The S-word. It’s feared amongst property experts, and for a good reason. After all, subsidence can cause horrific expenses to properties and, in some cases, make them unhabitable.
It’s one of the reasons why insurance is a crucial element of any property, whether it’s a residential purchase or if you’re a landlord turning to invest. It will typically give you financial protection in those very-worse case scenarios. After all, this issue can cost tens of thousands to resolve in some cases.
However, you should have spotted the signs long before you get to those stages. Today, we’ll look at common symptoms that might mean a property suffers from subsidence.
Cracks in the walls
The first and most obvious sign is cracking in the walls. If you’ve spotted them, then it’s time to investigate. These cracks will likely start from the corners of windows or doors and then travel up or down the wall. Sometimes, you might even see horizontal cracks.
If you see cracks in walls, it’s a vital sign that there could be subsidence. Of course, there can be many other reasons, but this is the obvious one to look out for.
We should also highlight that the size of these cracks does matter. Narrow cracks are part and parcel of most properties, but it can be time to investigate if you spot anything more significant than 3mm. Furthermore, subsidence cracks can appear on both the internal and external walls of a property.
Doors and windows were sticking.
Another sign to watch out for is doors and windows sticking. If you’ve ever opened a door or window and offered some resistance, it’s a sign that the property is suffering. Subsidence can cause this as it changes the shape of the property, making it harder for doors and windows to open and close as they should.
It’s worth pointing out that small ground movements will always occur, and you might experience this issue intermittently. But, if you see the problem worsening over time, it’s an excellent time to investigate further.
Skirting boards coming away from the wall
Next, let’s talk about skirting boards coming away from walls. This is another sign that the shape of the property is changing and that subsidence might be an issue.
Sometimes, these gaps will be between the floor and the skirting board, whereas on other occasions, it might be about the board itself coming away from the wall.
Again, it’s important to highlight that some movement will always occur in properties, which isn’t always due to subsidence. However, if you notice that this issue seems to be progressively worsening, this could be a cause for concern.
Pooling water around the external areas of a property
This is an indirect cause – but one that should be kept an eye on. When water starts to pool around a property, it suggests that there could be a drainage problem. The knock-on effect is that the soil can become softer and cause subsidence (and, subsequently, all the issues we’ve discussed).