Owning a home is a great joy, but you may not necessarily feel the Earth move. Yet move it does, and one of the big problems this can lead to is subsidence. Knowing how to spot subsidence symptoms can help you take early preventative action to protect your home from sustaining serious damage.
It’s best to start with the obvious. Any new cracks appearing in your walls, doors, or window frames are definitely cause for concern. Many sources will tell you that you shouldn’t really worry too much about cracks, but these sources are wrong. You should worry. Potential subsidence is nothing to be complacent about, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your doors and windows don’t open and close properly, it could be a sign that the ground has shifted. Just because it hasn’t shifted enough to cause an obvious crack doesn’t mean it is not going to get gradually worse. The hinges of doors may also start to loosen, and the door may become unstable as a result.
If your counter-tops and cabinets start to show early signs of fatigue, it could indicate potential subsidence. You may also notice tiles become loose, and your bathtub or shower floor may also develop cracks. Sudden unexpected leaks from the plumbing may also be indicators of subsidence.
You may never discover if Jimmy Hoffa is buried there, but your garden may divulge other useful secrets such as if subsidence is occurring. Subsidence isn’t always sudden and obvious. Sometimes it is very subtle and very gradual, which is why when the signs do appear in the house, the subsidence may already be at an advanced stage. If you notice cracks in the ground, dramatic changes in the level of the ground, and sudden exposure of tree roots, these are all possible indicators of subsidence.
What to do if you notice any of the above signs
It is a really good idea to consult with a structural engineer or other qualified professional to get an expert opinion on whether subsidence has occurred or is likely to occur in the near future. This may involve some expense, but that is nothing compared with the expenses you would have to pay if the subsidence is allowed to run its full course.