Concrete foundations frequently experience problems as the decades go by. Often linked to changes in the subsoil, such problems include tilting, sinking, and cracking. Underpinning refers to the practice of shoring up such vulnerable foundations to prevent structural damage. If you would like to learn more about the different types of underpinning strategies, read on. This article will discuss two of the most commonly implemented underpinning techniques.
Historically this is the oldest and most trusted underpinning technique. It also requires the greatest amount of sheer physical labor. Aside from that fact, though, it still works just as well as it ever has. It is most useful for shoring up older buildings, especially those whose original construction did not include what is known as a footed foundation. Generally speaking, the shallower a particular foundation happens to be, the more viable is box underpinning.
In principle, box underpinning is a simple technique. Basically, it requires that the dirt beneath the foundation be removed and then replaced with a layer of fresh concrete. As you can imagine, that isn't as easily done as said. That's because the process has to proceed one step--or "box"--at a time. Each box consists of a cubical volume of dirt. Once this dirt is removed, the void space is filled in with concrete. Only then can the next box be excavated, until finally the entire foundation has been bolstered by an underlying layer of concrete.
Beam And Base Underpinning
This represents a more modern take on the underpinning process. Rather than add a layer of concrete that is the exact same size as the old foundation, beam and base underpinning only adds concrete to a few key areas. For the most part, these areas correspond to the "feet "of the foundation. The feet are the places where, according to the building's original design, the majority of the foundation's weight supported.
Another key difference from box underpinning is that beam and base underpinning involves more than just concrete. Here the added slabs are also reinforced with special steel beams. These boost the structural stability of the underpinning, making it less prone to shifting or cracking itself. The particular height and width of the concrete and steel underpinning will vary depending on the particulars of the subsoil. It is important that numerous factors be considered here, whether the particular makeup of the soil (especially the percentage of clay), the level of ground moisture, and the overall depth of the water table. Talk to a commercial concrete company about any concerns you have with the concrete foundation.
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