What does subsidence look like? Perhaps you think that your home can't possibly be subsiding because there aren't large holes opening up in your back garden. Sadly, the signs of subsidence are rarely that easy to spot, and you will need to pay careful attention to identify whether your property is in need of underpinning services.
What exactly is subsidence?
Subsidence occurs when the subsoil comes away from the foundation of your building, producing space into which your building can subside. The most extreme examples of subsidence can be found where mining or other excavations have taken place under the building, but there can be many other causes including damaged drains, drought or even tree roots. While causes of subsidence may be hidden below ground, the results can often be plainly seen in the fabric of your building. If you notice cracks starting to appear around the windows or doors of your home, this can be a clear sign that the building is starting to pull apart. If you notice cracks or perhaps that your windows and doors are starting to stick when they previously opened freely, then you will need to think about calling in a company offering underpinning services. In severe cases, subsidence may be obvious when the building is visibly leaning at an angle.
How to resolve subsidence
Subsidence is not a problem that can be left to correct itself; the longer you leave it, the more severe it will become, and if you wait too long, your home will become uninhabitable. It is important to get suspected subsidence examined by a professional so that they can determine which underpinning services would be most appropriate to restore balance to your property. In some situations, fixing the exterior cause, such as a broken drain or intrusive tree root, can correct the balance of the building — but more frequently, the foundations will need to be strengthened using underpinning services.
Since underpinning is a specialised skill, you must call in a company that has sufficient experience and trained staff to successfully complete the work and secure the future of your home. The company will explain how they will need to approach your situation once they have examined the extent of the damage. In most cases, underpinning involves excavating around the foundations of the building and filling the gap with concrete. At other times, it may be necessary to insert piles into the soil to support the building.