UNDERPINNING YOUR EXISTING FOUNDATIONS

Underpinning is the process of excavating and reinstating the structural integrity of your existing concrete footings, mostly in brick and/or blockbased homes. This is an effective method to stop dropping foundations which cause house cracking and structural damage.

 

Most owners are very surprised once their home is re-leveled and that their doors and windows now all magically work after decades of being forced shut!!

Repiling is the replacement of rotted and defective piles which cause structural damage to your home. Repiling may entail re-levelling of floor areas and could involve the replacement of subfloor timber and floorboards.

 

What are the tell tale signs that a house needs repiling?

  • Doors and windows are not closing properly or are out of alignment.

  • Floors are un-level. They often slope away from brick fireplaces.

  • Cracks are appearing in the plaster. These may get worse over time.

  • Floors are ‘bouncy’ while walking through the house. Items on shelves may shake or rattle when walking past.

  • The piles are not touching the house in areas.

  • Concrete piles are showing cracks or signs of wear.

  • Piles may move or wobble when shaken without too much effort or strength.

  • The piles are very old untreated timber. They have probably turned to compost under ground level. The condition of the piles can be checked by scratching way 50mm to 100mm of soil from the base of the pile to check its condition below ground.

  • You are planning renovations to your home.

 
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE GETTING MY HOUSE REPILED?

Apart from choosing your contractor, nothing.

  • Don't renovate. 

  • Do NOT build extensions or decks connected to the house.

  • DO NOT put in new gardens or lawn close to the house.

  • Do NOT have major plumbing work done or install air-conditioners.

WHAT IS REPILING AND FOUNDATION REPAIR?

 

Repiling Foundation Repair or sometimes called "underfloor" repair is the process of installing new foundation piles where concrete blocks and wooden piles have failed. This allows us to replace foundations without you having to move out.

 
DO I NEED DRAINAGE?

Field Drain Installation is a method used to rid foundation soil of excess water during times of extreme rain in areas of a property that does not have proper drainage. These areas are usually easy to determine after large volumes of rain where water does not naturally flow away or absorb.

Performing any of the above can be a waste of money as it could all be undone when you have the house releveled. All too often we have been called out to repile a house where a new extension has already been built or a new kitchen installed. Yes, we can repile these houses, but we may not be able to level them and damage may occur.

So remember, if your house needs repiling or underpinning it should be the FIRST step in your renovation. We cannot make this clear enough.

 
ARE YOU PURCHASING AN OLDER HOME?

In older homes, especially those that are ‘original’, it may be easy to see whether they need the foundations replaced. But if the home has already been renovated, our hearts can take over and don’t allow us to see what’s under our feet.

In recent years New Zealand has experienced a property boom. Many people have gone out and purchased run down properties, renovated them and put them straight back on the market. If they had scruples, they would have made sure the foundations were sound before commencing the do-up. But some houses have been renovated for a quick buck, and although it may look lovely, if foundations have not been checked and dealt with appropriately before the renovation you could be up for huge expense in the not too distant future.

If you are looking at purchasing a home, take a look underneath yourself, give us a call. We can provide an on the spot assessment and/or quote.

 
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR.
  • That the contractor has years of genuine experience in the trade and all work should be carried out by a licenced building Pactioner (LBP) as structural under the building act. This is important for resale and house insurance 

  • That the contractor can provide references – both recent, and if possible from a few years back – this way you will know they have been in the trade for a while.

  • That on completion the floors will be brought reasonably back into level, say within 10mm.

  • That a building permit will be obtained, where necessary, and that work will be in accordance with the relevant building regulations.

  • That if floorboards must be removed, to what condition the floor will be reinstated and whose responsibility it is to remove and replace floor coverings.

  • That the contractor has public liability insurance and the level of cover.

When comparing quotations from several contractors, ensure they all include the same items. The lowest price may be indicative of a lesser number of piles, substandard fittings or other shortcuts that may spell disaster in the long term.

      DO IT FIRST

 

If you're about to renovate your home, be sure to check the foundations first, many older bungalows and villas have some sort of settlement or drop in their floor and foundations, and there are many reasons this can happen. Including heavy rainfall ( which is becoming very common ) drier summers, which create movement within the subfloor soil layer over time. 

Even if your home is around 15mm out of alignment you will have problems installing your kitchen, bathroom or extension, so be sure to get your foundations completed first!!

      THE SIGNS YOU                NEED FOUNDATION        WORK
  • Doors and windows are not closing properly or are out of alignment.

  • Floors are un-level. They often slope away from fireplaces.

  • Concrete piles are showing cracks and/or signs of wear.

  • Floors are ‘bouncy’ while walking through the house. and things will shake as you walk by.

  • The piles are not touching the house in areas.

  • Cracks are appearing in plaster. These may get worse over time.

  • Piles may move or wobble when shaken without too much effort or strength.

  • If the piles are very old and untreated timber they have probably begun to decay in the subsoil. The condition of the piles can be checked by scratching way 50mm to 100mm of soil from the base of the pile to check its condition below the ground.

  • If you are planning renovations to your home, get one of the team to check your foundations prior to works starting.

       WHAT IS REPILING           FOUNDATION                     REPAIR?

Repiling and Foundation Repair is sometimes called “crawl space” repair. This is the process of installing new foundation piles and footings where the existing concrete blocks and wooden piles have failed over time ( this is common in older homes ).

 

This allows us to replace the foundations with you still living happily inside.

© 2019 Access Foundations Limited.​