How Is Underpinning Used to Create Bigger, Better Basements?

Everybody dreams of owning a house that is perfect in every way. Whether that means minimalistic designs and plenty of space for nature or a rustic country retreat, it is important to have a home which feels like it was built just for you. However, the only way to achieve property perfection is to put your own unique stamp on things.

It is one of the reasons why basement underpinning in Essex is in such high demand. Older homes typically have no basement at all or only a limited amount of subterranean space. Yet, often, it is more affordable to build downwards than it is outwards (with an expansion). Underpinning increases the depth of foundations and adds functional height to the space.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of underpinning in Essex and how it can help you maximise the value of your basement.

The Purpose of Underpinning

Underpinning is a safe and secure way to make changes to an existing foundation. It can be carried out in a number of styles, but the result is the same. While it is primarily designed to fix cracked foundations and add strength to unstable ground, it can also be used to create entirely new subterranean spaces.

Most homes do not require a whole new construction because they already contain some form of a basement. The problem is that it is usually too small to be converted into a functional room. Underpinning pushes the foundations deeper so that the height of the basement increases and it becomes a usable space.

Main Methods of Underpinning

There are three main types of basement underpinning. They are mass pouring, beam and base, and the pile method. The most common type is mass pouring. However, it is best suited to shallow excavations, so it is not the optimum choice for creating a new basement. It works by removing a layer of soil just below the surface of the house. It is replaced with solid concrete.

The beam and base and pile methods are the better options if you want to build a basement rather than widening an existing one. Beam and base installs concrete beams below the house so that the foundations can be reconstructed safely. The pile method connects concrete or steel needles (narrow supports) to load bearing piles which alleviate pressure.

Precautions and Preparation

These days, underpinning in Essex can be carried out surprisingly quickly. However, it still involves making serious changes to the structural framework of the house. It is extremely important that the job is conducted with care and expertise, so it can end up taking a long time. If there are weaknesses within the foundation, they have to be repaired. The exact timeframe will depend on the current condition of the structure.

It is not always necessary for the occupants of a house to move out while underpinning is completed. Nevertheless, you should find out for sure if this is the case before going ahead with any foundation work. Subsidence repairs can take as long as a year (often longer), so try to gather as much information about the work as possible. Also, make sure that you get a quote from your chosen contractor.

To find out more about the benefits of underpinning foundations, visit Dixon Piling today. Or, call 01621 815169 to speak to a representative and arrange a consultation.