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All About Underpinning: How to Repair a Foundation

What is Underpinning?

Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of a building. It is used when buildings in Arkansas need foundation repair or reinforcement in order to add additional stories to an existing structure. Underpinning is accomplished by increasing the foundation’s depth or width so that it rests on a more supportive soil or is distributed across a greater area.

What Kind of Foundation Damage Requires Underpinning?

The most visible sign that your building needs underpinning is when cracks are visible in the foundation. This is particularly true if the cracks, especially diagonal cracks, are wider than ¼ inch. Other signs of foundation failure include cracked or buckled walls and cracked concrete floors.

foundation sinking Little Rock, AR, foundation repair Arkansas, foundation settlement Little Rock, ARracked foundation, cracked concrete foundationThere are a number of reasons why a foundation in Arkansas may require underpinning:

  • The original foundation is not strong or stable enough
  • The soil supporting the foundation has shifted downward
  • Excavation for construction of adjacent structures has made the soil unstable
  • An earthquake, flood or drought has displaced the structure
  • It is more economical to fix the current foundation than replacing it

How to Repair a Foundation with Underpinning

Steel Piers

steel piersSteel piers are used when the foundation is settling due to soil-related issues. Poor soil includes over-saturated soil that causes too much pressure against the foundation walls or dehydrated and poorly compacted soils that are too weak to support the foundation. Steel piers can be installed either inside or outside of the foundation and are driven deep into the soil until they hit a more solid and stable layer of rock or soil. Then the entire structure is lifted by hydraulic jacks and returned to a level position with the foundation’s weight evenly distributed on the steel pier system.

Steel piers offer many advantages over traditional pilings, including speed of installation, less noise and minimal vibration affecting surrounding areas.

Contact Airlift Concrete Experts for Underpinning in Arkansas

If your foundation is in need of underpinning, call Airlift Concrete Experts today! We serve Alexander, Arkansas and surrounding areas including Little Rock, AR.