Signs and treatments for subsidence issues.
How to spot it: New or expanding cracks wider than 3mm might be a sign of subsidence. Also, cracks that are wider at the top and run diagonally and cracks that appear on both the inside and outside, can be a sign too.
Subsidence is shrinking and movement of the earth your home was built on, this results in cracks appearing in the building and the foundations move. If you do see cracks in the foundations, it doesn’t always mean there are subsidence issues, cracks can appear for all sorts of reasons and mostly are nothing to worry about. The thought of your home having subsidence issues can be very scary, usually it’s not that bad and isn’t always as hard to fix as you might think.
There are several causes of subsidence, one of the more common ones is trees. Tree roots can grow under the foundations and cause movement. Even if they are not that invasive, roots extract moisture and cause the ground to contract. Cutting back or removing the trees is usually the solution, but sometimes it can actually make the problem worse.
Clay soil is also a common cause. It normally carries a lot of water, if the water table drops during dry weather, the clay will start to shrink.
If you think your property has subsidence, you should let your insurer know. If you don’t have an insurer, or don’t want to inform them right away, get a surveyor to assess the issue. In an extreme case, you will also need a structural engineer.
Easy solutions can often be found, such as fixing a broken pipe or drain. In some cases mental pipes can be used to shore up the foundations, if they are strong enough.
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If you are buying a new property make sure the correct checks have been completed prior to making an offer, these checks will highlight problems, such as damp and subsidence.
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