Subsidence is one of the most common causes of structural damage in homes. This happens as the result of several factors, but the most typical one is the foundations shifting in the soil. Often, the most effective way to deal with this very problem is underpinning, which is, by the way, just one of the many ways to deal with the issue of foundations. Your foundations demand special care so that you do not end up in a situation where the entire structure is shaken. Underpinning is a complex project and will take some time to be done properly. Hence, we have prepared a list of signs that may indicate that your home will need underpinning.
Underpinning is the process you use when your foundations are no longer able to support your house. Typically, it is not the main problem when it comes to the foundation, but the soil is underneath the foundations. There are a couple of different types of soil that can be found under the foundation, and not all of them are strong enough to sustain the weight of the heavy foundation as well as the house built on top of it. The soils are changing, and Adelaide soils are particularly susceptible to changes. To that end, employing the non-invasive underpinning in Adelaide would be an effective solution to the problem as it can use the techniques of soaking up the water and changing the soil with lightweight materials. The problems you can face when building your house on certain types of soil include:
- Expansive soils: this is the soil that contains a huge amount of clay. It can swell, and when it does, it may shrink in the same way when it dries out. The cycles of swelling and shrinking can usually happen because of the seasonal basis, which makes the soil move and put great stress on the foundation.
- The soil that was not compacted—soil that was entirely removed and then backfilled—needs to be compacted before the construction takes place. In the event that this did not happen, the foundation would be quite affected by the stress and movements of the ground.
- Large trees around the buildings slurped up the moisture. When the large trees are planted around the buildings, they can soak up all of the moisture and make the foundation shrink since it dries it out. When the foundation starts to sink into the voids, you will face troubles.
One of the most obvious signs that your home is going through structural changes, such as the foundation shrinking, is the cracks in the walls. A majority of homes have cracks in the walls, which at some points should not be so concerning. Newly built houses can have a lot of small cracks as a result of the house settling, and you will notice that new plastering can result in a couple of tiny cracks. However, sometimes these small cracks can grow into something dramatic when the cracks become more substantial and noticeable, and cracks like these are the first indicator that your home requires underpinning. The cracks appearing around the door and window frames are the ones of greatest concern and will suggest that the frames of your windows and doors have pulled from the surrounding walls.
Uneven floors and waves in the floors are strong signs that the foundations are sinking. You may also notice cracks in the floors, most probably in the external concrete floors such as the ones in the garage. Step cracking in the brickwork and diagonal cracks in the plaster are also great indicators that the foundations are giving up, and if you notice the subsiding footings and foundation or even sinking, it is the scream for help and a situation that will be needed to be sorted out by underpinning.
When you get expertly fitted windows and doors, you will get the ones that have a very narrow margin of failure. So, any change in the alignment of the frame can therefore result in the door or window sticking or not closing in the right manner. If you have ever come across this issue, then you know what the struggle is. In the majority of cases, people think that the door or windows are to blame, but most certainly it is the problem with your foundation, which needs to be underpinned. Whenever you notice a single door or window sticking, you will not feel as if it is a great issue you should address immediately. However, the sooner you check your foundations, the consequences of further shrinking would be less dramatic.
Here is yet another quite obvious sign that you will need underpinning as soon as possible, and it is when you notice that your home is leaning to one side. If the leaning of the structure is obvious, it is an indicator that the structure is moving and the soil is moving away from it as well. Once the learning becomes obvious, it means that you should have consulted the experts a long time ago. But worry not; it is still not too late.
We have already addressed the internal doors, but we should also talk about external construction as well. Now, this is not as obvious a sign as the previously mentioned ones, but if you notice that your doors are squeezed out, it means that you need to pay attention to this problem. If your external doors are stocking out and you are having trouble opening and closing them, then this is one of the signals that your home is facing foundation problems and that it might demand to be underpinned. Since you have noticed these construction changes, it means it is high time for you to call the experts in.
Underpinning is the process of recovering your foundation, which proves to be one of the structurally most important elements as it provides support for the entire house. If you have noticed some structural changes, that may be an indicator that you need to call in the experts to inspect the current state of your foundation.