Subsidence occurs when a house subsides, meaning it is sinking into the ground past its original foundation. Subsidence, therefore, can be a very serious issue that not only affects the structural integrity of a property but also its resale value.
However, if you think your home is subsiding, do not panic. There are measures you can take to help arrest the issue and even the most severe cases of subsidence can be resolved.
Subsidence is caused when moisture levels in the ground change. This can result in the ground sinking or collapsing. When this happens under a building part of the foundations can be taken with it, placing a strain on the building and resulting in damage, wherein cracks can begin to form.
There are a number of key risk factors:
If you think you might be at risk of subsidence, keep an eye out for possible signs, because the sooner you spot it, the better chance you have to rectify it quickly. Look for:
If you have noticed any of the above tell-tale signs in your property, the first thing to do is to call your home insurance provider. They will be able to arrange a full survey to ascertain whether or not it is a genuine case of subsidence or if it’s something less serious.
In the most severe instances of subsidence, underpinning may be required. This type of repair work usually halts subsidence, preventing further movement of the foundations.
However, this is a lengthy and potentially very expensive procedure – costing upwards of £5,000 depending on the size of the house and the extent of the damage. Because of this, underpinning is generally only recommended as an absolute last resort.
Luckily, only around 10% of properties suffering from subsidence require underpinning, and there are a number of other possible solutions that can help a homeowner to counter its effects.
The following actions can help to minimise the effect that subsidence has on a property.
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