When Does a House Need Underpinning?
When a home isn’t structurally sound, you and your family are not safe. The sooner you can recognize key stages of rot or other damage that will hamper your property’s integrity, the better. You never want to leave these problems unchecked, because they will only become more expensive as time goes on. If you aren’t careful, the foundation issues your building is experiencing could lead to your home becoming unlivable, or worse, dangerous. By understanding the key signs of foundation degradation, and knowing when and where to turn to when you recognize the signs, you can avoid long-term damage.
What is Underpinning?
Underpinning is the solution that you need when your home is at risk to due structural failure. It is how you stop a property from falling over or buckling in on itself. The reason you would need underpinning is because the ground underneath your property is not stable, meaning it shifts or drops. It could be because of air pockets under your property, or because of subsidence. Subsidence occurs when the soil draws away from the foundations, leaving them weakened. It can also occur if the soil draws up, causing the foundations to become uneven. Regardless of the cause behind the ground underneath your home moving, it can cause strain and eventual collapse of your property. It is for this reason that it is imperative to know the signs and when to install underpinning into your property.
What to Look For
- Cracks in the Walls
Cracks in your exterior walls are always worrying. There are, however, a few cases where they are normal. Newly painted homes might show a few small cracks from the way the paint dried, and similarly very old homes might have cracks in the paint due to water getting in and freezing over time. When you need to worry, however, is when the cracks go deeper than the top layer, especially around your windows and doors. This can be a sign that the foundation is shifting, and that your property is starting to take extensive damage. When you see this, always call for a professional inspection to be done so that you can learn the root cause and how to fix it.
- Doors Stick
Another sign is that your doors, which were previously easy to open and close, have become difficult. They are often stuck and require a lot of force to get them open. This would occur because the frame has been shifted, and is now bearing more weight on one side than the other.
- House Leans to One Side
The most obvious and dangerous sign is that you can notice your house is leaning to one side. This is because the ground beneath it is sinking or dispersing, and you need to contact a professional immediately to get underpinning done and save your property from ruin.
There are a lot of natural disasters that can affect your property, but foundation issues do not often occur spontaneously. They take time and build up and more and more of the ground underneath your home shifts. By taking the time to know and check for the early warning signs, you can get the problem sorted before it endangers your family.