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What is Ground Heave?

(January 13, 2024)

You might have heard of the term ‘ground heave’. But you may not know what it is or how you could be affected by it. Ground heave is the opposite to subsidence, although the consequences can be just as detrimental. In this article, we’ll be taking you through what ground heave is, how it’s caused and what the signs are. If ground heave is occurring, the team here at Geobear will be on hand to help. We offer a wide range of services that will restore the ground back to its natural state. The results we deliver will last for decades to come. With that being said, here’s everything you need to know about ground heave.


What is ground heave?

Ground heave has the opposite effect to subsidence. Instead of the ground sinking, the ground expands, causing bulges and humps to form under the foundations of your property. This can be just as serious as subsidence. This is because ground heave make the structure of the building unstable. Ground heave is most common if the foundations are built on clay soil. Clay soil is cohesive, and so it swells and shrinks as moisture is added and extracted. 

The issue with clay soil, however, is that it tends to hold onto excess moisture. Essentially, it absorbs it rather than allows it to sit as surface water. Heave can occur at any point, so it’s always best to keep an eye out for the causes and the signs of ground heave. This enables you to either prevent the issue altogether or to have ground heave rectified as soon as possible. it’s imperative that it’s rectified before the problem really gets out of hand.


What causes ground heave?

Ground heave is usually caused by tree roots, notably large trees. However, multiple sizable shrubs in the same vicinity can cause similar problems. It’s something that can happen when large trees are removed. This is because the tree roots aren’t able to relieve the soil of excess moisture. This causes the clay soil to keep absorbing as much water as it can get, without there being a natural source nearby that can syphon it off. 

However, there are some other risk factors involved when it comes to the causes of ground heave, including: leaking pipes, cracked drains, excavation works and a change in the level of the water table. Where it’s not always possible to prevent ground heave, you should be sure to rethink cutting down any large trees, even if they’re a distance away, and make sure you have your drains and pipes fixed as soon as possible.


What are the signs of ground heave?

The signs of ground heave are similar to that of subsidence. This is because ground heave has very similar consequences. From cracks and jammed doors to dying trees and lifting footpaths, there are multiple signs to look out for if you suspect your property is succumbing to ground heave. Where one sign on its own might not indicate an issue, if you’re experiencing two or more simultaneously, then it could suggest a more serious problem. 



If you’re struggling with subsidence issues, then look no further than us here at Geobear. We are able to provide excellent underpinning solutions to help rectify the problem. If you would like further information about the subsidence services we have available, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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