How Do We Deal with Structural Movement and Subsidence?

At the time old houses were built, they could accommodate a particular amount of movement, but when later they undergo structural alterations and subsidence, the problem starts from there.

When renovating your old property, you know you have to live with the wonky wall and sticking door occasionally is the experience of living in an old house, but when a crack appears suddenly from nowhere, naturally there will be worry that the home got affected adversely by subsidence.

Old homes at times need brickwork, their doors need to be trimmed, or slopping of the floors occurs, but the movements get established without alarming by experienced professionals.

What can cause Subsidence?

When the ground below the foundation gives away, subsidence happens. Subsidence can rob the wall of support, and V-shaped cracks get formed.

Why would a ground collapse happen?

  • Droughts, heavy frosts, and tree roots effects the ground and clay subsoils may shrink violently or swell.
  • The ground under your house can get softened due to leakage in drains.
  • Excavation work nearby your property can also destabilize your property.
  • This case is very rare, but old mine workings or sinkhole can cause subsidence.

The settlement is also another type of downward movement. This problem is not taken seriously as the building can slowly settle over time. The ground below the building compresses gradually and adjusts to the new weights when imposed on it.

Trees and Subsidence

Claims of subsidence historically were due to drought, which makes shrinkage of the ground and it got exacerbated by trees.

Broadleaf species trees are the worst, for example:

  • Willows
  • Oaks
  • Ash
  • Poplars
  • Leylandii
  • Eucalyptus
  • Plane and sycamore trees

Indirectly also sometimes trees can cause subsidence — for example, roots that are moisture seeking to invade underground drains and causes leak.

How to Deal with Trees?

Trees are preserved via Tree Preservation Orders, and if you cut trees without their consent, you are going to be in problem.

  • Tree management: This is the best approach. You can reduce the moisture amount up taken by trees. But some trees like cherries and willows with this process with a new growth vigorously.
  • Root barrier: Between the building and the tree you can excavate a narrow, deep trench, and plastic sheets are inserted in them.

If subsidence happens, you might then need to do underpinning of the foundation of your structure.