One of the methods of mitigating subsidence and movement is underpinning, but does your house need it?  

Underpinning is a rectification method for properties experiencing or having experienced subsidence in the past. 

Underpinning is usually required when a property experiences foundation movement and the foundations need to be restored. The old foundations are supported with the design and installation of new foundations to ensure the appropriate support to the property’s structure.

Does your property need underpinning?

To assess whether your property requires underpinning, a visual assessment and a movement/subsidence inspection should be undertaken. For more information on this please refer to the cracking and movement insight

There are several possible reasons that underpinning may be required. A common cause for underpinning is uneven soil moisture conditions that cause reactive clay floors to swell and shrink unevenly. This then creates uneven movement within the dwelling that can lead to underpinning.  

You won’t always notice that a large hole appears in the ground before realising that your home needs underpinning. However, you can see minor signs such as cracks in the walls and stronger cracks around windows and door frames. In the extreme, when walking in the property you may feel a significant change in floor level. Identifying cracks and unlevel floors inspected by a trusted engineering company like JHA Australia if underpinning is required. 

What Causes Subsidence?

Certain elements make your house more vulnerable to subsidence than others. 

One element that can cause subsidence is moisture in the property’s soil. During the summer heat, clay soil, in particular, can shrink, crack, and shift, causing havoc on your foundations. 

Drought-prone locations are more vulnerable since the ground is drier and thus more likely to fracture. Additionally, having a lot of trees or shrubs near your house can further dry out the ground due to the roots taking a lot of water. 

However, too much moisture in the earth can be a problem. The soil can be washed away or softened by leaking drains, causing it to compress and sink beneath the weight of your home.

How Do You Know If Your House Needs Underpinning?

Cracking in the Walls 

Most homes have a few minor cracks in the walls, which may or may not be cause for concern. Newly constructed houses can develop cracks as they settle, and new plastering can also cause cracks. 

However, if these fissures are visible and significant, they may be the first sign that your property requires underpinning. Cracks around door and window frames are especially concerning because they indicate that the frames have moved away from the walls. 

If you’re unsure whether a crack is a sign of something more serious, contact JHA for assistance. We will be able to assess the crack and determine whether it’s a structural concern that requires underpinning or if the cracks are merely aesthetic. 

Doors and Windows Not Closing Correctly 

Expertly installed doors and windows have very little failure margins. Any modification in the frame alignment can cause doors and windows to stick or not fully open or close. If you’ve never had a problem before but are now having trouble opening or closing your windows, you may have subsidence that necessitates underpinning. 

If only one door or window gets stuck, you might think it’s not a significant enough problem to deal with. However, the sooner you detect and correct subsidence, the better. Subsidence may wreak havoc on your home’s structure, from the foundation to the ceiling. Addressing the issue sooner rather than later can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. 

Preventing Subsidence

Prevention has always been better than a cure, and there are many things you can take to reduce the chance of sagging. One of which is inspecting your building if it needs underpinning 

Whilst everyone wants a beautiful, lush garden, it is best to limit the growth of large trees and shrubs to prevent them from drying out the soil. 

Make sure new trees have been planted some distance from your home; Also, be aware of the variety you choose, as some absorb more water than others.  

It is important to note the maintenance of your home to prevent drains from becoming blocked and the soil from becoming too saturated. Check for clogged or leaking drains and keep the gutters clear. Check the lines for cracks and leaks. 

Building security and integrity are some of our most significant concerns. Whether in a residential, commercial, or industrial area, JHA’s engineers offer expert services and give you specialised comprehensive advice and investigation reports to inspect residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for underpinning. 

Reasons To Get A Home Foundation Inspection From JHA

To Discover That You May Not Need Underpinning 

We are devoted to leading the industry with our corporate principles of honest guidance, education, and verifiable solutions.  

To get an Expert to Answer All Your Questions. 

A preliminary home foundation inspection allows you to express your concerns and ask all of your questions. With years of industry expertise, industry-leading guarantees, and fantastic certified expert staff, you can rely on us to assist you in managing any doubt you may be experiencing and feel confident in your options and choices. Our answers to your queries will shed light on your exact situation and if your house needs underpinning. 

We are convinced that we provide the best home foundation inspection service and want you to experience it firsthand. 

We are experienced and trusted structural engineers who like demonstrating to others that foundation issues do not have to be frightening or necessitate underpinning.  

For more information about Building Subsidence, or to arrange an inspection today, call our friendly team on 1800 721 721.