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Underpinning: A Viable Alternative to Moving

In the current climate of high house prices, underpinning your foundation is a valuable and viable alternative to get more usable living space without the hassle and expense of selling your home and moving.

Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of an existing structure. In renovation, construction and home improvement, experts advise that underpinning may be necessary for any of the following reasons:

  • The original foundation may not be strong or stable enough.
  • The original structure usage may have changed.
  • The soil properties that support the original foundation may have changed.
  • The construction of nearby structures may necessitate the excavation of soil supporting existing foundation.
  • It may be more economical, due to price of land price or property, to change the present foundation than to build a new one.
  • Floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can cause a structure to move, requiring further stabilization of foundation footings and soils.

EiEiHome spoke with experienced underpinning contractor, Chris Cavan of the City Wide Group, about the potential of lowering your basement.


“To buy a home with a third to a half more living space would require several hundreds of thousands of dollars or a more distant move,” Cavan began. By underpinning the foundation, lowering the basement floor and increasing the headspace, your goal is achieved without leaving your current home. This is structural work that must be undertaken by experienced, licensed professionals like those at the City Wide Group.
Upon completion of an underpinning project homeowners immediately achieve an increase in their home equity, generally in excess of their renovation costs, if the highest standards are maintained in workmanship and finishes.

Planning your project

Planning the entire underpinning project with an underpinning contractor is essential. Cavan reminds us, “Don’t miss out on the exciting variety of basement improvement opportunities presented when you underpin your home!” As underpinning and basement floor lowering is usually undertaken in older homes, older household plumbing, heating, electrical and insulation systems can be replaced or upgraded with modern technologies.


All these can be brought up to Building Code and beyond to the most desirable contemporary standards. Consider as well the following improvement options: reconfigure the space, install advanced flooring solutions like radiant heating, add a new exterior entrance, and if by-laws permit, create a separate income suite.

Meet with your City Wide Group expert inspector to discuss all the possibilities with you and find consumer reviews, contractors and underpinning experts at

Editor, Dawn Boshcoff

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