Whether you own a home or any other type of structure, the foundation on which it sits can be a protective factor in preventing Earthquake damage. Seismic shocks and waves are a natural occurrence in the Southern California area especially, as this beautiful region lies near an impressive fault line. To keep our homes safe and secure from damage, the foundation must be in the best condition—this might require some updates and improvements from time-to-time, depending on a few factors.
Older homes and buildings are especially susceptible to earthquake damage, but floods and rockslides can also create foundational issues. Foundation underpinning is a process that cannot only address existing damages to a home or structure’s foundation, but it can act as a preventive method for keeping your home from encountering any new damage due to natural disasters and occurrences. In this article, we’ll go over the basic types of foundation underpinning and how you can determine if your home could use a foundation remodel.
How to Know if a Structure Requires Underpinning
The most efficient way to determine if your home requires foundation underpinning is to have a foundation expert assess the existing damages or potential for damage in the future, which rests on several factors including the age of your home, its location, and the quality of construction.
If your home has already encountered damages due to seismic activity, it will be apparent in external and internal conditions. You might notice cracks in the exterior of the home, uneven walls or doorways, and even water damage can indicate earthquake destruction.
Other Reasons for Underpinning
Depending on your home’s location, including the quality of soil and incline it rests on, a foundation expert might recommend that you alter the foundation of your home to best protect against damages in the future. Furthermore, if you plan on making any structural changes to the building, the foundation will need to be adequately underpinned.
Most Common Methods of Foundation Underpinning
Foundation underpinning is a complicated process that should only be performed by licensed, qualified professionals. Now that you know why foundation underpinning is necessary and what it does for a structure, we’ll talk about the various types of underpinning that professionals commonly employ. Each method is different from one another, but offers specific benefits depending on the circumstances and needs of the structure.
In especially more moist areas, water can seep down into the soil beneath your foundation and cause it to shift, which in turn damages your foundational integrity. In this method, concrete “piles” are driven into the ground with a flat pile cap on top, keeping the soil in place. These structures are secured to your home’s existing foundational walls.
Similar to the pile-underpinning method, this method usually is employed under the same circumstances, but for less severe cases.
Cantilever Needle Beam Underpinning
This method is helpful when the structure’s foundation is being lengthened. Similar to mass concrete underpinning, professionals dig a “pit” below the foundation that is meant to provide additional support to existing walls. This is usually only performed on one side of the structure’s foundation.
Mass Concrete Underpinning
As the most commonly used type of underpinning, this method has been established for quite some time, giving promising results to homeowners in earthquake country. Best for structures with shallow foundations, this method removes and replaces the old foundation in stages. It is one of the more affordable and efficient methods of underpinning available today.
Troy Builders Can Help You
The foundation experts at Troy Builders have helped home and building owners all over the Southern California areas of Tarzana, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Glendale, Long Beach and Woodland Hills, CA. As experienced, licensed, bonded, and insured California contractors, we are more than familiar with the most common needs of the nearby communities in terms of structural and foundational damage repair and protection. We offer free foundation estimates for prospective clients, making it easy and affordable to start the process of securing and safeguarding your investment. If you’re feeling uneasy about your home or building’s foundation, please call us right away for a free estimate—whenever the next earthquake hits, its best to be prepared.