Kevin, Author at URETEK

Soil compaction and leveling – an important step to prevent the building from subsiding

The foundation is one of the most important, if not the most, part of a building. The entire building relies on the foundation, and its durability determines the durability of the entire thing. The foundation of the building has to be built so that it withstands the weight and load of other elements. A building’s and its foundation’s construction starts with preliminary work, which can not be ignored.

Preparing the soil by its compaction and leveling, is an important part of the construction process. This gives it the required flat base that offers an important support not only for the building, but for roads and other different building constructions as well. The compression process gives the soil, that is under the foundation, a bigger endurance and stability. It is important to know why this process requires careful attention and what could happen, if this step is skipped or carelessly executed. And most importantly- how to deal with consequences that have occurred from poorly compacted and leveled soils.

What is soil compaction?

Soil compaction and leveling - an important step to prevent the building from subsiding

The majority of constructions are supported by soil that is underneath them. To enable construction of a building or other facility, air and water particles must be removed from the soil and then it has to be leveled. That way the treated soil can sufficiently and firmly support the construction.

Soil compaction means increasing the density of soil, sand or some other solid soil layer by pushing out water or air from it. This is done by applying load to soil with the help of mechanical means. This way the soil’s volumetric weight and carrying capacity increases, which ensure the load receptivity coming from the building.

The compression’s main goal is to increase the shear strength and the related load capacity. Through the process however, the stiffness of the soil is also increased to prevent future deformations, for example through moisture content and frost.

The result from the compressions depend on many different factors such as:

  • The nature and type of the soil – it can mean compositions from sand, clay, soil or granular;
  • The thickness of the compacted soil layer;
  • The moisture of the soil;
  • Time, that is spent on compaction;
  • Of the work that is done for compaction- the weight, type, vibration, number of repetitions etc of the used device

What is soil leveling?

Soil leveling, as the name itself says, means leveling the ground, to remove bumps, dimples or other bigger unevenness. The operation is carried out in the preparation phase of the new construction project.

One of the main purposes of soil leveling is to protect the foundation from water damages. Leveling the soil under constructions or around it, ensures water from flowing away from the building and not into the soil layer under the foundation. If the soil layer is not leveled or is poorly done, the water can flow towards the house. This can gather around the foundation and saturate the surrounding soil, causing the building to become unstable.

Afterwards, it is possible to carry out soil work around the house. For instance on properties, where the missing drainage ruins the foundation, leveling the soil can repair the situation.

Why is soil compaction important?

If proper geological studies were not done before building a house and the house is built on a weak land, or the land has been poorly prepared before building a foundation, as in compacted and leveled, it can lead to the process when the soil as well as the house start to subside.

A subsidence is a process that is a result of the environment, as a result of substandard works or due to changes in the soil, the building’s foundation could move downwards. Land subsidence can be caused by geological, manmade or seasonal reasons:

  • High spring waters can wash away a lighter layer of soil, such as sand;
  • Bigger trees that grow near the foundation can, especially during hotter periods, suck out moisture from the soil so much that it could cause the soil or other soil layer to contract;
  • Water that has flown out from a broken or leaking sewage, can sometimes soften or even wash away the ground surface, resulting in a movement of the ground and therefore the building;
  • If a building is near a high traffic area, the strong vibrations coming from it could lead to ground movement.
  • Foundation works, that have been done with poor quality, could cause subsidence problems, especially during water damages.

Although, reasons why a house’s foundation or floors subside are different, they are still frequently caused from the very first building steps. For this reason, it is very important to be cautious about the soil’s compaction and leveling.

What does house subsidence entail?

Different cracks in the inner and outer walls, gaps between the floorboards and the walls, sloping or partially sunken floors, slanted or jammed windows and doors are just a few concerns that subsidence can bring up.

Over time subsiding foundation can bring up serious problems:

  • Damages to walls and floors are harder to repair or they are even irreversible;
  • Cracks that have become bigger and bigger over time allow wind and moisture to enter the house, causing mold over time;
  • Heat loss increases, the dwelling is colder and as a result the energy efficiency of the building decreases;
  • Water and heating pipes can break;
  • Malfunctions of electrical installations can occur.

Problems that are caused from the house’s or foundation’s subsiding are expensive. A lot of money is frequently spent on repairing damages, but the core of the problem is not dealt with and no work is undertaken to stabilize the foundation.

How to deal with the consequences of poorly compacted soil?

Soil subsidence. Land leveling with URETEK technology

If for any reason the foundation of the house has begun to subside and as a result the whole building has started to do the same, the problem must be dealt with as soon as possible. Then neither the soil leveler nor the surface hardener will help, you have to approach subsidence in a different way.

Stopping the house from subsidising and restoring the foundation using conventional methods is a time consuming and resource-intensive job. Solving the problem with the outdated approach means emptying the rooms, breaking up and removing the concrete floors, compacting the soil and pouring new floors. This puts the owner of the house in front of a difficult question- should they start a time- and money consuming process that forces them to be away from home for a long time, or postpone the solution of the problem into the indefinite future, knowing that the situation will constantly worsen? This way it seems like the only thing left is to make a bad or worse choice.

If only there was a solution that thickened and stabilized the building quickly and cleanly and would not need additional preparations such as moving out of the house and replacing furniture. What if the cracked walls and cracks between walls and floor tiles could be fixed in a day, without waiting for the new concrete to harden? Seems too easy of a solution to be true?

How can URETEK help?

Works performed by the soil improvement enterprise URETEK are, due to their innovative technology, a highly valued alternative for raising and restoring building foundations or floors. This does not require excavation or demolition, thus contributing to both human comfort and environmental protection. Also the technology developed by URETEK does not cause vibrations or disturb nearby buildings.

URETEK uses injection technology of geopolymers, which allows it to approach the mentioned problems in a new and convenient way. URETEK offers a technological solution, with which two component geopolymer resins inject the ground. The nature of the problems in soil, which is the cause of subsidence of the foundation and floors, is reached through a 12-32mm wide borehole and an ecologically neutral resin or geopolymer resin mixture is injected into it. The resin is inserted into the soil where it expands until it hardens, filling all the voids and cavities in the soil. Under the influence of resin injection, the house or other structure rises up and moves back to the original designed height. The soil layer is compacted and thereby ensures the stability of the building.

It is not required to move out of the house or even move furniture for this type of procedure. Daily use of the building may continue during the works. Usually it only takes one to three days to complete the work and the work site remains clean and dust-free.

Get in touch with us and we will stop your buildings from subsiding.


Lifting and levelling of aerodrome surface covers

The covering of taxiways and take-off and landing runways on aerodromes may sink

When using classical methods, restoring damaged sections along with strengthening the subsoil and replacing cover plates takes several weeks or even months, during which aerodrome cannot operate at full capacity. When using URETEK materials, restoration works take only a few days or even just a few hours.

Subsidence of aerodrome concrete slabs is a common problem in many airports across the world. Aerodrome surface slabs may be subject to subsidence due to increased volume of passengers and cargo, deteriorated drainage system, natural wear and tear of materials, etc.

Subsidence of concrete slabs within permitted limits is not dangerous and does not cause accident-prone situations. But if the weakening of soil under the aerodrome and subsidence of certain runway sections exceeds permitted limits, immediate intervention is required. Even if the condition of aerodrome cover slabs is not yet unsafe, it may lead to danger situation in case of sudden change in weather conditions. For instance, if water in the recesses of aerodrome surface freezes, it may cause planes to slide.

Strengthening of the soil under airfield

In order to restore concrete slab surface of aerodrome, it is necessary to strengthen the soil under the slabs. Traditionally, stabilisation and levelling of aerodrome surface slabs requires partial or complete dismantling, closing unsafe section for major repairs and involving heavy duty vehicles. After dismantling of the slabs, soil strengthening procedures are performed, followed by restoration of aerodrome surface.

When using modern URETEK technology and materials, it is not necessary to dismantle or replace the aerodrome surface in order to strengthen the soil under aerodrome and stabilise and level the position of concrete slabs, neither is it necessary to deploy heavy machinery.

For strengthening the soil, a certain number of holes with 16 mm diameter are drilled in aerodrome surface used for inserting geopolymer material to required depth.

Principle of the technology

URETEK material contains special geopolymer resins, which expand and harden when inserted in soil, achieving great strength in merely 15 minutes. That way, the soil under the airfield is strengthened, whereas restored section can be used almost immediately after performing the injections.

Technology allows restoring the site with only minor changes in flight plan that do not interfere normal functioning of the aerodrome. It is sufficient to plan repair works for the period when there are not many take-offs and landings. Due to the dimensions of equipment required for URETEK geopolymers injection and autonomous nature of transport equipment, it does not limit the aerodrome resources during restoration works.

Variations in technology

URETEK technology can be used in two ways to lift and stabilise airfield cover plates. Methods differ from each other in terms of the depth of geopolymers injection. Deep Injection method is used to restore former soil properties at the depth of several meters. For immediate stabilisation and levelling of concrete slabs, geopolymer material is inserted in the gap between soil and slab by using Slab Lifting method. In both cases, the position of aerodrome surface and concrete slabs is adjusted by means of laser levels with precision of ±1 mm.


Stabilisation of railway tracks

URETEK geopolymers injection technology allows repairing railway embankments in the shortest time, while not affecting train traffic

Geopolymer resins help to strengthen and stabilise sunken crushed stone layer, also level concrete slabs of railway tunnels, stations, crossings and depots and lift them to designed height where necessary.

Railway infrastructure consists of many objects, including sections with railway tracks, tunnels, bridges, stations, depots, repair workshops, etc. All these objects suffer from loads caused by train traffic, as well as weather conditions and surface water.

Construction regulations prescribe establishment of groundworks consisting of crushed stone before installing rails. Railway embankment is made of bulk material (e.g. crushed stone). Regular load on rails and crushed stone causes uneven subsidence of different track sections. When subsidence exceeds maximum limits, the position of rails changes and using the tracks becomes unsafe. By using modern URETEK geopolymers injection method, it takes only a couple of hours to restore safe condition of tracks and strengthen crushed stone layer.

Stabilisation of crushed stone layer of railway embankment

Using geopolymers allows strengthening of soil under railway tracks and stop subsidence of crushed stone layer without dismantling rails and sleepers. Meanwhile, stabilisation of railway embankment does not require adding crushed stone. It is sufficient to insert geopolymer resin directly in railway embankment or the soil under it. Geopolymer material expands and exerts pressure vertically, thus lifting the tracks to their designed height.

Lifting of reinforced concrete slabs

In several sections (crossings, tunnels, stations, depots, etc.) tracks are mounted on reinforced concrete slabs. Such slabs can also sink due to changes in surface water level or soil erosion resulting from disruption of drainage systems.

Sections with concrete slabs can also be levelled and stabilised, using URETEK technology to strengthen subsoil. For that purpose, geopolymers are injected through holes drilled in concrete slabs. Meanwhile, there is no need for dismantling slabs and railway embankment. Soil deep under reinforced concrete slab is strengthened by using Deep Injection method, slabs are lifted and levelled by using Slab Lifting method.

Specifics of geopolymers injection

For injection of geopolymers, holes with diameter of 12–16 mm are drilled in crushed stone layer of railway embankment or in reinforced concrete slabs. Geopolymer material is inserted through hoses into pipes with diameter of 8–14 mm. Immediately after injection, geopolymer material expands, filling cavities and voids in soil and thus ensures lifting and stabilisation of structures. The process of lifting is monitored in real time by means of laser level.

Geopolymer achieves required durability in only 15 minutes. This allows quick completion of all works without altering train schedule.


Levelling and repair of roads and parking lot surface

Geopolymer resins injection technology gives an opportunity to repair concrete road surface in a very short time

Geopolymers allow strengthening the soil under concrete road slabs and also lift sunken elements and adjust their position.

Constant use of roads causes deterioration of their condition over time. Roads are affected by dynamic loads caused by heavy duty vehicles, but also by various environmental factors.

Concrete slabs used in construction of roads and parking lots may sink and create accident-prone situations. Such places are most common on high-traffic roads, parking lots, manoeuvring spots and loading areas.   In that case, roads need repair, which can be performed by using URETEK geopolymers injection technology.

Injection under concrete slabs

For restoring the concrete slab pavement, it is recommended to use geopolymers injection method Slab Lifting. This allows lifting sunken concrete slabs, but also level and adjust entire pavement of road section or parking lot. Slab Lifting method makes it possible to repair unsafe road sections adjacent to bridges, railway tracks, docks, loading bays, etc.

Slab Lifting method is much more efficient than traditional road repair methods, because geopolymer resins resist dynamic load well. It is also important that when using geopolymer resins, it takes only a few hours to a couple of days to restore the surface of roads or parking lots.

Meanwhile, works can be performed in stages, without closing all lanes and at the most convenient time, when road traffic is minimal.

Road section repaired using geopolymers can be used even by heavy duty vehicles already 15 minutes after completion of works. As a comparison, restoration of road section with concrete pavement, including dismantling and reinstalling of slabs can take weeks and even months.

Deep strengthening of soil

Geopolymers injection technology allows to restore concrete surface of roads and parking lots as well as strengthen the soil under the road. For that purpose it is best to use Deep Injection method. In that case geopolymers are used for increasing the load-bearing capacity of soil. Deep Injection method can also be applied to construction of new roads and highways. When geopolymers are inserted in excessively humid soil, they force excess liquid out and thus increase the load-bearing capacity of soil.

Work process

For lifting roads and stabilisation of pavement by using geopolymers, only a few holes with diameter of 12–16 mm are necessary for injection.

Injection is performed through special pipes inserted in drilled holes. When reaching soil layer or under concrete slab, geopolymer material extends, fills void and cavities and strengthens weakened soil, forces water out and lifts sunken concrete slabs gradually upwards. Lifting is monitored by using laser level with precision of up to ± 1 mm.


Lifting and stabilisation of port facilities

Geopolymers do not react with water, they remain stable even in humid environment. This allows using geopolymers for levelling and strengthening of jetties, embankments and berths.

URETEK geopolymer resins are suitable for stabilising infrastructure objects of seaports and river ports. In order to lift concrete structures and stabilise them, geopolymers can be injected under the concrete slabs of jetties, embankments and berths as well as in water-saturated subsoil of these structures.

Strengthening the soil under jetties, embankments and berths

Construction of concrete jetties and embankments generally requires installation of a vertical support wall that would retain filling material necessary for installing concrete slabs. Due to constant water influences, surface water level changes dynamically, meaning that there are also changes in the moisture content of soil under the structure.

As a result of that, filling material can slowly become more compact and horizontal surfaces are subject to movement and uneven subsidence. Concrete slabs of jetties, embankments and berths are also affected by heavy duty vehicles, gantry crane, transporters, loaders and other additional loads. Total weight of port loader with transmission container reaches up to 100 tons. Naturally, such weight causes increased compaction of the filling material under concrete base and soil under the entire structure. Thus, different sections of concrete surface may suffer from uneven subsidence.

In order to level concrete slabs and stabilise the structure of jetties, embankments and berths, filling material and subsoil of the structures must be strengthened. Load-bearing capacity of soil is improved with geopolymers in stages and without disrupting port operation.

Lifting and stabilisation of concrete slabs

URETEK geopolymer resins are suitable for levelling and strengthening of parking lots and manoeuvring areas for heavy duty vehicles, loaders and gantry cranes. Furthermore, geopolymers can be used to repair concrete floors and covers of port warehouses and docks, the condition of which has deteriorated due to exposure to water.

Concrete slabs are levelled by using Slab Lifting method. For more efficient stabilisation of port structures, Deep Injection method is used. It enables strengthening of soil under the structure. Geopolymers force out excess water, thus increasing the load-bearing capacity of soil.

Advantages of URETEK methods

Formerly, repair of concrete surfaces meant removal of all cover slabs, compacting of filling material and reinstallation of concrete slabs. In that case, major repairs are similar to new port construction, involving not only high cost, but also long-term stoppage of port operations, causing additional costs and loss.

URETEK technology makes it possible to perform work without dismantling concrete slabs and interrupting port operations. Materials and equipment required for geopolymer injection fit in a single truck. For injecting geopolymers under concrete slabs and deep in soil, holes with diameter of 12–16 mm are drilled. These holes are simply closed later. Stabilised and repaired sections can be used 15 minutes after completion of works.


Renovation of a house- where to start?

renovation and restoration of an old country house

Renovation of a house

Renovation can be a very big project to take on, especially when it comes to renovating a commercial building or an apartment building. But it can also be a smaller type of work if only the concrete staircase of the house needs renovation. In this article, we will talk more about renovating old houses. The special focus will be on the renovation and restoration of old houses and log houses, which do not always mean the same thing, but often go hand in hand.

Renovating an old house into your dream home can be an exciting process – seeing the house change from floor to ceiling! However, there are many things to know before starting this project, in order to avoid unexpected surprises. How to start renovating or restoring your house?

We try to give a brief overview of what to pay attention to and in what order to start renovating and insulating an old house. It is helpful to have a plan in place on how to start the project or to help you decide whether to buy an old house that needs extensive renovation.

Old unrenovated houses are cold and harmful to health

Construction and insulation of the floor of an old house

Very often people choose to move into a house in need of renovation as soon as possible. Financially it might make sense, but the wind blowing from the cracks in the wall, the cold from the floors or the leaks of moisture may not show up until the first winter and spring arrive and lead to unexpected inconveniences. Therefore, when buying an old house, the first important step is to assess the condition of the house, regardless of the fact if you have planned to start renovating your small country house or a large wooden house, restoring a dilapidated farmhouse or an old log house.

Old homes may not only be uncomfortable to live in, but they may also be detrimental to people’s health. Potential unavoidable hazards in old houses can include subsiding of the house or foundation, structural problems, mold, house damage, and more. Subsidence of the foundation may require different approaches- concrete pressure lifting, concrete slab lifting, or precast panel lifting. Such risks do not only take a longer time to renovate but can also lead to much higher and unexpected costs in the budget. Therefore, it may be necessary to start demolition work before renovation or restoration work.

1. Renovating, insulating, and lifting the foundation 

The roof and the foundation are very important, if not the most important parts of the house. In the event of problems, these areas must be looked at first, as defects in the roof or foundation can affect the rest of the house and its durability. Roof problems can also damage rafters and ceilings, as well as walls and floors can be damaged if the problem is ignored. That is why it is important to evaluate the roof structures and the beams, to see if a partial roof repair is sufficient enough or whether the entire roof needs to be replaced.

However, renovation should begin with repairing the foundation. The foundation is not only important as a base for the house, but it also keeps out moisture and insulates from the colder temperatures, which reduces heat loss and helps prevent moisture damage. Renovating and insulating the foundation of an old log house can bring up many questions. Is it necessary to insulate the old foundation and build a completely new one or is it necessary to raise the existing foundation? Pay close attention to this and get informed about the cases where a new foundation should be built and in which situation to choose to insulate the old foundation. Subsiding of the foundation is a problem that can also occur in new houses, and the most common problems that indicate this are cracks in the walls and gaps between the floorboards and the walls. All of these works need to be approached differently, and therefore it is necessary to assess the condition of the existing foundation of the house.

2. Renovation and insulation of the facade 

Renovation of the facade is the next step after the roof and foundation have been taken care of. As the exterior walls of the house are exposed to different weather conditions – wind, rain and sun, it can reduce the appearance and durability of the facade. Renovation of the facade begins with the demolition of the old facade or removing the old cladding boards.

The renovation of the facade has several purposes. Insulation of the facade contributes to the thermal insulation of the house, the right materials prevent moisture from penetrating the house and the exterior facade gives the house a beautiful appearance.

With an old log house, the renovation of the facade begins with a decision on whether to insulate the house from the outside with wool, board, or some other material. Another option is to restore the existing logs. When restoring a log house, it is important to inspect the lower log rows, which have usually been the most damaged. Rotten logs should be noticed, even if they are covered, to prevent further moisture damage and rotting.

3. Renovating, building, and insulating a floor in an old house 

Floor renovation may seem like one of the quickest and easiest jobs. However, this is usually not the case. The floor plays a very important role in keeping the house warm.

With low-quality floors, you should consider demolition and the construction of completely new flooring. The construction of a floor in an old house can be difficult if the renovation of the foundation has not happened. As with an old farmhouse or a log house, in general, the biggest enemy of the floor is moisture. Therefore, before insulating the floors, the waterproofing of the foundation must also be double-checked, so that the foundation does not get wet and will not damage the rebuilt floor in the future.

Floor insulation depends on the type of the house, the foundation, and the floor material. Insulation material, such as light gravel and polystyrene foam, between the beams should be placed under the beams of the wooden floor. When insulating a concrete floor, gravel is usually placed underneath. On top of that, a thin layer of sand expanded polystyrene and film. Then the preliminary work for pouring the concrete is done.

If the floor is well insulated, but there is a noticeable gap between the floor and the wall, it is not necessary to rebuild that floor. This may be a sign that the foundation is sinking and this problem should be approached differently.

Construction and insulation of the floor of an old house

4. Removing cracks from walls and final touches

Removal of cracks and fissures from the walls and finishing

Different problems indicate the subsidence of the foundation, which at first may seem like only a concern that needs interior finishing. Particular attention should be paid to the walls if you notice a crack in them. Any cracks, in both the interior and exterior walls, gaps between the floorboards and the wall, sloping or partially subsided floors, jammed windows and doors are issues that can indicate a serious danger to the entire house, especially if subsidence of the foundation is happening.

The subsidence of the foundation is something that needs to be addressed immediately to avoid further problems. The company URETEK Baltic, which has been operating on the Estonian market for almost 7 years, offers an easy way to raise the foundation without digging and disturbing everyday life. The service provided by URETEK’s specialists ensures fast, convenient, and environmentally friendly lifting of the building by means of innovative geopolymer injection technology. You can read more about foundation lifting and URETEK´s technology.

Renovation is easier if the walls are straight and insulated and only interior work is needed. The most common way is to cover the walls with boards, such as gypsum board or OSB, and then either wallpaper or paint. In the case of old log houses, the well-preserved log is often retained as an interior element to preserve its authenticity.

5. Insulation and interior finishing of the ceiling 

Ceiling insulation is just as important as floor insulation. You will definitely need to invest more time and money in the ceiling if the roof has leaked or if there have been other problems with the roof and its beams. Usually, the ceiling needs interior finishing separately.

The fastest, most common, and also cheapest solution for interior finishing of ceilings is gypsum board and its over-plastering and painting. Instead of the usual white plaster ceiling, the ceiling can be given a new look with the help of wood, special tiles, or a suspended or stretched ceiling.

You have to take a different approach with the bathroom and kitchen ceilings. In the kitchen, it is recommended to use light gloss paint that can be washed on both the ceilings and the walls. The matte paint absorbs dirt, soot, and grease that can fly in the kitchen air and is difficult to clean. Due to the high humidity in the bathroom, strong paint should be used and enamel paint should be avoided, as the moisture that gets under the ceiling surface will start to bubble and crack.

Other important renovation work

house renovation price

Before renovating an old house, it is definitely necessary to review the aspects mentioned above. If necessary- call a specialist. However, renovating an entire house can certainly be an even longer process and often depends on a number of factors. Sewerage, ventilation, and heating also often need to be inspected.

Some houses need a lot of demolition and reconstruction, others want to keep the atmosphere of the old house with restoration. So the first step is to start assessing the condition of the house. Prioritize the pre-work and inspect each part of the house separately. Pay attention to the work that was discussed in this article, but be sure to approach each house individually and find the best solution for yourself and your house.

What will the whole cost of a house renovation be? 

The cost of renovating a house can vary greatly depending on the size of the renovation and restoration work, materials, labor costs, and more. Restoring an old house can sometimes be more expensive than buying or building a new one. However, the new house does not have the historical value that a renovated house offers. Renovation and restoration work can also be spread over time, having a piecemeal approach and starting with the highest priorities. This will ensure the flexibility of the budget and spread costs over time.

When determining the price of house renovation, there are two options: 1. ask the construction company for a price offer for the desired work or 2. prepare the budget yourself. If you are ready to educate yourself and invest your time not only in preparation but also, for example, in getting the materials or construction work, you can save on the budget. Budgeting can start with foundation work. In order to evaluate the subsidence of the foundation, URETEK´s specialists offer free, on-site inspection and consultation, and after the initial evaluation, the project manager makes an offer from URETEK.


The foundation – should you build a new one or insulate the old one?

foundation construction and insulation

Building a foundation

Older houses hold a special feeling, character, and history within them- something you can’t find in a new one. This is the main reason why people choose to renovate the old house. There are different ways to renovate- there are houses that will only need their windows replaced, stairs built and interior touch-ups, while some houses need to be built from the ground, starting with the foundation. 

The foundation is the bottom layer of a house. Whether it be a foundation for a log house or a greenhouse– it carries the weight of the whole building. A secure and reliable foundation is a lot more than just the bottom of the house. It keeps away humidity, isolates the outside colder temperatures, and prevents the ground from moving around it, acting as an anchor between the framing of the house and the ground beneath it. That’s why the foundation of the house will be the first project to take on when you begin the renovation of your house. 

Even newer houses have problematic foundations. Old houses often have been built using different techniques and materials that have not lasted through the test of time. It shouldn’t scare people, who would like to own an older house, but it is something to pay attention to. 

There are different severe signs that show the necessity of foundation work. Such as cracks on the floors and walls, trouble closing doors and windows, unleveled flooring, heat loss, water running in, and as a result moisture damage.  

Building a new foundation for an old house 

Most people who buy an older house, take the need for a renovation into consideration. It’s a widespread practice to change out the roofing and windows. But building a brand new foundation is something that not many have heard of. Even though that is not the most regular choice, it is not a rare occasion where that step is necessary. 

Building a brand new foundation for an old house is usually chosen by very reasonable concerns. It does require a bigger budget, more time, and thorough research beforehand. But if the old house has gotten serious damage then building a new foundation is the best and the only way you should start planning your home’s renovation, to guarantee the stability and longevity of the house. 

Slab foundation, post foundation, or pile foundation 

Once the decision to build a new foundation has been made, the next important choice has to be made. Which foundation should you choose? The classification of foundations is based on the construction, the way of working and building, the construction depth, and calculation methods. Let’s look at the three most used foundation types. 

  • The slab foundation is very durable and covers the whole base of the construction, stopping it from moving and changing the house’s construction. A slab foundation is built above the ground with special L-shaped blocks and then it’s filled with reinforced concrete. You have to consider that to achieve the traction of the concrete, you have to reinforce it. A slab foundation works great with single-story houses and it doesn’t require too much digging work. This type of foundation has to be insulated. 
  • The set-up of a post foundation is usually fast and simple. It works well even in low quality and softer grounds. Posts are inserted with certain techniques deep in the ground. Usually, a post foundation is used for smaller buildings, such as sheds, greenhouses, and garden houses. But it works great for a bit bigger summer houses and log houses. 
  • Pile foundation is the most popular type of foundation in Estonia It requires good soil and ground, and a lot more digging work. In this case, reinforced concrete, stone blocks or limestone are built deeper than the freezing point, following the outer and load-bearing walls of the house. It works great for bigger and heavier houses, also buildings that need a basement. 

There are more foundations – for example, a pile foundation or a foundation built of fibo blocks. The choice of a foundation depends on many factors – the soil, the size and weight of the house, but also the financial possibilities and time. There is a lot of information about different types of foundations, and if you are interested, you can find a lot about them on the Internet.

The price of the foundation

The prices for the construction of the foundation vary – whether you need a post foundation for a small cottage or a pile foundation for a bigger house. However, the price of a pile foundation is generally cheaper than, for example, a slab foundation. The price of a new foundation may also include soil preparation and excavation work, insulation of the foundation, installation of underfloor heating pipes, installation of sewerage pipes, and much more.

Based on the prices found on the Estonian website, the prices of the pile foundation for a smaller modular house start at 6,500 euros. The price of a slab foundation for a house of more than 100 m2, together with the additional work that goes into it, can be as high as 30,000 euros.

House renovation and foundation construction - where to start?

Insulation of an old foundation 

If the construction of a completely new foundation is unnecessary during the renovation of an old house, the foundation works cannot be forgotten. Due to poorly or incorrectly insulated foundations and floors, the heat loss of a house can be as high as 20%. Therefore, insufficient insulation on the foundation means high heat loss and higher energy consumption for heating the home. A properly insulated foundation also reduces and prevents moisture from entering the house. However, moisture can lead to mold, rot, or even flooding. For these reasons, you need to pay attention to the foundation and, if necessary, instead of building a new foundation, the old foundation should be insulated. There are many tips on how to insulate a foundation.

In addition to the insulation of the foundation, the waterproofing and insulation of the external walls and floors, whether on the ground or not, must also be double-checked. Read more about the steps of renovating a house.

What should be used for the insulation of an old house? 

The foundation is usually insulated horizontally, but nowadays it is also done vertically to ensure even better thermal insulation. There are several ways to insulate a foundation.

The easiest way to do foundation work and insulation are if the house is not on the foundation. In this case, the foundation can also be approached from above and covered entirely with insulation boards, such as expanded polystyrene boards, up to the freezing point. When renovating an old house, this option is not possible, in which case attention must be paid to the type of foundation.

PUR foam is well suited for insulation if the foundation is laid with earth- or limestone. In the case of a stone foundation, it is wise to approach the insulation from the outside, in order to keep moisture away from the stone wall with proper waterproofing layers. Whichever option has been used for laying the foundation, it should also be used for restoration and insulation work.

When deciding how and with what to start insulating the foundation of an old house, first of all, you have to look at what and how the existing foundation has been built. The location of the house, the surface, and the damage to the foundation must also be taken into consideration. In addition to insulation, attention must be paid to directing water and moisture away from the foundation and the house using waterproofing layers or drainage.

The price of foundation insulation 

Just like the insulation of the foundation depends on many factors, so does the cost of it. Access to the foundation, the amount of heat loss, the material, the quality of the soil, and the size of the foundation are some of the factors that must be taken into consideration when finalizing the price. We can see from the website that the insulation of the foundation pricing starts from 1000 euros and when combined with other work, it can reach up to 25,000 euros.

What if the old foundation has subsided? 

raising the foundation
Even if the foundation is new and well insulated, there can be unexpected problems with it. Subsidence of the foundation is a process in which the foundation starts to move downwards due to the environment (as a result of poor quality work or changes in soil properties). The cracks in the walls and the gaps between the floorboards and the wall indicate the subsiding of the foundation or floor of the house. If such changes occur in both the new and the older house, the foundation work cannot be postponed and must be addressed immediately to avoid further damage. Lifting concrete and finding leveling solutions and concrete raising systems are required. Concrete lifting solutions are needed to fix that problem. URETEK’s geopolymer technology is a great way to approach such problems easily and effectively. No need to lift concrete slabs, use heavy concrete slab lifting equipment, concrete slab jacking equipment, or concrete raising equipment. Using URETEK’s technology, it is not necessary to dismantle, dig, transport heavy, large-scale materials or use heavy trucks during the work process. Read more about
lifting the foundation or ask for an offer from our website.