Understanding Underpinning and the Benefits for Your Alabama Foundation
Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of an existing building. It is necessary when any of these issues are present:
- The original foundation is not strong or stable enough anymore
- The soil supporting the foundation has changed
- The construction of nearby structures makes it necessary to excavation the soil supporting the existing foundation
- To increase the load capacity of existing foundation to support the addition of another level to existing buildings
- Natural causes such as an earthquake, flood, or drought have caused the structure to move
Underpinning extends the foundation in depth so it rests on more supportive soil stratum and distributes the load across a greater area.
Some signs to look for that may indicate foundation failure are:
- Sinking foundation
- Garage column cracks
- Floor cracks
- Leaning chimney
- Wall cracks
- Bowing and leaning walls
- Sinking garage
- Sticking doors and windows
- Slab cracks
If you see any of these signs of foundation failure, the professionals at Grout Tech can inspect your home and offer you the solutions for getting your foundation back to its original level.
Underpinning Products Available in Alabama for Residential, Commercial Foundations
Grout Tech offers many underpinning solutions for your foundation repair needs.
Helical Piers – these are used for applications where these is a need to resists a tension or compressing force. Some of the advantages of using helical piers for foundation repair are:
- Ease of installation
- Little to no vibration
- Immediate load transfer upon installation
- Easily load tested to verify capacity
- Installs below active soils
- Can be installed in all weather conditions
- Little disturbance to jobsite
Steel piers are the most common repair products used for foundation repair today. They are used to support and stabilize the structure’s load bearing walls by transferring the weight of the structure from weaker soils onto the steel piers that are driven deep to load bearing soils. These steel piers are an end-bearing pier that does not rely upon nor requires skin friction to product support. Each of the steel piers are field load tested after installed. They are load tested individually using the maximum weight of the structure as the reaction force. A friction reduction collar is attached to the lead section of the pier pipe. The purpose of the collar is to create an opening in the soil that has a larger diameter than the pier pipe. This reduces the skin friction on the pier pipe at it is driven into the soil. The installed can then load test and verify that the pier encountered firm bearing stratum that is suitable to support the design load. During the load transfer, high pressure hydraulic jacks are place at multiple locations, reducing the load on each pier to only the design working load.
Helical tiebacks – These are designed to stabilize and strengthen bowing basement walls. The helical tiebacks are installed from inside the basement wall through a small hole. Along with exterior excavation, the wall can be immediately pulled back to its original design. Other uses for helical tiebacks are:
- Sea walls
- Retaining walls
- Temporary wall support
Slab jacking – Concrete slabs can be susceptible to settlement. Slab jacking can be done in any weather and there is little disruption to landscaping. Holes are strategically placed into the slab and a portable pump fills these holes with a special mixture of sand, cement, and other additives, this lifts the slab back to its original position. Slab jacking will save your money by not having to replace the entire slab.
Grout Tech uses only the best products made for foundation repair. Earth Contact Products (ECP), is the leading manufacturer of foundation repair products made in the industry. Nichols/Grout Tech was founded in 1981 and has earned the reputation of a premier contractor for foundation repair in the Southeast. Because of our experience and use of the best products made for foundation repair, you can be assured that the job will be done right and there won’t be a need for future foundation repair needs. Contact the professionals at Nichols/Grout Tech today and let us answer any questions you have regarding your foundation. We will come out and inspect it and find the best solution to your foundation repair needs.