If your home's foundation needs underpinning, it's typically because of shifting and settling, often the fault of compacted soil. The soil around your home may have dried out over the years so that it's no longer strong enough to hold the weight of a house. If your soil is too dry, trees on the property may have robbed the soil of moisture. The property may also be improperly graded so that too much moisture runs off the soil and away from the home.
Underpinning will address the foundation but not the causes of settling, so note a few fixes you might need to make to your property beforehand. This will ensure the repair work will last.
Prune or Remove Trees
Trees, especially larger and mature trees, can sap moisture from the ground because they need that water for themselves. To avoid this, you can remove the tree completely or relocate it to another part of your property. If you prefer to keep the tree, you might perform a major pruning, as cutting branches can mean that the tree needs less water to thrive. Pollarding refers to a severe pruning, removing the majority of the crown of the tree, and this is often done when you want to cut back much of the tree but don't want to remove it completely. This can keep the tree from absorbing all that water in the soil.
Another solution for trees is called a root barrier. This involves digging a trench around the offending tree or between the tree and the home, and then inserting a large plastic or metal sheet. This sheet prevents the tree from sapping up water needed to keep that soil around your home firm and compact. Ask a tree trimming company about pollarding or a root barrier, if needed.
Grade the Soil
If the soil of the property is too dry overall, you may need to create a better grade, as the property may be too steeply sloped toward the street so that not enough moisture stays around the home. An added layer of topsoil or fill dirt can be added to hold moisture in the soil.
Another solution for overly compacted soil is to add clay. Clay is somewhat denser and stronger than standard soil, so it holds the weight of a home better and won't become compacted. Your landscaper can actually add clay to the soil that is under the home so that it doesn't settle any further and cause future damage after the underpinning is completed.