A building’s current foundation can be strengthened and/or deepened through the process of underpinning. It is employed to increase the building’s usable space or to support the structure’s structural integrity. This is extensive, complex work requiring special permits and engineer drawings to be completed by a qualified, insured, and licensed professional. If done incorrectly, this kind of work can be very dangerous. The building could collapse completely if the work is not completed in accordance with code or if the house is not adequately supported while it is being done.
Underpinning or basement lowering, although expensive, can be necessary and well worth the money spent. Occasionally, events occur that cause the foundation to deteriorate. 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 that 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 the 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 of 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 a 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, an 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 for 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.
In addition to these uses, the underpinnings will also expose the electrical and plumbing systems of the home. This can be useful as they can then be easily accessible for inspection, repair, or replacement if needed. In older homes, these systems are probably no longer up to code, so this gives the perfect opportunity to have them brought up to current standards.
Regardless of the reason for its 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!