Subsidence is the slow gradual sinking of a section of property and land. Properties move naturally at very minute speeds, so normal movement is not noticeable. Subsidence, however, is a quicker moving of ground in a downward projection. A shift in property foundations causes negative effects from cracking of wall plaster to more severe issues such as loss of structural integrity.
Subsidence has a few main causes some of which cannot be avoided. The age of the property is the main cause due to the craftsmanship and materials used during its construction. Properties built before 1965 were constructed with shallow foundations in comparison to modern foundations. Newer properties built can also incorporate modern more durable materials.
The weather is a very common catalyst for property subsidence. Areas that get consistent dry weather, as well as areas that are having a long dry spell, are more susceptible to subsidence. This is because dry climates cause the soil to shrink, if this occurs under a property it can significantly impact the properties foundation and potentially move the foundation.
Just like many latent defects poor construction of the property causes negative effects in the long run. Poor workmanship on all factors of the house such as quality of materials to overall structural stability can contribute to subsidence. Poor quality materials such as weak concrete and rotting wood reduce the stability of the home. Weak materials result in not only a weaker structure but also a structure more susceptible to subsidence.
When looking for properties many people do not look at the proximity of a tree to the property. However, the proximity of trees to any property can help contribute.
The root structure of trees means they spread around the base of the tree and proceed outwards. This means that if a tree is near to your property it could be damaging your foundation. The roots damage the foundation by embedding themselves. These roots allow more moisture and dirt to build up within the foundation. The moisture weakens the foundation at a slow but noticeable pace. Damage or wear caused by an event to a properties foundation increase the chance of subsidence occurring.
Effects of Subsidence
Subsidence has a variety of effects on a structure from small issues such as ripple of wallpaper to extremes such as cracked windows. Some of these issues are relatively minor in comparison to others.
This latent defect can cause cracks in interior and exterior walls that are both visually unappealing as well as weakening structural integrity. Door and window frames can become slightly warped due to the moving foundation. This causes them to ‘stick’ making them harder to use on a day to day basis.
Extreme cases occur if foundations are either extremely shallow or the material used to construct is sub-par. Long resting subsidence can result in many serious issues. An example is that both window frames and panes can crack making them both unsafe to be near additionally less effective as insulation.
I sourced a large amount of my information from this URL, https://www.propertydefects.co.uk/spotting-signs-of-subsidence/ feel free to check it out for a more in-depth look into subsidence.… Read More