When Is Underpinning Necessary for Adelaide Properties?

What Is Underpinning

Underpinning Adelaide involves installing new, stronger foundation materials underneath an existing building’s foundations to stabilise, strengthen, or lift it. A sinking foundation is often the first obvious indication that a building in Adelaide is suffering from subsidence issues.

Underpinning Adelaide

With extensive reactive clay soils that swell and shrink beneath the city, many older structures are undermined by shifting earth, causing cracks and downward movement. As the cyclic expansion and contraction slowly distort foundations over time, underpinning existing footings has proven to be an effective solution.

Various underpinning techniques can be tailored to withstand Adelaide’s unstable soils. Factors like erosion, poor construction methods used decades ago, upward thrusts from swelling clays, and neighbouring excavations can all contribute to subsidence.

When Is Underpinning Adelaide Necessary for Properties?

After Water Damage

Issues often arise when water leaks underneath buildings from broken pipes or lousy drainage. The water washes away crucial soils supporting heavy structures. It leaves behind empty spaces that make sinking and cracks more likely. Even moist soils can swell up and shrink again when they dry out. This uneven shifting tilts walls and floors if severe enough.

Poor Construction

Sometimes, builders attach additions or connect buildings by taking shortcuts. They fail to tightly pack soils around the base or use weak links between old and new structures. Since loads are shared poorly, one section takes too much weight. The extra burden causes that portion to sink and pull apart from better-supported areas.

Overloaded Foundations

Many older foundations in Adelaide were designed to hold less weight. When extra floors or heavy equipment are added later, it becomes too much weight for the original footings underneath. The constant heavy pressure slowly bends old foundations that were not meant to handle the added weight.

Having New Constructions Near Older Buildings

Carrying out major projects like a pool or rebuilding near older buildings can also undermine their structural integrity. Digging around and below other structures scrambles up the dirt, keeping everything balanced. With ground disturbed, untouched buildings can tilt or crack as their support system shifts.

Loosely Compacted Fill

Builders sometimes fail to pack the soil and gravel around your new foundation tightly. Over the years, this loosely dumped fill sinks unevenly. Heavy structures tilt into random dips, opening up beneath. Widening cracks appear as buildings bend, stressing the foundation. Underpinning Adelaide can lift and support sinking sections before conditions become severe.

Have Your Adelaide Property Expertly Underpinned

Plumbing Leaks

Leaks from broken pipes or drains allow tons of water to flood soils around foundations constantly. Different zones end up more saturated than others beneath buildings. Wet clay and sand layers swell up at different rates, distorting the ground. Heavy structures tilt on uneven surfaces as some areas expand while others stay put.

Signs to Look Out For

Below are some signs that will prompt you to consider underpinning your Adelaide construction.

  • Cracked walls
  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Tilting floors and sagging ceilings
  • Arid and cracked soil

Common Underpinning Methods in Adelaide

Resin Injections

Resin injection entails injecting special liquids underneath buildings. The resin only flows 1-2 meters down at most. It temporarily packs soil gaps near the surface, thus straightening wobbly foundations. However, the method doesn’t work, for deeper issues remain untouched.

Concrete Piers

This traditional underpinning approach uses solid concrete pillars dug much deeper, penetrating through softer soils. Steel bars inside connect to solid bedrock, anchoring things solidly. Though more equipment is needed, concrete piers permanently brace foundations by transferring weight to competent layers well underneath problem soils prone to shifting.

Screw Pile Method

Sometimes, waterlogged clay soil keeps caving around traditional concrete piers before they harden correctly. Screw piles overcome this by first boring deep holes and then hammering in twisted metal shafts. The coils grab hold even in muddy conditions to anchor down securely into harder earth.

Once deeply embedded, the exposed steel rods allow concrete to be poured at the surface to lock everything into one reinforced foundation cluster. Though technical, this reliable screw pile process works where simple piers fail in tricky soils, often complicating underpinning jobs.


Adelaide’s extensive reactive clay soils make buildings with aging foundations increasingly vulnerable to subsidence. Factors like erosion, construction issues, overloading, and excavations nearby compromise the structural integrity enough to require stabilisation.

Underpinning techniques provide an effective remedy by installing reinforced supports underneath distressed foundations. As Adelaide’s leading underpinning specialist, our business helps property owners detect worsening foundation deficiencies early.

Learn when underpinning Adelaide properties is necessary

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