How Can I Prevent Foundation Problems In My Home?

To prevent foundation issues, you must ensure that your building’s foundation is free from excess moisture. Stormwater, tree roots, and soil conditions are other variables that must be managed with care.

To protect your home, it is important to prevent foundation problems before they start. We will explore the causes of these issues and some preventative measures you can take in this article.

What Destroys A Foundation?

There are three main reasons a foundation can become damaged or unstable: moisture, tree roots, and soil conditions. Ensure you have a good water management system to keep moisture away from your foundation. Plant trees at a safe distance from your home, and check on the ones that are already there. Be aware of the type of soil around your home. Underpinning Melbourne is one of the leading foundation repair companies in case you need further help.

6 Tips To Avoid Foundation Problems

These are the six things you should avoid to keep your foundations intact. These are:

If you want to avoid foundation problems you should consider::

1. Check Storm Water System

If your stormwater system leaks water around the foundation or is broken, water may pool around your foundation and seep in swelling and heaving. Ensure your storm water drains properly by carrying water away from your foundation, which can avoid any costly repairs down the road.

2. Replace Damaged Gutters And Downpipes

Remember to check your gutters and downpipes very often, as they affect the amount of water pressure around your foundation. If they are in poor condition, it can lead to the foundation collapsing or shifting. In case they are not working properly, repair or replace them immediately.

3. Beware Of Tree Roots

Tree roots might go quite deep into the ground while unseen. For this reason, it might suck away the moisture without you even noticing. We recommend checking the problem and taking necessary action.

4. Don’t Plant Trees Near Building

It’s a good idea to keep your larger plants, like bushes or shrubs, in your flower beds. The gap between the foundation and the plants should be at least two feet. So, they will be where they belong- away from the foundation.

5. Monitor Cracks In Home

Always check your foundation and keep an eye on your walls and flooring. If you notice any cracks, get expert help as soon as possible. This is the best opportunity to correct the damage and prevent further foundation movement. The earlier you detect foundation problems, the easier they are to fix. You already have a significant issue if you see large fractures or wall bowing in your home.

Keep an eye on your property to see whether there are cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. If you find any, it’s time for an expert’s help. It will save you time and money when cracks are found at an earlier stage. When you see large fractures and wall bowing in your home, it’s a serious issue and needs immediate work.

6. Consult A Professional

It is recommended to inspect your foundation with an expert who can assess the condition of your problem. They can tell you if your foundation is unharmed and provide a few clues for the best preventive measures specific to your area.

Underpinning can be dangerous if not done by professionals. It’s not a project that you can DIY. Check out the possible damage by visiting our blog can you DIY underpinning.

You may prevent the hassle of a damaged foundation by regularly monitoring your home, yard, and basement.

Is It Possible To  Underpin A House Yourself?

Unless you’re a trained foundation repair professional having the right tools and experience, you shouldn’t try to underpin your house yourself.

In this article, we will discuss the possible risks of DIY underpinning and how to avoid them.

Is DIY Underpinning A House Possible?

DIY Underpinning is only possible if you’re experienced, have proper skills, and have industry knowledge. If you’re lacking any of the mentioned, we highly recommend not underpinning your house yourself.

Only an expert with the right abilities and industry knowledge can underpin a house. Not having the required tools, skills, and experience is too risky for you and your property. We strongly advise you not to underpin a house yourself without lacking the aforementioned.

With the right skills and know-how, you can try DIY underpinning. But even then, it’s best to consult an engineer and follow their installation requirements and processes. 

What Are The Risks Of Underpinning A House Yourself?

The risks of DIY underpinning are –

– You could damage your property beyond repair if you don’t know what you’re doing.

– You could injure or even kill yourself in the process.

– It will void your insurance coverage if you do it yourself.

– You may not comply with the building code, which could lead to legal problems.

Knowing how to prevent foundation issues is just as important as knowing how to repair them. You’re better off spending time rectifying other issues causing the need for underpinning and leaving the repairs to professionals.

Should I Choose A Professional Underpinning Contractor?

Underpinning projects are complex and dangerous, so it’s wise to choose a professional underpinning contractor with relevant experience.

These are the top reasons to choose a professional underpinning contractor:

– They have the technical knowledge and experience to handle any complex job.

– They use the right tools and equipment.

– They follow industry best practices.

– They provide a guarantee of their work.

– They are insured and licensed.

Before you decide to underpin, you should be sure whether it’s time for an underpinning service. Check out our blog does my house need underpinning to know the details.

Underpinning is Complex

Underpinning is a complex process that includes digging several feet deep below the home’s footing. In some cases concrete piers or screwpiles are installed to bear the load of the structure. This procedure must be done under expert supervision to minimise damage to the house’s construction.

Underpinning Is Dangerous

If not done properly following the industry standards, it can be dangerous. That includes:

– Collapse of the house

– Soil erosion

– Damage to the surrounding property

– Injury or death of people

– Overcorrecting relevel can lead to further cracks in the walls, doors, and windows.

Experience is Required

An underpinning project must be completed by a professional underpinning contractor with extensive expertise. Every job is unique, and without relevant expertise, you will end up costing more than planned.

Warranty On Underpinning

Most of the underpinning contractors of Melbourne offer at least 10 years of warranty for their workmanship. So, you are pretty much covered by the warranty if any issues arise.

Underpinning a house is a complex and dangerous process that a professional contractor should only do. Choosing the right contractor can avoid many of the risks associated with DIY underpinning.

How Can I Tell If My Home Needs Underpinning?

A common way to tell if your house needs underpinning is if you find cracks in the walls and cornices, Step cracks in external and internal walls, the floors are not level and you have experienced problems closing and opening windows and doors. There are other reasons that should be discussed with a professional.

In this article, we will discuss the signs to check whether your property may need underpinning and what to look for. Always consult a professional like our team at Melbourne Underpinning Group

What Is Subsidence?

Subsidence refers to the downward shifting of the ground that weakens the foundation. Different areas have different soil characteristics. Areas that have clay-limestone soils are usually unstable for foundations.

What Are The Signs A House needs Underpinning?

Cracking on internal and external walls is the most significant sign of subsidence. You also have an eye on the following types of cracking:

  • Cracks that are spread across the wall like steps
  • Cracks are showing on both the inside and outside of the brick walls.
  • You found cracks at the corner of the doors and windows
  • The diameter of the crack is above 3mm
  • Cracks are in the joints and extension

One or two random cracks in the wall don’t always indicate a subsidence issue. Temperature fluctuations for a long time can also cause cracks that have no relation with subsidence.

Check whether you notice most of the signs in Melbourne. If yes, then you should contact a team like Melbourne Underpinning Group. If you don’t fix the problem at the earlier stage, it can lead to a bigger and more complex problem.

Is It Ok To Buy A House That Has Been Underpinned?

It’s completely ok to buy a previously underpinned house completed by a certified, licensed contractor in your area. Otherwise, it’s not recommended because of causing further damage and risk to your house and family. You should remember it’s not a project that you can DIY. There are potential risks if you do it yourself. Check our blog can you DIY underpinning for more details.

Do I Need A Permit For Underpinning In Melbourne?

Yes, every state requires a permit to underpin, including Melbourne. However, a permit is not required in a few cases, for example, underpinning an internal wall. But, you should better discuss it with your contractor. Your contractor will organise a soil test and engineering to apply for the permit.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Underpinning?

The disadvantages of Underpinning are –

  • It is an expensive process.
  • The process is quite disruptive and can cause a lot of noise and mess
  • There is a risk of damaging surrounding properties
  • The process can take a long time to complete

What Are The Advantages Of Underpinning?

The advantages of underpinning are –

  • It can stabilise a house that is starting to sink or has subsidence.
  • It can stop a house from sinking any further.
  • It can raise a sunken floor back to level.
  • It can be used to reinforce a foundation that is weak or has cracks.

Is Resin Injection As Good As Underpinning?

No, resin injection is not as good as traditional concrete underpinning. It’s more expensive, takes longer to complete, inaccurate, and can fail at any time.

Can Underpinning fail?

Yes, underpinning can fail only when it’s not done properly. How long an underpinning last depends on the expertise of the contractor. So, choose your contractor properly.

Also, if the soil condition and other factors change, underpinning can fail too. For example, if you did underpinning because of a licking pipe that causes subsidence, you still can have problems from tree roots growing under the foundation and causing further damage.

To know more detail about when do you need to underpin, check out our blog here.

Underpinning is a complex process but can effectively stabilise a sinking or subsiding house. There are several signs that can indicate whether or not your house needs underpinning. If you notice any of the signs, it is best to contact an authorized foundation repair contractor for further evaluation. So, choosing a qualified and experienced contractor is important to ensure the job is done correctly.

What Is Underpinning And When Is It Needed?

Underpinning is a foundation repairs method for an existing building’s foundation. Slab or strip footings are extended to reach a deeper, more stable ground to stop and stabilise any foundation movement.

If you’re unsure about what underpinning is, how it’s used, or the types of foundation and footing available to support your building project, then this article is for you.

When is underpinning needed?

Underpinning is required when a structure’s foundation is damaged or additional structural support is required. If you need to add a new story and the footing can’t take that load, then underpinning can reinforce the building’s foundation.

You need to underpin your home if:

  • The soil underneath the foundation is reactive, and you feel movement
  • The backfill of the foundation is not as compacted as required
  • Poor drainage system around your home
  • Cracks on the wall and floors
  • Doors and windows are not closing anymore
  • If you need to extend your foundation to add an extra floor

Make sure whether or not all or most of these are happening in your house. Then you need any local contractors who work on foundation repairs.

Types of building foundations and footings

The different types of building foundations and footings are –

Slab on Ground

This is the most commonly used foundation method. In this process, concrete slabs are placed directly on the ground to make a solid foundation. The soil beneath the slab must be compacted properly. Otherwise, the soil may settle with time and cause the foundation to fracture or collapse.

Suspended Floors

Unlike a ground-based one, a suspended floor is not laid on the ground. Stumps or piers are attached with it to the ground.

Continuous footings

Continuous footings are support structures that distribute the building’s load evenly. They are either strips or slabs. This method is used for the walls to support that is built on sloppy ground.

Pad footings

Pad footings system is used to distribute the extra load of the foundation evenly. They function by spreading the weight over a larger area, which prevents settling and helps to keep the structure stable.


Stumps are concrete pools used to support a home’s subfloor connected to the ground. They can be made of timber, steel and concrete.


Piles are made from reinforced steel or concrete driven into the ground to strengthen the foundation to bear the building’s weight. It helps to build structures on muddy soils that are usually not suitable for building any structure. Piles are used with either a pad footing or a strip footing.


Piers are tall, thick posts that hold up a building’s beams. They can be made from either steel or concrete. After the piers are set on the excavated holes, concrete is poured, so they can’t move.

If you want to learn more about underpinning, we have a detailed blog discussing, “does my home require underpinning?

So, if you are experiencing settlement issues with your home, it is important to get it assessed and determine the underlying cause. If underpinning is required, contact a local contractor specialising in this repair.

Not sure which unpinning method is right for your home? The best thing to do is contact a foundation repair contractor. They will inspect your house’s surroundings, foundation, and footing to determine the problem. After that, they’ll tell you what needs to be done and estimate the cost and time. We’ve written a blog about the cost of underpinning so you can get an idea of what they are.

How Much Does It Cost To Underpin A House In Melbourne?

The cost to underpin a house in Melbourne is between $5,000 to $40,000. The total cost is affected by the severity of the damage and how much work needs to be completed. Larger projects which involve a significant amount of underpinning can cost up to $80,000.

In this post, we’ll look at the cost of underpinning a home in Melbourne. We’ll discuss the various underpinning techniques and how they may influence pricing.

What is Underpinning?

Underpinning is a repair process that aims to repair or strengthen the load-bearing capacity of a house’s foundation. 

This is usually done when the original foundation is no longer stable or strong enough to support the weight of the house or structure. Underpinning is also used when additional height is added to a building.

The underpinning process strengthens the foundation of a building by increasing its load-bearing capacity. Usually, piers or pins and other means are used to add extra support to the damaged foundation. Underpinning is essential when the existing foundation loses its strength to bear the load of the house or structure.

What are the different underpinning methods?

The two most traditional and commonly used methods for underpinning a house are Concrete Slab Underpinning and Screwpile Underpinning. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages and are used in different cases.

Concrete Slab Underpinning

Concrete slab underpinning is the most commonly used foundation underpinning in Melbourne. It involves digging deep into the ground and pouring concrete footing to support the foundation. The technique is quick and safe for your home. However, it isn’t suitable for all types of foundations.

Screwpile underpinning

Screwpile underpinning is the process of repairing a building’s foundation using long steel screws driven deep into the ground to support the building. Screwpiles need to go deep into the soil until it reaches a stronger sub ground. Once it reaches the required depth, concrete is poured to secure the perimeter.

What Should You be Looking for in an Underpinning Quote?

Check your underpinning quote that matches any of these methods: 

Fixed Price Quote

Always request a fixed-price quote when inquiring about an underpinning job. This means that the company cannot change the quoted price later on. Make sure that all the required tasks are included in the quote.

Transparent quote

Underpinning quotes should be straightforward. The price should be all-inclusive, with no hidden costs or extras. The company should also be able to provide a detailed explanation of the underpinning process and what is included in the quote.

Fixed time / fixed schedule:

Ensure the contractor you hire provides you with a fixed time or work schedule that includes all the required tasks and a detailed outline of each stage with the total amount and time.

So, there you have it. The cost of underpinning your home can vary greatly depending on the method used and the extent of the damage. In it, we break down each underpinning method so you can make an informed decision based on your budget. We also provide tips on how to prepare for this major renovation project. Always use a licensed contractor to be safe and sound.

If you still have questions about what is underpinning, check out our other blog here.