4 Common Questions About Subsidence In Older Homes

Posted on: 19 February 2019

Buying an old home to restore is a popular choice for many Australians. It's a great way to create a comfortable and stylish home while also increasing the value of your investment significantly. Old homes come with a variety of issues that need to be addressed, both cosmetic and structural.

A common structural problem with older homes is subsidence. This occurs when the ground beneath the foundations of a home no longer provides adequate support which leads to some parts of the house to drop. If you've purchased or are planning to purchase a home that has issues with subsidence, here are the answers to four common questions relating to this problem.

1. What causes subsidence?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to subsidence. The most common reason is sub-surface soil erosion caused by water flow from rain events or broken water pipes. However, subsidence can also be caused by tree roots, excavation work on nearby properties or simply poor-quality, sandy soil.

2. How is subsidence detected?

If subsidence is severe, it's easy to detect because the house in question will have visibly shifted, making it appear to sag in areas. Not-so-obvious signs of subsidence include cracks in the foundations and walls, sinking floors and cracks in plasterboard and paint. If a house has subsided, this will be detected during your pre-purchase structural building inspection.

3. How is subsidence remedied?

How subsidence is remedied depends largely on how severe the problem is. For small-scale subsidence, you may be able to fix the problem with techniques that use resin injections to fortify unstable soil. For more major subsidence, you'll need to have your foundations underpinned. This involves building sturdy concrete piers that prop up and support the foundations. If you're looking for professional foundation underpinning, turn to a local company like Pro-Pin Professional Underpinning for assistance.

4. What contractors are needed to manage subsidence?

There are a number of contractors that will need to be involved in dealing with subsidence issues in a home. To begin with, you'll need to have a preliminary report prepared by your building inspector. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase then other contractors will need to become involved.

To make sure that the subsidence is dealt with safely and effectively, you'll need to consult with a structural engineer. Upon their recommendations, the foundation work will need to be carried out by a specialist foundation repair contractor. Once the home is stabilised, you'll need other contractors to remedy any issues caused by the subsidence, such as plasterboard repair, flooring repair and plumbing repair.

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