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Video: How to treat subsidence, cracked walls and heave

It’s great to feel safe and secure in your own home… it’s one of the great joys of home ownership. But what are you going to do if the ground beneath your home starts to shift?

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Video: How to treat subsidence, cracked walls and heave

Treating subsidence, cracked walls and heave


Watch the video created by Aviva Home Insurance for advice on subsidence and heave, their causes and what you can do to prevent them. Scroll down for more information jump to the following sections:

  • What causes subsidence?
  • Spotting and preventing subsidence
  • What causes ground to rise?
  • Avoid planting trees close to yur Trees

    • <b>What causes subsidence?</b>

      What causes subsidence?

      Subsidence can be caused by any one, or a combination, of factors. Leaking drains can wash away sub-soil, trees can suck moisture out of the ground. Ground water can rise or fall, or even wash away soil.

      Subsidence is mainly a problem in the London and South East, due to the ground conditions, but with summers becoming dryer, more areas are being affected. Homes built before the 1950s are especially vulnerable, as they generally have shallower foundations.

      The first signs of subsidence are often cracks appearing in your wall. Small cracks are nothing to worry about, but if they are lengthening and widening you need to monitor them. For more detailed advice, read our guide on how to deal with subsidence

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    • <b>Spotting and preventing cracked walls</b>

      Spotting and preventing cracked walls

      The first signs of subsidence you may notice are often small cracks appearing on the walls inside your house. Now, small cracks are nothing to worry about, but if they are lengthening and widening they could be a problem. If this is happening, you should monitor the cracks closely, measuring their length and width. For more detailed advice, read our guide on how to deal with cracks on your walls.

      If your home is built on sand or clay soils, or you live in an area you know is affected by subsidence, there are measures you can take to prevent the problem. You can prune or remove trees or bushes near your home. You can line your drains to stop them leaking, or get some minor structural work done to support the building. In extreme cases, your home may need underpinning to improve the foundations, or your brickwork may need reinforcing.

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    • <b>What causes ground to rise?</b>

      What causes ground to rise?

      As we've seen, subsidence is caused when the ground under you home shrinks. In very rare cases, you can get a problem when the ground rises… this is called heave.
      This can happen when you remove nearby trees which took a lot of moisture out of the soil… it now gets wetter again and expands. Leaking drains can also cause the same problem.

      Once again, if you notice cracks in your home, contact your home insurer. If left unchecked, heave can cause major problems. Heave is fixed in much the same way as subsidence, as it has many of the same causes.

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    • <b>Don't plant trees too close to your home</b>

      Don't plant trees too close to your home

      When designing a garden, there are certain types of trees it is best to avoid close to your home. Oak, willow, poplar and elm are particularly thirsty trees - so will suck the moisture out of the soil around your house, potentially causing problems. If you are planting them, make sure they are far enough away from your home. Roots can grow up two and half times the width of the tree itself.

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