Home » Are Some Houses More Susceptible to Subsidence Than Others?

Are Some Houses More Susceptible to Subsidence Than Others?

(December 10, 2023)

There are some houses that are more likely to subside than others. However, it’s not always down to the type of house you have. There are several other risk factors at play that can make a house more susceptible to subsidence. In this article, we’ll take you through the factors that will increase your risk of subsidence as well as help you to identify subsidence problems, if there are any present in or around your home. 

If you’re unsure, then the team here at Geobear will be able to conduct and online visual assessment. This is also known as a subsidence survey. This enables us to either confirm or deny any issues of subsidence, as well as give you some advice about resolving it. Let’s take a closer look at what could be making your home more at risk of subsidence.

 

What factors can cause subsidence?

There are multiple things at play when it comes to whether or not a house is more likely to subside than another. Just because a house is older than another doesn’t automatically make it more likely to subside. 

For example, a house built in the 1950’s might have a sturdy foundation with no trees or large shrubs growing nearby, whereas a house built in 2000 might have a deeper foundation, but have issues with leaking pipes that run under the ground and it could have several large trees planted in close proximity to the house. 

Where, usually, age can play an integral role when it comes to subsidence issues, it’s not always the sole cause. Let’s a take a closer look at what can make your house more likely to suffer with subsidence:

 

The age of the property

We have just touched on this, but it is a contributing factor when it comes to subsidence. Why? It simply comes down to the integrity of the foundations. A Victorian house that has stood for over a hundred years will be more at risk than a newer property, for instance. Where the age of a house isn’t always the one and only reason for subsidence issues, it’s certainly something that could cause problems eventually. Generally in older properties the foundations were not as deep, meaning future underpinning works would be required.

 

The quality of the groundworks

Otherwise called ‘foundations’, the groundworks for any building need to be strong, sturdy and sound before anything can be built on top of it. If the quality of the groundworks, and any preparation work that’s gone into it, is poor, then the risk of subsidence will be considerably higher, regardless of the age of the property.

 

The weather

The weather plays a huge role when it comes to subsidence problems. Firstly, excess moisture, coming in the form of rain or snow, can cause the soil underneath your foundations to expand, thus moving the foundations.

On the contrary, periods of hot and dry weather can cause the soil under your foundations to shrink, causing further movement in your foundations. Ths expansion and contraction is bad news for your groundworks, and it’s only set to get worse as we experience all of the consequences of climate change.

 

The soil type your property sits on

The type of soil your property is built on can cause subsidence. Clay and silt soils are more likely to increase your risk of subsidence, purely because they expand when wet and shrink considerably when dry. However, just because you have dry or sandy soil doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. 

Dry soils are put under the “non-cohesive” category, meaning they won’t expand and shrink as moisture comes and goes. Instead, they’re more at risk of being washed away by water and even wind. This makes them particularly vulnerable should the area flood or even experience bouts of heavy rainfall.

 

The local history of the property

If your house has been built on an old quarry or a lake that has been filled in, then the chances of your house subsiding are greater than a house that has been built on land that has always been there. The same goes for if your house has been built on the site of a mine. These details should show up on any searches that were done before you bought the house. 

 

What are the signs of subsidence?

There are many signs of subsidence that homeowners need to look out for. Where one issue on its own might not necessarily mean that your property is experiencing subsistence, if you’re experiencing two or more issues at the same time, then subsidence is likely the culprit and underpinning methods will be needed. Geobear is always on hand to offer effective underpinning solutions, including the innovative resin injection method

This is a non-invasive underpinning method that involves injecting the ground with resin. The resin will work to fill any gaps under the ground, expanding as it follows the path. This restores the ground, and the foundations, back to full strength and rigidity, providing a long-lasting subsidence solution that will last for decades to come. Take a look at some of the signs of subsidence below:

  • Cracks in external walls that run in a zig-zag pattern
  • Cracks in interior walls that are more than 1cm wide
  • Cracks in floors
  • Cracks in ceilings
  • Uneven floors
  • Doors or windows that have become jammed
  • Doors or windows that cannot be closed
  • Patios, driveways or garden paths that have sunk on one side or a bulging
  • You have an extension that is moving away from the original property
  • The property is noticeably leaning to one side

 

How to prevent subsidence

If you’ve been through the list above and you’re relieved not to have seen a single sign of subsidence throughout your home, then we aim to ensure it stays that way. With this in mind, here are some effective ways in which you can keep subsidence at bay:

  • Don’t plant trees or large shrubs near your home
  • Remove excess water from patios, driveways and garden paths
  • Have a survey done on your home before you make your purchase
  • Fix leaking drain pipes
  • Check that no pipes under the ground are cracked or leaking
  • Make sure your garden tap flows directly into a drain and fix it if it weeps

 

 

Geobear is pleased to offer services to homeowners and commercial customers who are experiencing issues with subsidence, sinkholes and more. We can offer bespoke subsidence solutions, including underpinning, together with other effective methods of rectifying ground problems. If you would like further information about our subsidence services, or to book in for a subsidence assessment at your home or commercial premises, then get in touch with a member of our expert team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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