What Are the Different Types of Underpinning Available?

A structure can be stabilised using a variety of different methods today. Its foundation can be underpinned by working with professional engineers and experienced contractors in order to prolong the life of the building. What options are available in different situations?


In this type of underpinning, you can choose between round or square shaft piers depending on the type of underpinning situation. The engineers will need to ascertain whether the materials used will be under compression or under tension. Typically, galvanised steel piers are used.

Round shaft piers are used when the situation calls for resistance to compression. This type of pier is known to be very resistant as it has a high amount of inertia. They are so resistant to movement because, in this case, a larger amount of surface area is exposed to the soil around.

Conversely, you may consider square shaft piers which are ideal in situations where they under tension, as opposed to compression. For example, these piers could be used as wall anchors and are less suitable to be used beneath a building as opposed to their round shaft counterpart.


When concrete piles are used, they can either be brought into the job site in precast form or they can be cast in place by pouring concrete into an excavation "in situ." In this case, a specially designed shell is inserted into the ground first before the concrete is added. Care is to be taken when working with concrete piles to ensure that cracks and other issues are not caused to structures and the surrounding area due to the driving force required.

While concrete is still used in a majority of applications, shaft piers are often used where there is any risk of damage to surrounding structures.

Mud Jacking

Engineers may stipulate a different approach in your particular situation. Mud jacking or slabjacking is a solution where holes are inserted into the concrete slab of the building or underneath the foundation, before concrete is pumped in, in large quantities. This effectively replaces the soil and thereby eliminates some problems associated with settlement.

This is only truly effective when the solution is pumped all the way down to the bedrock, thereby eliminating all the soil. Otherwise, there may be a risk that the building could begin to shift once more. It is, however, used often in conjunction with shaft piers. This combination can be a "best of both worlds" solution.

For more information about your options, contact a company that offers underpinning services.