Do I Have Building Subsidence? – All You Need to Know
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What is Building Subsidence?
First off, let us address what happens when you have building subsidence. When the earth’s surface sinks, we call this subsidence and without trying to insult your intelligence, when this occurs under a building in its foundation, this is known as building subsidence. The building will go in a downward direction usually at unequal rates, causing structural weakening.
What Causes you to have Building Subsidence?
The causes of subsidence and building subsidence are identical. One of the most common ones is to do with heat drying out clay in the building’s foundation, causing it to shrink. The shrinking pulls the foundation and the building with it further into the earth. Other possible causes include natural disasters, nearby trees sucking water out of your foundation, and compaction. Compaction usually occurs in new builds and is not really the same as subsidence; in this case, it solely refers to new foundations adjusting to the new weight.
Do I Have Building Subsidence?
As mentioned, it is extremely important to spot the signs of subsidence early. The biggest sign that you may have a problem is cracking in your walls. However, many cracks will not be a sign of subsidence and to tell them apart, you should assess whether they:
- Are thicker than a 10p piece
- Run diagonally
- Are thicker at their ends
- Externally and internally visible
- Appear close to windows and doors
If you answered yes to these questions, there is a strong chance that you have building subsidence. If you are still unsure, try looking to see:
- If you have an extension on your property, have cracks also shown up at the point it meets the building?
- Has your wallpaper started to crinkle near the ceiling?
- Do your doors and windows stick to their frames when opening and closing?
Don’t Stress! We are here to help; we provide inspections to areas surrounding London, Oxford, Swindon, Aylesbury, Guildford, Basingstoke and more.
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Why These Signs?
When building subsidence occurs, it does not happen equally at all the points of the foundation – that would be ideal! Unfortunately, this sinking occurs unevenly at different points and the lopsided effects on your structure make things squeeze or come together more. Hence why cracks may be diagonal, wallpaper may be screwed up and windows start to stick to frames.
If you would like an inspection scheduled as soon as possible we can help! If you’re located in Ilford, Croydon, Staines, Kingston, Richmond, Horley, Crawley or any of the other surrounding areas we can get to you fast for peace of mind.
I Think My Building Has Subsidised, What Should I Do?
The first things to do if you think your building may be subsidising is to check your building insurance policy to make sure you are covered. You should also get confirmation by a professional that it is in fact building subsidence and not something else. Once confirmed, act fast! There are methods of correcting building subsidence such as underpinning and crack stitching, which can be really effective at rectifying the structural damage.
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