Underpinning is a process that will strengthen and/or deepen the existing foundation of a building. It is used to reinforce the structural integrity of the building or to add more usable space. It is complicated, extensive work that needs to be done by an experienced licensed and insured professional and requires engineer drawings and special permits. This type of work can be extremely dangerous if not carried out correctly. If work is not done to code or the home not properly supported during the process, the entire building is at risk of complete collapse.
Underpinning or basement lowering is although expensive, can be necessary and well worth the money spent. Sometimes things happen that result in the foundation becoming less stable. This can be a result of an aging home and normal wear and tear of the foundation, or it could be due to poor workmanship, damage from other repairs, climate changes, soil changes, natural events like flooding or an earthquake or putting on an addition which adds weight that the existing foundation simply cannot support. These occurrences can cause the foundation to shift and so it will no longer be able to safely support the home. Once underpinning is done, you reduce the chance of having major structural problems. In the most basic terms, you are ensuring that your home’s foundation is sturdier, safer and has an extended lifetime.
The other use for underpinning is to add more livable space to your home. It is becoming more commonly used in order to gain extra square footage, especially in older type homes. Many older homes were never built with the intention of using the basement as usable living space. Basements were only meant for storage purposes such as storage for coal, oil tanks or cold cellars for produce.
If you are looking for additional room and are not interested in moving, underpinning can be a great option to look into. Underpinning can be a wonderful solution to adding the extra space you need and the options of what you can do with this extra space are vast! With an underpinned basement you can use the space for an extra bedroom, office, play space, entertainment room or in-law suite. Many homeowners now use underpinning to create an apartment which they can then rent out for an extra source of income.
Further to these uses, underpinning will also expose electrical and plumbing systems of the home. This can be useful as they can then be easily accessible for inspection and repair or replacement if needed. In older homes, these systems are probably no longer up to code and so this gives the perfect opportunity to have them brought up to current standards.
Regardless of the reason for underpinning, it has many benefits. The return-on-investment is more than worth it as it will add a significant amount of value to your home! If you would like to know more about basement underpinning or are interested in having an inspection and estimate done, call Rooter-Man! We have many years of experience and always ensure that the job is done safely!