If you need to expand your home but do not have any available space at the sides or even in the loft, you may think that you're running out of options. Yet it may be possible to look downward and create a basement space from scratch in many cases. Certainly, this may sound like a huge job and seem very ambitious, but it is often possible, so long as you pay particular attention to the house's structure in the first place. What do you need to know about underpinning in this situation, and how can it be performed?
If you've never heard of the process of underpinning, it is essentially a method of strengthening the building foundation using special piles and concrete intrusion. It is often used to repair a structure that may have developed problems due to shifting soil, a moving water table or seismic activity. In these cases, underpinning would be used to return the building to its original state and make sure it is safe for occupation.
Creating a Brand-New Basement
In this case, however, you may be able to use underpinning to spread the load created by the existing home, alter its centre of gravity and make it possible to create a basement space from scratch. You have to lower the slab in order to get adequate headroom for your plans, and contractors can certainly take a look at this for you to see if your property is suitable.
One of the most popular approaches here is to remove large quantities of soil from underneath the existing foundation, stabilising the home above while work continues. The contractor will then pour concrete at a depth below the existing foundation, creating a new one. They may also need to install concrete piles that are often driven into the side of supporting walls to give a great deal more stability. Alternatively, a special resin may be injected into the ground, which will expand and cover any existing voids. This is often a less disruptive approach, but everything will depend on your particular circumstances.
Extending Your Current Basement
If you already have a basement in place, but it is not practically habitable, you can also use underpinning to redefine the foundation. In this situation, the contractor may have a number of options depending on what you would like to achieve, the current design and your budget.
Finding out More
So, if you are looking for that valuable living space, don't despair. Instead, talk with a home underpinning professional to see what options they can suggest.