AT Home with Sarah Beeny - December 2011 - (Page 177)

| SUBSIDENCE| Slip-sliding away? Is your house su ering from subsidence? Don’t panic – there are solutions… ubsidence is the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land. When a house is built on this land, obvious problems arise. From diagnosing the issue to prescribing the cure, read on to find out about the housing ailment that’s got homeowners cracking up. S DIAGNOSIS The telltale sign of subsidence is cracking. Diagonal cracks that suddenly emerge on plasterwork inside, and brickwork outside, should wave a warning flag. New home buyers shouldn’t be too concerned about fine cracks in freshly plastered walls though – cracks caused by subsidence are usually wider than the thickness of a 10p coin. Weak points around doors and windows are a hotspot for cracks, with fixtures often sticking due to the distortion of the building. WORDS: ALICE NEWBOLD | PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES the moisture out of the soil, especially during periods of no rain. Willow trees are the worst offenders, and should be planted at least 40m away from buildings. Oaks, poplars and horse chestnuts also cause drought in the soil, due to their sheer height and the amount of moisture they need. Keep an eye on your drains, too. Damaged pipes can cause leakages that will soften or wash away the ground, destroying your foundations and causing your house to start sinking. 3 4 5 CAUSE Certain soils are more vulnerable to change than others. Clay soils, for example, shrink and swell according to the amount of moisture which is in the ground. Vegetation is also a key culprit, as trees and large plants suck Here’s our step-by-step guide to solving subsidence: CRACK THE WHIP: Check your property regularly for cracks. Although you may not be thinking about what’s happening on the outside of your house, it’s just as important as the inside. SURVEY SWOT: If you’re buying a property, make sure you get a full survey done of the house and land. If you scrimp on a survey now, you could end up regretting the foundations you chose later. Similarly, if you’re thinking of extending or building a conservatory onto your house, check you’re on solid ground first. PRESCRIPTION 1 2 PLANT SAFE: When choosing shrubbery for your garden, think about the moisture demands of each plant. Magnolia or yew trees provide an attractive alternative to majestic oaks and willow trees. FAST TRACK: If you’re worried about your home, act quickly. Notify your insurance company so they can get professional surveyors to assess the damage before it gets any worse. IT’S A FACT: KEEP CALM: Just UNDERPINNING because you’ve IS REQUIRED IN JUST 20%-30% spotted a few cracks, OF CASES it doesn’t mean your house is falling down. Subsidence is a common problem and can be dealt with by experts trained in the field. Removing trees can be an efficient solution, while pruning back can help reduce moisture loss in conservation areas that don’t allow this. Be careful, though, as trimming plants can also stimulate their growth and hunger for moisture. Underpinning may be prescribed for extreme cases – this involves stabilising the land with fillers. This may sound like an upheaval but in recent years, experts have developed efficient, less invasive and cheaper methods. ✱ DECEMBER 2011 | 177

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AT Home with Sarah Beeny - December 2011

EDITOR’S LETTER
HELLO FROM SARAH
NEWS
MAKE IT A DATE
FESTIVE FOCUS
HOME COMFORTS
LIGHT FANTASTIC
PASTE IT UP
SARAH'S WORLD
VILLAGE REVAMP
TO LET OR NOT TO LET?
KEYS TO THE DOOR
QUEEN OF THE CASTLE
HOT PROPERTY
GREAT SCOTS
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
LODGE LIFE
VICTORIAN SPLENDOUR
FINISHING TOUCH
BEST OF THE BRIGHTS
STORE IN STYLE
BOUDOIR BEAUTIFUL
SHAKE IT UP!
FINE DINER
WHAT’S COOKING?
TOPS TOTTY
SPLASHING STUFF
NIGHT ON THE TILES
GADGETS GALORE
OPEN UP
TOTALLY FLOORED
MAT FINISH
COSY CARPETS
HOT STUFF
THE TEMPERATURE’S RISING
RADIATE THIS
FLAMING GREAT
BURN BABY BURN
DREAM HOME
GOING LARGE
SLIDING AWAY
KEEP IT IN
DRAUGHT EXCLUSIVE
DON’T BLAME THE TOOLS
GOING SOFT
ECO EXCELLENCE
WASTE NOT
BRIGHT SPARK
SUN SCREEN
STREET VIEW
BLOOMING BRILLIANT
GARDEN INVADER
GLITTERING BUYS
COMING SOON
SARAH SAYS
MANSION MARVEL
LAST WORD
STOCKISTS
PERFECT PROPERTIES

AT Home with Sarah Beeny - December 2011

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