When it comes to increasing the size of your basement and repairing your foundation, there are a few options that you can keep in mind. Both of them have their pros and cons and can be used in different situations and to suit different needs and budgets. They are often compared and some people incorrectly use the terms interchangeably, however there is quite a difference between the two. Let’s take a look at the difference between underpinning and benching.
When you underpin your basement, you are excavating beneath the existing foundation and working to extend it lower into the earth. This results in a basement that has the same amount of space horizontally as it did before the underpinning, but hopefully much more vertical space (depending upon the client’s desire and need for the basement, of course). The result is a larger basement that is more suitable for living space than the original. This is very different from the effects of benching.
Benching is another technique used when you need your basement expanded or your foundation fixed, however it is quite different from underpinning. For one thing, the process tends to cost less than the underpinning process, which is good news for those on a budget. Keep in mind that there is a reason for this low cost, and that you should give much consideration to exactly what kind of work you need to have performed on your basement, and what your end goal is.
Unlike underpinning, where the current foundation is extended but not necessarily changed horizontally, benching results in smaller basements. That is because instead of excavating underneath the existing foundation, a new foundation is created within the confines of the old one. Think about a square, for example, and imagine all of the blank space within it. Now imagine someone coloring a border along the inside walls of the square. The free space has decreased, and the square inside the border is smaller than the original, right? The same technique can be considered when thinking about benching.
Much as its name implies, benching a basement often results in concrete “benches” that run around the perimeter of the room where the new foundation begins and the old one ends. Unlike underpinning, in other words, benching reduces the overall size of your basement and might not result in a square footage gain, but rather a reduction.
Both underpinning and benching have their pros and cons. Just keep in mind that the finished products are different, and make sure that you carefully consider your needs before selecting a process. If you are looking for an expansion, for example, then you probably want to choose underpinning over benching as underpinning will not reduce the overall square footage of your basement.
Are you interested in underpinning or benching your basement? The benefits are plentiful and can help ensure that your home is a healthy, safe place for you and your loved ones. Contact Basement Underpinning Toronto for more information on the underpinning and benching processes as well as whether or not it is a good option for your home. Our underpinning and benching specialists are always happy to speak with potential customers and schedule consultations to get the process started.
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