AT Home with Sarah Beeny - May 2011 - (Page 117)

| SUBSIDENCE| Crack down Subsidence is the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land. When a house is built on such land, obvious problems arise. From diagnosis to prescribing the cure, read on to find out about the problem that gives homeowners that sinking feeling. Are you living on safe ground? Avoid the slippery slope and protect your home against subsidence before it’s too late Warning signs The tell-tale sign of subsidence is cracking. Diagonal cracks that suddenly emerge on plasterwork inside and brickwork outside should serve as warning signs. Homebuyers needn’t worry about fine cracks in freshly plastered walls though – the cracks caused by subsidence tend to be wider than the thickness of a 10p coin. Look out for them at the weak points around doors and windows. Key culprits Certain soils are more vulnerable than others to change. Clay soils, for example, shrink and swell according to how much moisture is in the ground. Vegetation is also a key culprit, as trees and large plants suck the moisture from the soil, especially during dry periods. Willow trees are the worst offenders, but oaks and poplars also cause the soil to dry out. Keep an eye on your drains, too. Leaks from pipes will soften the ground, destroying your foundations and causing your house to sink. ✱ Cracks around windows could be the tell-tale signs of subsidence words: ALICE NEwBoLd | photogrAphs: IstoCk Prescription A step-by-step guide to dealing with subsidence: CraCk the whip Check your property regularly for cracks. Though you might not be thinking about what’s happening on the outside of your house, it’s certainly just as important as the cosy inside. Survey Swot If you’re thinking of moving, make sure you organise a full survey of 1 2 the house and land. If you scrimp now, you could regret it later if you subsequently discover the property has less than firm foundations. Similarly, if you’re thinking of extending or building a conservatory, check you’re on solid ground first. plant Safe When choosing the shrubbery for your garden, think about the moisture requirements for each plant. Magnolia or yew trees provide an attractive alternative to majestic oaks and willow trees. 3 faSt traCk If you’re worried about your home, act quickly. Notify your insurance company so that it can ask professional surveyors to assess the damage before it gets worse. keep Calm Just because you’ve seen a few cracks, it doesn’t mean your house is collapsing. Pruning or removing trees may help and stabilising the land with fillers (underpinning) can solve more extreme cases. 4 5 MAY 2011 | 117

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

Editor’s letter
A word from Sarah
Spring sensation
Big-name bedrooms
Brilliant buys for your home
House talk
Home horrors
Areas on the up
Property perfectionist
Mortgage mania
Solicitor’s service
a penny for your thouGhts
Housing hotshot
Wise up
Flying the nest
Making the ideal become real
Boost your build
Feeling lofty
Garden plotting
When cracks appear
Window shopping
Stay toasty
Warm up
Success story
Top transformation
Greenovate your home
Eco boost
Organic ignition
Green queens
Solve those dilemmas
Splash of colour
Bed down in style
Lounge around
Kitchens and bathrooms
Bubble up
Shower power
Instant illumination
Floor wars
The carpet market
Tip-top tiles
Tools of the trade
Fresh air furnishings
Grill thrills
Picnic perfect
Green supreme
Diary date
Kerb appeal
Up top
Brick cladding
Groovy garages
Lodge life
Go your own way
Car booty
Clock ticker
Coming soon
On the list
Listed lovelies

AT Home with Sarah Beeny - May 2011