Building Subsidence, how do you spot it? Skip to main content

Identifying Building Subsidence

The one major sign of building subsidence is the appearance of cracks in walls or floors dropping. The cracks caused by subsidence are normally of a diagonal nature and will suddenly appear in plaster work inside the building and on brickwork outside. Subsidence cracks will usually be thicker than fine hairline cracks, which may be caused by natural movement of a structure, and tend to be wider at the top. 

Floors dropping due to subsidence are also quite clear to spot, look at the skirting around your floors where gaps will appear - or cracks and uneven surfaces. These are problems we can cure without the complete incovenience of excavation.

You can also look for possible signs of subsidence around weak points in the building, such as doors and windows. You may find that doors and windows may stick due to the movement of the building.  Building subsidence cracks are also common where an extension meets the main building, indicating that the extension is pulling away from the main structure. We can inject our geo-polymer material beneath an extension to stabilise it and prevent further movement and also in come cases lift it back into place.

Common signs of potential subsidence

  • Cracks appear in the plinth, walls and floors
  • Floors become uneven or are tilted
  • Unexpected structural damage occurs
  • Doors and windows do not open/close properly
  • Gaps appear between frames and doors/windows
  • Structure appears to lean to one direction more than expected
  • Water starts to run in the wrong direction the sink or bath
  • Water damage may be caused by structural movement
  • Drains work poorly or not at all
  • Chimney stack or chimney breast shows sign of leaning and cracks

Identifying Subsidence

Of course, the first step in resolving subsidence issues is identifying its presence. The primary indication that a building is affected by subsidence is the sudden appearance of cracks in the building and walls. These cracks usually present themselves as diagonal in nature and crop up on interior plasterwork as well as the outside brickwork. Natural movements of structures can sometimes result in fine hairline cracks in walls. Subsidence cracks tend to be thicker than these hairline cracks.

Building extensions can help detect whether subsidence is a problem. Subsidence cracks are common at points where extensions meet buildings. These cracks give a clue that they are moving away from each other and remediation may be required.

Doors and windows can also give an indication of subsidence. If affected by subsidence, doors and windows can stick or fail to open and close properly due to the building moving from its original foundations.

Potential Subsidence Signs

  • Cracks suddenly appearing in the plinth, interior and exterior walls and floors of a building
  • Obvious uneven, unbalanced or tilted floors
  • Structural damage suddenly appears almost out of nowhere
  • Doors and windows sticking, or not opening and closing as they should
  • Emergence of gaps appearing between the frames of doors and windows
  • Building or structure seems to be leaning in one direction rather than being straight
  • Water running in the wrong direction in sinks, basins and baths
  • Unexplained water damage
  • Drainage not working as effectively as usual or at all
  • Cracked chimney stack or chimney breast appears to be leaning to one side

How Can URETEK Help?

Once subsidence is identified and confirmed, it needs to be resolved to ensure that no further damage comes to the property.

URETEK’s innovative geopolymer technology allows for quick and clean solutions. Our 30 plus years of experience has seen us successfully treat over 100,000 subsidence problems, professionally and efficiently.