Back to blog home

Tips for recognising and preventing subsidence

Tips for recognising and preventing subsidence


It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare – a huge crack appears in a wall after a long, hot summer. Most would be terrified it could be a sign their home is showing signs of subsidence.

Fortunately, if you know what to look out for, you can catch subsidence early and have the problem put right before it gets out of hand.


The sun’s out! What’s the problem?

When rainwater is scarce, trees and shrubs tend to suck a huge amount of moisture from the soil.

If the ground severely dries out under or around a building, it can cause it to shift on its foundations and start to sink, leading to subsidence.

This can make walls crack, beams bend and roofs cave in. At its very worst, subsidence can even make your home dangerous to live in, and may affect your ability to sell it.


What to look out for:

  • The clearest sign of subsidence is the appearance of large diagonal cracks in either external or internal walls, and often both.
  • The cracks are usually wider at the top than the bottom. Experts suggest looking out for anything greater than the edge of a 10 pence coin, which is 10mm.
  • Cracks are often close to doors and windows, and where walls join other walls.
  • Floors can begin to look as if they’re bending, and doors and windows can start to jam badly.
  • Large cracks might appear at the join where an extension has been built.


The problem may appear, then disappear

Signs of subsidence can disappear when wetter weather comes along.

But beware thinking it’s ‘gone away’! The problem will usually appear again during the next long spell of hot weather and may get worse.


How to prevent subsidence

Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to help avoid being affected:

  • Try and avoid planting trees within 10 metres of the main building and don’t plant any, such as Elm, that can grow very large. Existing trees that are close to a building should be cut back.
  • It’s a good idea to trim larger bushes and shrubs which are close to a home regularly, so they don’t get too large and water-greedy.
  • If you can, check your home’s guttering, pipework and drainage to make sure it’s all working efficiently and doesn’t need remedial work or replacing.


We’re here to help if you need us

If you think your home is showing signs it might be affected by subsidence, get in touch with us here at Policy Expert as soon as you can.

Our experts are on hand to advise you on how best to deal with the problem and what your options are.

Being the number 1 rated UK home insurance provider on Review Centre* it goes without saying that our customers come first. If you have any questions or you’d like to learn more about your cover, we’d be delighted to help.

There are a number of ways you can get in touch.



*Policy Expert is rated the number 1 home insurance provider in the UK on independent review website – Based on 28,204 customer reviews and a 96% recommendation rating, January 2020.



Published 7th July 2020