One of the things you have to worry about when living in an old house is the state of its foundation. Since the foundation is the anchor that keeps the house upright and sturdy, it needs to remain in excellent condition at all times. However, this is not always the case. Years of exposure to elements and other factors can slowly degrade the foundation. When this happens, you need to strengthen it in a process known as underpinning. Below are some of the major indicators that you need to underpin an old house's foundation.
Structure Leaning to One Side
One sign that your old house has a faulty foundation is when it appears to be leaning on one side. This is common if the home was built on a shallow foundation. Over time, factors such as soil instability and earth movement can cause the soil below the foundation to settle. When this happens on one side of the building, the structure leans toward that side. If you don't stabilise the foundation, the house can lean farther and eventually collapse.
The underpinning process involves driving steel piers or piles made from concrete, steel or timber into the ground to stabilise the foundation. Steel piers are driven deep into the ground; thus, they are not affected by further changes in the soil structure.
Drainage and Water Damage Issues
Old homes may have issues such as poor drainage systems, broken plumbing pipes and poorly drained basements. A poor outdoor drainage system and poorly drained basement can cause flooding issues during the rainy season. Similarly, damaged or worn plumbing pipes can cause water damage to the structure. Water seeps into the foundation and disrupts the soil structure, causing the foundation to crack or settle.
If your old house has had flooding or water damage issues, it's time to check on the foundation. You need to strengthen it immediately before it causes further problems. Also, as you fix the foundation, address the flooding issues in the property to avoid future disasters.
Large Invasive Tree Roots Growing Towards the Foundation
Old properties tend to have large trees that have been nurtured for years. While these trees add to the curb appeal of the home, they could be causing unseen damage underneath. As the large roots spread out in search of water, they may grow into the house's foundation. These roots break into the soil and disrupt its stability. If you have a slab-on-ground foundation, the roots can also break through the slab and destabilise it. You need to underpin the foundation with steel piers and protect it from settling or cracking due to the pressure caused by the invasive roots.
Underpinning your old home's foundation is one of the ways to protect the structure from collapsing or settling in the future. If you're noticing any of the above issues, contact a foundation expert immediately for underpinning services!
To learn more, contact a resource that offers underpinning services.