Subsidence is a homeowner's worst nightmare. It can affect the structural safety of your home and it’s value. We are spending more time than ever at home, with the current lockdown, so there is no better time to make these 5 essential checks of your home.
Subsidence is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. It can affect the structural safety of your home and it’s value. We are spending more time than ever at home, with the current lockdown, so there is no better time to make these 5 essential checks of your home.
1. Summer is coming and the Meteorological Office Rainfall and Evaporation Calculation System (MORECS) would suggest we could be heading towards another event year for subsidence claims. Subsidence is common in the UK because of the soil types we have in England and Wales. It is an issue that affects thousands of households and businesses. Certain areas are more susceptible than others. We have created a Subsidence Map of the UK, as well as more focussed regional maps to understand where the problem areas are. Take a look to see if you live in a risk area here
2. Leaking drains are a common cause of Subsidence. Following the winter months, gutters can become clogged with debris and leaves. If this happens the water falls from the gutter to the ground. It then creates a pool, which over time saturates the soils. When this water finally drains away, it may erode the soil causing the foundations to settle. To prevent this type of damage, gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year, now the weather is drier and you’re at home, now is a great time to do this. Underground drainage should not be ignored too, leaks are not always easy to spot. If you suspect a leak, do not delay getting this checked out. The water leaking into the ground can wash away the soils, softening it and weakening it, all of which can cause Subsidence.
3. Complete a visual inspection of your home externally, if you spot cracks in the brickwork, take notice of their width, direction, and if they correspond internally. Not all cracks are related to subsidence, but those that are thicker than 3mm (thicker than a 10p coin), are diagonal and wider at the top than the bottom, and are found near doors and windows, may suggest a subsidence problem. Do not let the lockdown, delay getting this checked out, or further damage may occur as a result.
4. Now that you have completed a visual inspection of your home externally, take a look inside too. The obvious is to again check for cracks in the walls, but more subtle signs include wallpaper crinkling and windows and doors sticking. You can also check around your skirting board to see if there are any signs of the floor dropping. Any of these signs could indicate structural movement, and as above we suggest you do not delay getting this checked out.
5. With summer on its way you may be designing the garden. It is important to not plant trees or shrubs close to your home. The association of insurers has created a table which shows how far away different types of tree should be. If you already have existing trees and shrubs of concern, contact an arboriculturist for advice on pruning or removal. Do not remove any trees without specialist advice.
So there it is, now you know the risks of subsidence, you can spend some time in lockdown reducing the risk, protecting your home from structural damage and help to preserve its value.
Geobear is continuing to operate wherever possible. The government has considered any remedial works to address subsidence issues are essential works, to ensure the structural adequacy of a structure. We are continuing to work with insurers to ensure subsidence claims are processed in a timely manner.
We are also working directly with homeowners too, so if you want to avoid the insurance route, and you spot the signs of subsidence we can complete a free visual inspection of your home. We can do this either in person, providing government guidelines can be obeyed or if not by online assessment via an app of your choice. You can contact us here
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