How Long Does Underpinning Take?

How Long Does Underpinning Take?

 

The timeframe for underpinning, or basement lowering, typically ranges from about 4 to 12 weeks, though larger or more complex projects may take longer, possibly extending to several months. The duration of underpinning, or basement lowering, can vary based on factors like the size of the project, the condition of the existing foundation, and the complexity of the work involved.

 

Underpinning, or basement lowering, is a complex process that strengthens your home’s foundation and can significantly increase living space. Given its complexity, many homeowners wonder about the time it takes to complete such a project.

The table below offers a rough time frame for these phases, providing a general overview for planning purposes. However, specific project details can alter these timelines.

Project Phase Duration Estimate
Preparation Phase 2-4 weeks
Underpinning Work 4-8 weeks
Additional Features & Finishing 2-4 weeks
Overall Project Duration 8-16 weeks
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Basement Lowering Project Duration

 

The duration of underpinning projects varies significantly based on several factors, including the depth of excavation, the home’s size, and any unforeseen challenges that may arise during the process. Typically, the physical work of underpinning itself falls within a range of two to four weeks for most standard homes. This timeframe encompasses the essential steps of digging, reinforcing the foundation, and concreting.

Preparation Time

 

Before any work begins, there’s a preparatory phase that involves obtaining the necessary drawings and permits. Handled by a structural engineer, this preparation can extend the project timeline by at least two weeks, sometimes more, depending on your local regulations.

Additional Considerations

 

It’s important to note that the two to four-week estimate does not include the finishing work required after the structural underpinning is complete. Finishing tasks, such as waterproofing, flooring, and insulation, will extend the project timeline. Additionally, opting for enhancements like a basement walk-out will further increase the duration.

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Factors That May Extend the Timeline

 

  • Older Homes: Older structures often present unforeseen challenges once work begins, such as outdated materials or undocumented previous repairs. These issues can introduce complications requiring additional time to address properly.
  • Permitting Process: Securing the necessary permits is a vital step in the underpinning process, but it can be time-consuming. Bureaucratic delays or additional requirements not initially accounted for can push back the start date or pause ongoing work.
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  • Weather Conditions: The weather plays a significant role, particularly during the excavation phase. Heavy rain, snow, or extreme temperatures can halt work, either for safety reasons or because certain tasks cannot be effectively carried out in adverse conditions.
  • Soil Conditions: The type and condition of the soil under your home can also affect the timeline. Unstable or highly reactive soils may require more complex underpinning solutions, adding to the project duration.
  • Structural Changes and Additions: Planning to make significant structural changes or add features such as a walkout can also extend the timeline. These additions usually necessitate extra planning, excavation, and construction work.
  • Access Issues: Limited access to the work site, whether due to the property’s location or restrictions within the building itself, can slow down the movement of materials and machinery, impacting the overall project timeframe.

Though it’s challenging to provide a one-size-fits-all timeline for underpinning projects due to these variables, a ballpark range of two to four weeks for the core work is a reasonable starting point for planning purposes.

Choose VMB Group For All Your Needs!


Choosing an experienced and reliable contractor like VMB Group is crucial for a smooth underpinning process. We handle all aspects, from planning and permits to the structural work and finishing touches, ensuring transparency, fair rates and efficiency every step of the way. Reach out to us for a detailed estimate tailored to your specific underpinning needs.

FAQs About Basement Underpinning

There are several underpinning methods, including mass concrete (traditional) underpinning, beam and base underpinning, mini-piled underpinning, and underpinning using grout or resin injection. The choice of method depends on factors such as the extent of foundation damage, soil conditions, and the specific requirements of the building.

Yes, when correctly implemented by experienced professionals, underpinning is a long-term solution that addresses and resolves foundational issues, securing the structural integrity of a building for the future. However, it's crucial to select the appropriate underpinning method and ensure quality execution for lasting results.

Underpinning, when executed by skilled professionals, is designed to strengthen your property's foundation with minimal risk. However, due to the nature of the work, which may include excavation and structural reinforcement, minor cosmetic damages such as small cracks in walls might occur. A reputable contractor will mitigate these risks and ensure any post-underpinning effects are addressed.

The duration of underpinning a foundation typically ranges from 2 weeks to several months. This timeline depends on factors like the scope of the project, the size of the building, the underpinning technique used, and site-specific conditions. Accurate project completion times can be provided by a structural engineer after assessing the specific details of your foundation and site.

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