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May 25, 2022
When the Ground Gives Way: Subsidence Causes Homeowners Must Recognise

Subsidence is a serious issue that can damage the safety of your home and its potential resale value.

Although it can cause big problems, if you catch it early, there are ways that you can minimise the consequences and fix the issue.

What is subsidence?

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath your home collapses or sinks. This can disrupt your property’s foundation and cause structural issues. As your home starts to sink on one side, you’ll notice cracks starting to appear.

Subsidence can be caused by many things like trees, construction, leaks, clay soil or even environmental conditions.

The warning signs of subsidence

You don’t have to worry about subsidence as soon as you notice the first crack on your property, as subsidence is not the only thing that can cause these cracks to form.

Cracks can be formed by natural shrinkage and swelling when the temperature changes, so you shouldn’t immediately assume that a crack is a sign of subsidence.

If the cracks on your home are warning signs of subsidence, they will be:

  • Visible both internally and externally
  • Found close to your doors and windows
  • Appear in diagonal lines that are wider at the top than they are at the bottom
  • Thicker than 3mm in width

The other main warning sign of subsidence is if you notice the general sloping of your property to one side.

If your house is suffering from subsidence you may also start to notice cracks where any extension starts in your house, wallpaper starting to crinkle at joins, and doors and windows starting to get stuck due to warping frames.

How to repair subsidence?

If you’re worried about subsidence in your home, it’s important to act quickly to prevent any further damage to the structure of your home.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to consult a surveyor. A professional surveyor will be able to identify whether or not the cracks on your home are in fact subsidence.

If they are determined to be subsidence, work can begin to repair the issue. It’s not something that you will be able to fix yourself, so you will need structural repair specialists.

The amount of work needed will depend on the severity of the cracks, and the root cause of the issues. If the issue is big, your property may have to be underpinned with concrete.

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