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. The different kinds of piers we offer and their unique advantages include:


  • Resistance/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.