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Underpinning Methods


Posted By: bayarea on 18th May 2017 Category: Foundation Repair

What Kind of Underpinning Methods are Available

Underpinning is the method that we use to fix sinking foundations and other foundations issues most commonly here at Bay Area Underpinning. This foundation repair solution involves supporting sinking or settling concrete slabs from underneath in order to lift and stabilize the structure above. Our own team uses a variety of different piers for underpinning various foundations in the Bay Area of California. However, there are also a lot of different ways that underpinning can be done to stabilize your California home.

The expert team at Bay Area Underpinning will work hard to ensure that your home is properly supported with the right underpinning technique.

Common Methods of Underpinning

Listed below are some of the most common different types of underpinning used to raise and repair homes.

  1. Pit Method: In this method, columns used are shorter than in some other methods. First, the foundation is divided into regular sections. Next, holes are made on the foundation wall just above the plinth level, and a supporting needle is attached with a bearing plate to hold up the foundation. Then, the foundation pit is excavated and the new foundation is laid underneath. The work for this kind of underpinning is done in sections.
  2. Mass Pouring Method: This type of underpinning is used in situations that require shallow underpinning but not a lot of digging. In this method, the weak soil under the surface is excavated and concrete is poured in its place to strengthen the base.
  3. Beam and Base Method: This method utilizes a traditional mass concrete base along with supportive beams to ensure the foundation is stable. The weight of the foundation is supported by beams constructed below or above the foundation. These beams distribute the foundation weight and transfer it evenly to a mass concrete base.
  4. Pile Method: This is the method commonly used by the expert team here at Bay Area Underpinning. In the pile method, foundation piles, also known as foundation piers, are installed at equal distances along the foundation to lift it and transfer the weight of the home off of the unsteady concrete. This method is particularly useful in expansive, erosive, or waterlogged soils.

Above is a sampling of some of the most common kinds of foundation underpinning. Though our team uses the pile method for most foundation repair situations, there is a lot of variation between repair jobs based on the type of piers used. We will provide you with a free estimate so that our team can examine the foundation issues in your home and come up with a personalized solution that fixes your problem and fits your budget.

Underpinning Methods Used at Bay Area Underpinning

There are a few different kinds of foundation piers that we use for the pile method of underpinning. All of our foundation piering products come from ECP (Earth Contact Products), the leading supplier of steel foundation piers in the industry. The different kinds of piers we offer and their unique advantages include:

  • underpinning methodsResistance/Push Piers: this type of pier is driven into the ground beneath the sinking foundation until it reaches stable soil layers. Once anchored into the ground, the pier is hydraulically lifted to raise the concrete above back to the appropriate level. This is an end-bearing pier that does not rely on skin friction to lift the foundation and is the leader of steel piering systems, driving deep into the ground for strong support.
  • Helical Piers: This kind of pier works in much the same way as steel piers work. However, what makes helical piers unique is their threaded shafts. The threads on these piers allow them to work like screws as they are twisted into the ground. This gives them some added stability for light structural loads.
  • Drilled Concrete Piers: To install these piers, a hole is drilled for each pier and a set of steel bars are tied into a bundle and placed into the hole. Concrete is then poured into the holes, and hydraulic jacks are placed on the piers and used to lift the foundation. Once the foundation is lifted, spacers are used to stabilize the foundation in place of the jacks.

These piers are a great option for many types of foundation repair because they do not require extensive excavation or the replacement of the entire foundation. If you see any sort of foundation issue in your home – slab cracks, bowing or leaning basement walls, wall or ceiling cracks, sloped floors, or sticking doors or windows – call the team at Bay Area Underpinning today. We are a locally owned company with a team of licensed professionals dedicated to giving you the best possible repairs.  Call our team for a free estimate on foundation underpinning in the Bay Area of California – from San Francisco, to Sacramento, to Richmond.

Choosing Between Bay Area Underpinning Companies


Posted By: bayarea on 10th May 2017 Category: Foundation Repair

What to Look for in Local Underpinning Companies

When you are looking for a foundation contractor to handle foundation repair in your Bay Area home, you will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of underpinning companies. Foundation repair is a big job, and deciding who should handle yours is no small task. While most underpinning companies use similar products, there are some certain characteristics that you should look for when choosing a contractor to handle your foundation problems.

When choosing the right foundation contractor for your home, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Look for Referrals/Reviews: Ask you friends and family or other people who have had recent work done if there is anyone they recommend or anyone they would not advise. Also, be sure to look online. Yelp, the BBB, and HomeAdvisor are great places to find honest reviews of local companies. helical-piersThe more positive feedback you can find about a company, the more likely you will be satisfied with their work.
  • Ensure They are Licensed: It is important that the company you hire is properly fully licensed. Be sure to verify that whatever company you hire is licensed by the state of California, and is willing to obtain any permits required for the work they will be completing.
  • Check the Company History: Customer testimonials can tell you a lot, but the length of time the company has been operating is another way to determine whether or not they are successful and perform quality work. The longer a company has been open, the better chances that they are a legitimate and professional company. It is also important to look at how much experience the company and the team members that will be working on your home have in the foundation repair and underpinning industries.
  • Look at Payment/Financing Options: Be sure that the company fully explains their terms of payment to you. Any company that leaves out details about the payment process may not be honest or reliable.

These are just a few of the things to look for when trying to decide which underpinning company to hire. If you are not certain about the first quote that you receive, do not hesitate to seek out another for comparison. Bay Area Underpinning provides free estimates for foundation repair jobs throughout the bay area – call us now to learn more about our company and the foundation repair options that we offer.

Red Flags to Look for in Foundation Contractors

Just as there are things you want to see in a foundation contractor, there are also things that you definitely do not want to see. If you see any of these red flags, strongly consider choosing another company:

  • Lack of Testimonials – if a company does not have any positive reviews, it is either because it is very new or performs very low-quality work.
  • Failure to Apply for Permits – if the foundation repair being done to your home requires permits and the company fails to apply for them, it is a sign that that company is not reputable.
  • Pressure or Scare Tactics – choosing a foundation contractor is a big decision, and while it is important to get repair underway as soon as possible, no company should use scare tactics to pressure you into choosing them.

If you have a bad feeling about a particular foundation repair company due to any of the above reasons, you should examine your other options. If you end up with shoddy foundation repair work, your foundation and home may develop further issues. This only leads to more bills for you and could result in serious structural damage to your home. Avoid this problem by choosing the right foundation repair contractor to begin with.

Why Choose Bay Area Underpinning for Foundation Repair?

In the bay area of California, Bay Area Underpinning is one of the leading foundation repair companies. Our team specializes in a variety of different underpinning and foundation repair techniques to take care of settlement, cracking, and other issues with your slab foundation. Our family-owned-and-operated business is dedicated to giving you both quality work and quality repairs. See what some of our customers have to say about us below!

Read Lindy S.‘s review of Bay Area Underpinning on Yelp

Read Canna Y.‘s review of Bay Area Underpinning on Yelp

Read GG V.‘s review of Bay Area Underpinning on Yelp

Still wondering why you should choose Bay Area Underpinning? We offer many benefits, including the following:

  • Licensed Professionals in California
  • BBB Accredited with A+ Rating
  • Local, Family-Owned Company
  • Residential & Commercial Solutions
  • High-Quality Products from ECP
  • Multiple ECP Award Winners
  • Professionally Trained Team
  • Financing Options Available

Our crew uses only top-quality products from ECP (Earth Contact Products), the leading supplier of foundation repair and piering products in the country. Visit our Facebook page to find more reviews, or contact us today to get a free quote on foundation repair. Our team will work hard to make sure that all of your foundation problems are repaired properly in a timely manner.