JES’ steel piers systems, contact JES today to make an appointment for your free inspection and learn more.
- Foundation Repair Solutions
As mentioned earlier, if you’re already having foundation problems, you can’t just jump straight into the underpinning process. Underpinning requires a variety of systems to work together properly, and one of those systems includes a strong foundation.
Your foundation needs to remain as healthy as possible. If you’re looking into underpinning, you probably already know that foundation health is extremely important. You should extend that to any foundation repair solutions you may need to take advantage of.
If you don’t already have a strong foundation, underpinning isn’t the right option right off the bat. Instead, you need to consult a JES foundation repair expert. That way, you’ll be able to choose a solution that’s right for you.
Underpinning Before a Serious Issue Arises
The question of “What is foundation underpinning?” should also answer a similarly important question: “Why should I opt for underpinning?” Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t take preliminary steps and only fix things once a serious issue forces them to consider the ramifications of not taking action.
You shouldn’t wait until the very last moment to undertake this endeavor. Here are a few reasons you should book an appointment for a home inspection now.
- Avoiding Home Sinking
If your home’s already sinking, you have bigger problems than foundation underpinning. Sinking homes can have a huge variety of problems, and if you’re not careful, those problems could turn dangerous and even fatal.
Instead, you need to make sure you’re avoiding the problems at the very beginning. If you avoid the sinking issues, you won’t have to go back in and handle home leveling, which will be part of any fix that happens in the future.
Although JES can also help you with home sinking, the experts at JES want to make sure your home stays safe before that happens. With a free home inspection, you can get a better idea of the health of your home as it is right now.
- No Foundation Worries
Your foundation is the most important part of your home. There’s a reason that “foundation” is used in non-building contexts to mean an extremely important component. Homes that need underpinning and don’t have it can end up with serious foundation problems.
Foundation problems aren’t something to mess around with. Your foundation needs to stay healthy if you’re going to maintain your home’s structure.
When you handle this problem early on, you no longer have to worry about this coming back to bite you. A JES expert can give you more information about the steps you should take to avoid foundation concerns with your home.
- More Cost-Effective
Above all, doing your underpinning now can also be much more cost-effective than fixing things later down the line. Would you rather invest some money now, or keep the money at the moment, but have to pay many times that amount in the future?
Most people don’t want to pay a lot of money on home repairs, which is why they put off things like underpinning a foundation. In fact, it’s important that you underpin your foundation as early as possible.
When you’re really looking out for your bank account, you’re going to know that you should tackle problems as soon as they arise. Set up your free inspection today to make sure you’re handling your problems early.
Contact an Expert for More on Underpinning Foundations
It’s not always easy to fully understand intricate home repair processes like foundation underpinning. After all, that’s why the experts are usually the ones in charge of the process.
If you want to know more about how foundation underpinning may be able to help you with your current foundation problems, get in contact with a JES expert. That way, you’ll be able to get personalized information tailored to your specific issues.