Subsidence damage

Subsidence is characterised by diagonal tapering cracks that increase in width as they go up the building and often damage is reflected internally.

Clay shrinkage subsidence often develops after a prolonged period of dry weather and there may be a ‘seasonal pattern’ to the cracks, for example, they get wider in the summer and close during the winter. At the same time, you might notice that doors and windows begin to stick and become difficult to open.

Is it serious?

Fortunately houses can tolerate very large amounts of movement before the damage threatens the structural stability. The BRE (Building Research Establishment) 251 1995 version provides guidance on the cracking and its classification:

Category of repair

0 - Negligible
1 - Very slight
2 - Slight
3 - Moderate
4 - Severe
5 - Very severe
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