What does underpinning mean?
Underpinning is a foundation repair method that anchors a foundation experiencing differential settlement to soil that can support and stabilize it. (Differential settlement happens when a foundation settles into the ground unevenly. See below graphic.)
Most foundation problems are caused by excess water in the soil around the foundation. See The Importance Of Proper Foundation Drainage Around Your Home for more information.
Underpinning methods for foundation settlement
- Helical and Steel Piers: Helical and steel piers are driven deep into the soil until they reach solid bedrock. Each pier is loaded tested, then the weight of the structure is transferred onto the piers to lift the foundation back to its original position. The installation process is faster than other repair methods and can be installed from inside or outside the structure.
Other foundation repair methods
Underpinning addresses foundation settlement. However, not all foundation problems are related to the settlement. The following repair methods are for foundation issues unrelated to settlement:
- Plate Anchors: Wall anchors are a cost-effective repair method used to stabilize bowing basement walls as well as retaining walls. They are beneficial because they create little disturbance to the work area.
- Helical Tiebacks: If you have bowing basement walls, helical tiebacks are used to stabilize and strengthen them. They can be installed through a small hole in the basement wall. After installation, the hole is sealed and repaired.
- Hydraulic Lift Slab Piers: Slab piers are resistance piers used to support and lift concrete slabs for homes and commercial buildings. They require minimal setup time using portable, vibration-free equipment. The weight of the structure is evenly distributed onto the piers. These types of piers do not rely on skin friction for support.
- Helical Anchors: Helical anchors are designed to prevent soil movement beneath the foundation due to excess groundwater around the home. They lift and support structures where tension resistance and axial compression forces are needed.
Underpinning foundation cost
The cost of underpinning a foundation will depend on various things, including the chosen underpinning method, your geographical location, the size of your home, etc. Therefore, unless we perform an inspection, we can’t give you a ballpark estimate. The only way to know how much it will cost to stabilize your home’s foundation via underpinning is to contact a foundation repair contractor and request an inspection and estimate. Most contractors will do an inspection for free.
When do I need underpinning?
Your home might need underpinning if it’s experiencing foundation settlement. Common signs of foundation trouble include:
- Windows and doors that don’t open and close properly
- Uneven floors
- Wall cracks (with or without bowing)
- Floor cracks
- Stair step cracks in brick or masonry
- Moldings that are separating from the wall or ceiling
- Torn wallpaper (It might be hiding a wall crack)
- Ceiling or floors that have separated from the wall
- Chimneys or porches that are separating from the house
If you’ve noticed any of the above – or even something suspicious that we haven’t mentioned – Epp Foundation Repair has permanent, warranted foundation repair solutions for your settling foundation.
For more information, see Foundation Repair Methods And More: Everything Homeowners Need To Know About Foundations in 2021.
We offer steel push piers and helical piers as solutions for foundation settlement. All of the foundation repair systems are made with the highest standards offering unlimited benefits, including:
- Restores the structural integrity of your home
- Increases the value of your property
- Includes a warranty
- Your foundation will be resistant to corrosion and further settlement
- We do installations year-round
- Made in the USA
- Prevents and stops settling foundations
- Repairs basement wall cracks and other foundation issues
- Designed and engineered
- Made with steel for recycling
If your home has a foundation problem and you’re thinking about underpinning, contact us today for a free inspection and repair estimate.