Identifying The Signs of Subsidence

There are many different signs of subsidence that you can look for around your property. If you are worried that your property is suffering from subsidence but are not quite sure, one of the best times to look for subsidence signs is during the summer.

This is due to prolonged dry and warm weather that can cause movement within the ground as it heats up. This can cause slight movements of your property which in turn cracks can then start to appear within its structure.

If small cracks suddenly appear within walls of your property it may not have anything to do with subsidence. These are not uncommon but it is always a good idea to keep an eye on them just in case the cracks expand over time. If the cracks appear to be more than 3mm wide, or thicker than a 10 pence coin with wider gaps towards the top then it may be worth investigating further.

Subsidence can cause floors to drop which can be quite easy to identify. Examining the skirting boards around the floor or uneven surfaces and looking for gaps can be a tell-tale sign of subsidence.

Other ways to identify potential subsidence signs could be cracks that appear around doors and windows. This may be caused by movements of the building and may even cause your windows to stick. You may even notice the crinkling of wall paper at ceiling or wall joints.

If you have had an extension built on your property such as a conservatory, it may be suffering from subsidence if large cracks appear where it joins your property.

With many new build properties, small cracks suddenly appear. Unless the cracks become noticeably wider over time, this is usually nothing to worry about as this is known as settlement which usually occurs as the newly built property is bedding down.

Cracked wall

The Causes After Spotting Signs of Subsidence

There are many causes of subsidence which can include:

  • A high concentration of soil combined with clay which can cause vulnerabilities during dry and wet periods of weather. This can cause the ground to expand and shrink in an upward (Heave) and downwards movement.
  • If you have a large tree located near to your property, this can absorb water from the soil. Both large and small roots can also grow under the property foundations which in turn can cause your property to move.
  • If you have a damaged drain that leaks it may soften the ground and in extreme cases may even wash away the foundations of your property.
  • The age of your property may be a contributing factor to the cause of subsidence. A house that was built over 50 years ago may have been built with shallower foundations compared to the deeper foundations in which modern buildings are now built.
  • Older properties may have built over coal mines, a rubbish dump or a quarry by mistake. This can cause the ground to shrink over time causing subsidence to your property.
  • Poor workmanship can also cause property subsidence.

Help If Your Property Suffering from Subsidence?

Most household insurance policies cover damage caused by subsidence or heave but do not cover the cost of preventing further damage. If you do need to submit a subsidence claim then Property Defects have a team of loss adjusters, surveyor’s, structural engineers and a full range of other building experts who can not only manage your insurance claim on your behalf, but also project manage the repair of your subsidence damaged property.

Many properties that have been built within the last 10 years may have an insurance backed warranty. If this is the case and your property has defects such as subsidence, heave, drainage problems, damage from trees or damp then Property Defects may be able to help.

Contact our team of experts today on 08000 434 999 to enquire about the services that Property Defects can provide. Most of our services are provided at no cost to you if they are covered by your insurance policy or an insurance backed warranty.

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