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How can I prevent subsidence?

Subsidence can be caused by many factors, from the type of soil on a patch of land to the prevailing weather conditions, while underground activity such as mining could also make certain locations quite vulnerable. This can be a huge problem for homeowners, since it can lead to costly repair work and potentially make it difficult to sell a property in the future. So what can you do to either mitigate the impact of, or even prevent subsidence?

Keep an eye out for cracks

Being vigilant is the best way to stop small issues becoming a major crisis, so if you see a crack in a wall or have trouble with doors getting jammed, don’t ignore it. While subsidence is not the only possible cause of cracks in the wall, it doesn’t hurt either way to address the issue immediately.

Make sure home improvements follow building regulations

With many of us choosing to upgrade our existing homes rather than move house, it’s vital that any major works are carried out to the correct standards. This means that if you’re having an extension or a conservatory built, they need to have adequate foundations. Cutting corners in this area might just make a home more vulnerable to subsidence, so it certainly pays in the long run to get a job done properly.

Pick trees carefully

Trees might not be regarded as a vitally important feature of a home, but remember their roots go under the surface and are designed to extract moisture from the ground. This means that if you’re concerned about trying to prevent subsidence, it could be a good idea to avoid planting trees that require particularly large amounts of moisture.

This could be vital if your house is sited on a clay soil deposit, as this type of soil is highly porous and can contract when it gets dry. As a result, it might crack in prolonged periods of high temperatures – such as a summer heatwave – when ground moisture will be scarce and most of it will be collected by thirsty trees.

Find out what type of soil you live on, choose your plants with the worst-case scenario of serious subsidence in mind and plant them a reasonable distance away from the building. But remember that your plants might have an adverse effect on neighbouring properties if an area is particularly vulnerable to subsidence, so be considerate.

Call in a professional to cut down trees

If you want to get rid of a large tree in your garden, you might be tempted to get out your tools and chop it down yourself. However, the removal of a tree will create extra moisture in the ground, which means soil is likely to shift.

This may in turn affect the structural integrity of your home and cause cracks to appear in the building, so if you want to cut down a tree, get an expert in.

These are by no means guaranteed ways to prevent subsidence, but they are a few useful precautions to take that should hopefully make your home far less vulnerable.

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