When to Check for Signs of Needed Underpinning or Foundation Repair

Posted on: 5 June 2017

In many cases, you will see obvious signs that your home's foundation needs underpinning or other repair; these signs may include cracks or chips along the foundation or water leaking into the basement. You might also notice cracks along the interior walls and ceilings that indicate the house is shifting and sinking. However, there are times when you may want to give your home's foundation an extra "once over," and check it for needed repair. Note when this is why your home's foundation may need house underpinning in these cases.

Nearby excavations

Keep in mind that soil needs to be compact and firm to support your home and its foundation. When there is a nearby excavation, the soil can shift and start to sink into that excavation, and then lose its firmness. This can cause something of a ripple effect; as soil near your property sinks and shifts, this causes the soil around your home to also shift and then lose its strength. Any time there has been construction, digging, the installation of a new well or septic tank, or any excavation near your home, examine your home's foundation for needed repairs or consider having your own soil tested for strength.

Natural disasters

Earthquakes can cause a foundation to crack, and floods can weaken and soften the material of the foundation itself. If your home has suffered through even a small earthquake or flood, you want to have the foundation examined for potential damage.

This can also apply if there has been construction nearby, as the vibrations from heavy-duty equipment and earthmoving can have the same effect as earthquakes, causing cracks and damage to a home's foundation. Remember that if you can feel the vibrations of such work, so can your house, so have the foundation examined as needed in these cases.

Added weight

If you've added an additional story, a sunroom, or any other feature that means added weight to the home, you want to examine the foundation regularly. This added weight can mean premature damage to the foundation and the need for underpinning.

Added weight can also come from items that you wouldn't think could potentially damage the home's foundation, such as stone floors, another layer on the roof, marble or granite countertops, and the like. Any time you use heavier materials for a home renovation or remodelling project, make it a point to examine the foundation regularly and be prepared to have it underpinned to avoid damage to the foundation and the home itself.