Underpinning is a two-fold winner. First, it creates added height to your existing foundation, which in turn adds 100% usable living space to your basement. Second, underpinning adds positive value to your existing home, also giving your home an added selling feature for re-sale.
What considerations come into play to decide that your home’s foundation can benefit from the construction process of underpinning? The response is twofold. It is either necessary to stabilize structural problems that have developed or it is desirable to meet a whole wish list of living space and economic requirements. Let’s consider these situations individually.
Foundation wall underpinning becomes a necessity when the existing foundation is shifting so dramatically and substantially that it is unable to safely support the house above it. In some cases, the original supporting construction was inadequate for the area climate, soil conditions or types. All or part of the original foundation rested on marginal land with a bearing capacity insufficient to hold up the building. In other cases, interference with the structural integrity of the foundation by unknowledgeable tradesmen, amateurs or do-it-yourselfers created the damage. Early warning signs include changes in the shape of walls, sinking, bulging or sagging, structural cracks, and discrepancies in the alignment of windows and doors. In all instances of underpinning necessity, professional assessment and design are required and the work must be done promptly before further damage or loss of investment can occur. Underpinning the foundation walls in all these cases stabilizes the home and gives increased strength to the building. Your home equity is thereby increased.