The state of your house's foundation determines the structural integrity and durability of your home. Most competent building contractors do their best to make sure that the foundation of the house is properly laid; however, there are times when problems develop later. The good thing is that there are certain signs which can help you determine whether your home has foundation subsidence problems, and get them fixed before the entire building gets ruined.
The presence of cracks on the walls
Minor cracks are a common problem in a newly plastered house. However, if your house is old and it starts developing wall cracks which get bigger with time, it is time to start getting worried. The presence of cracks in the outer walls of a building is an even bigger warning sign. Note that when subsidence occurs, the subsoil is drawn away and the house starts sinking into the cavity created. The shifting is what causes the cracks because the sinking does not happen evenly and the action of weight on different parts of the walls leads to cracking.
Sticking doors and windows
Another common indicator of subsidence is doors and windows that do not open as easily as they did. This happens because the walls contract and expand as the subsidence occurs. This narrows the space which was originally left at the door or window. At other times, the door may not stick, but become a little too small for the opening.
When the house is visibly leaning to one side
In extreme cases of subsidence, the house foundation will sink unevenly and one side of the house will lean to the side. This is usually a serious warning sign and if the problem is ignored at this point, the entire building may collapse. If you stand a few meters from your house, and you can clearly observe that certain parts such as the windows are not at the same level, it is best to have a surveyor to help you find out if there has been subsidence and how serious the problem is.
Subsidence can happen as a result of changes in foundation soil moisture content, activities such as mining near or under the house, and other structural miscalculations when erecting the foundation. Foundation contractors can tell how much damage your house has suffered and the best way to mitigate it. It is, therefore, best to consult them as soon as you notice the three warning signs and get underpinning services.