The foundation beneath your home supports your home's weight. A strong foundation is necessary to keep a building from suffering damage due to soil subsidence. Soil subsidence occurs for numerous reasons, and when it does, you may begin to notice damage such as cracks in the walls and sticking doors and windows.
What does underpinning entail?
Basically, residential underpinning means that a builder or underpinner drives piers such as a push pier or a helical pier into the ground to reach the strong load-bearing soil beneath your foundation. The builder or pinner can then use hydraulics to lift your house back into position. If your home has begun to sink due to soil subsidence, then underpinning is the answer.
Subsidence usually occurs due to construction on poor soils like clay and silt, tree roots under the foundation or water damage.
Here are some of the most common signs that you might need to think about underpinning your home.
When soil under a house subsides, one of the first warning signs is sloping floors. If your flooring has begun to slope, pay attention. Check the rest of your home for subsidence damage too.
Cracks appearing in your walls
A stable building on a strong foundation should not have cracks appearing throughout the internal and external walls. Wall cracks are a sign that the ground is shifting.
Sticking windows and doors
Are you beginning to struggle to open your windows and doors because they keep sticking? Again, this means your walls are moving due to changes in your home's foundation.
Separating ceilings and flooring
A building that is gradually beginning to shift will experience shifting of the walls, ceilings and floors. So if you see your floors and ceilings beginning to pull away from the walls, soil subsidence may be occurring under your foundation.
Leaning on one side of your home
Sometimes, a building begins to settle in a uniform manner, meaning the entire building settles evenly. But if your home is settling on one side, this is known as differential settling. This may be due to water damage in that area or a tree root. If your home leans on one side, underpinning that side of the house is necessary to halt the settling.
If you suspect that your home is sinking, then hire a structural engineer to evaluate your home. They can provide your with a report, which you can use to get quotes from builders or underpinners.