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What is subsidence?
Subsidence is the sudden sinking or gradual downward settling of the ground’s surface with little or no horizontal motion. It may be caused by natural processes or by human activities.
What causes subsidence?
There are a number of different causes of subsidence. Below are some of the main causes:
- the shrinking of soil beneath a property
- previous mining activity on the site
- ground vibrations
- tree or vegetation roots disturbing the ground and foundations beneath the home
- clay soils increase the risk of subsidence as they shrink and swell depending on the water content
- leaking drains could cause the ground surrounding the foundations to soften or wash away
Less common are heave and landslip:
- Heave is an upward movement of the ground supporting the building
- Landslip is the movement of ground down an incline or slope trying to find a natural level
How do I spot subsidence?
If a crack is caused by subsidence, it will be:
- thicker than a 10p coin (more than 3mm)
- diagonal, and wider at the top than the bottom
- visible internally and externally
- found close to doors and windows
Other notable problems caused by subsidence:
- wallpaper crinkling at wall/ceilings joins
- doors and windows sticking as frames warp
- cracks where an extension joins the house
- sticking of doors and windows
- sloping floors
How do I prevent subsidence?
- make sure that external guttering, pipes and plumbing are well maintained to avoid leaks
- don’t plant trees or shrubs too close to your house
- if there is already foliage there, don’t dig it up. This can cause water logging or instability
How do I fix subsidence?
- removal or pruning of trees and bushes
- repair work to damaged drains and pipes
- underpinning the foundations
Can I sell a house with subsidence?
If you’re thinking of selling a house that has subsidence, it could cause a lot of problems for you as buyers will not be keen to buy a house in this condition.
Even if you were to fix the problems before putting it on the market, it will likely cost you a lot of money, and there’s no real guarantee that the problem will have really gone away.
Typically a house with subsidence is likely to be sold on the market for around 80% of its true value, under the assumption that an estate agent would be willing to market such a property in the first place.
If you are keen to sell, then selling your house with a quick house buying company could be a better option. They work in timescales to suit you and your family’s needs, getting your house sold at a price agreed with you. Receive your free cash offer today and find it if this option could work for you.