How do i know if my house is subsiding: Subsidence: The Homeowner’s Guide (Signs, Causes, Fixes, Insurance + More)

Subsidence: The Homeowner’s Guide (Signs, Causes, Fixes, Insurance + More)

Subsidence is a word that strikes fear into the minds of homeowners and homebuyers alike.

In the worst cases, it can cost tens of thousands of pounds to remedy and can result in significantly lower selling prices. It can also make a home much harder to sell.

It’s not always the case though.

But what is subsidence, what causes the it, and what can be done about it?

Does subsidence make a home completely unsellable, or are there still ways of selling a home with subsidence?

In this guide we will take a detailed look at subsidence and assess your options. If you’re looking to sell your property, check out our other article about selling a house with subsidence.

(If you have subsidence but want to sell your property, feel free to jump ahead right into this free quiz. Answer a few questions over the next 60 seconds and I’ll help recommend possible options and next steps for you).

Take this 60-second free quiz for personalised advice on the smartest way to sell your house with subsidence.

  • Avoid the biggest mistakes subsidence sellers make…
  • Don’t settle for a slow and frustrating sale…
  • Find out how to maximise your sale price, and minimise headaches.

1. What is subsidence?

Subsidence is a structural problem caused by the foundations of a house sinking into the subsoil. This can be caused by water leaks, drought, tree roots, mining and other causes.

This can cause cracks in the walls, put doors and windows out of alignment, and ultimately compromise the structural integrity of the building.

All new buildings will settle a little in the first few years, but subsidence occurs when different parts of a property sink at different rates.

  • Subsidence can usually be fixed, but can be very expensive.
  • If left alone, subsidence can cause structural weakness and even the collapse of buildings.
  • Subsidence occurs when the ground your property is built on sinks, causing the foundations of your property to drop (a.k.a. “subside”) into the space.
  • Subsidence is at its worst when different parts of the property are dropping at different rates. This causes “shearing” forces between different parts of the structure and can significantly destabilise the property.

There’s a difference between “historic” and “active” movement though.

1.1. Historic movement vs Active movement

Subsidence falls into two main categories:

  1. Historic movement – which has caused problems in the past but has since stopped, or been repaired
  2. Active movement – which is still causing problems now and will continue to do so

Historic subsidence is usually less of a problem (although it can still affect your home sale), but active subsidence will cause problems and inevitably reduce your sale price.

1.2. Settlement, heave and landslip

There are several other reasons a property could move. These are subtly different from subsidence, but can still cause similar problems with your property:

  • Settlement (pressing down)
  • Heave (rising up)
  • Landslip (moving sideways)

We’ll cover each one in a bit more detail.

What is Settlement? (pressing down)

Settlement is a natural process that occurs during the first few years of many buildings. The weight of the property presses down on the ground below, causing it to sink, or settle, a little.

Normally this is a uniform process that happens to the entire building. This means it does not tend to compromise the structure. Any cracks that do emerge are usually minor, and can be patched or plastered over once the settlement has stabilised.

However, the ground settles unevenly it can cause more serious issues.

Settlement usually isn’t a problem if it happens uniformly. However, if the ground settles unevenly below a property it can cause subsidence.
Image Source:

What is Heave? (rising up)

Heave is the opposite of subsidence, where the ground beneath a building rises up rather than falling.

This can be caused by flooding or water leaks, or by trees near the property. Even removing a mature tree can cause heave as the soil expands into the space.

What is Landslip? (moving sideways)

Landslip occurs when the ground beneath a property moves sideways, usually downhill, as a result of erosion elsewhere. This is common on coastal properties and properties built on sloping land.

A massive landslip near Bude, Cornwall. (Fortunately, no properties affected in this picture)
Image Source:

Natural settlement is often confused with subsidence, but will not normally cause any structural problems

2. What causes subsidence?

There are a number of common causes of subsidence. They generally split into two categories: Factors from the local environment, and factors with the building itself.

2.1. Environmental factors that can cause subsidence

  • Subsoil shrinkage. Clay soils are made up of around one third water. If this dries out it will significantly reduce in volume.
  • Nearby trees. Mature trees can pull water from the ground and this can cause problems, particularly in clay soils. Tree roots can also destabilise the ground beneath a property.
  • Water leaks. Burst pipes or faulty drains can cause water leakage which washes away smaller soil particles in fine and sandy soils.
  • Erosion issues. Soils or bedrock below the property can become eroded, causing caverns that ultimately collapse, leading to sink holes and subsidence issues.
  • Mining. Current or historic mining can cause subsidence if tunnels collapse or weaken the subsoil above them.

Mature trees are one of the things that can cause subsidence. They can pull water from the ground, causing problems for structures above – especially in clay soils.
Image Source:

It’s not just local environmental factors that can cause subsidence though. Factors with the property itself can also be causes.  

2.2. Property-related factors that can cause subsidence

Subsidence can happen to almost any type of property, in any location. However, certain types of property in certain areas are more prone than others. Factors that can increase the risk of subsidence include:

  • Property age. Older properties may not have the same quality or depth of foundation as newer homes and so are more susceptible to subsidence.
  • Poor groundworks. If the groundworks (i.e. the foundations) are not done correctly before building, this can lead to subsidence problems. For example, if the wrong fill material is used or the fill is not properly compacted before building starts.
  • Local climate. Areas that are prone to drought or to flooding are more at risk as this can cause excessive drying or soaking of the soil.
  • Local soil type. Predominantly clay soils are more prone to subsidence issues. There are distinct areas in the South and East of England where subsidence is more common.
  • Local history. Areas with a history of mining can be prone to subsidence, even if the mines are now closed.

3. What are the signs of subsidence?

The main signs of subsidence are cracks appearing in your walls, especially around doors and windows, or where extensions meet existing buildings. Other signs include ill-fitting doors and windows, and rippling wallpaper.

Just remember, even if you do have subsidence, you can still sell your house if you want to. Check out the free quiz I’ve designed to help you move forward: 

Take this 60-second free quiz for personalised advice on the smartest way to sell your house with subsidence.

  • Avoid the biggest mistakes subsidence sellers make…
  • Don’t settle for a slow and frustrating sale…
  • Find out how to maximise your sale price, and minimise headaches.

3.1. Cracks

Cracks are common in walls for all kinds of reasons (see below), but cracks specifically due to subsidence have a number of telling characteristics:

  • Width. Subsidence cracks are normally wider than 3mm (the width of a 10p coin) and wider at the top than at the base.
  • Angle. Subsidence cracks are usually diagonal.
  • Penetration. Subsidence cracks often go right through the walls. This means they can be seen from both inside and outside the property.
  • Location. Subsidence cracks usually appear close to doorways and windows.

Subsidence cracks are normally wide enough for a 10p piece to fit inside.
Image Source: Hamilton Fraser Landlord Insurance

Cracks aren’t the only sign that your property may be suffering from subsidence though.

3.2. Ill-fitting doors and windows

Subsidence can change the shape of frames, causing doors and windows to stick or not close as cleanly as they used to. In severe cases, door and window frames may be noticeably off from their true lines.

3.3. Rippling wallpaper

As walls move during subsidence, wallpaper may start to show ripples or even tears. The same can happen with tiled walls, with cracks appearing in grout or gaps appearing or narrowing between tiles.

3.4. Do all cracks mean subsidence?

Fortunately, not all cracks mean subsidence. Cracks can emerge quite innocently from far less serious causes. For example: 

  • Settling. As discussed above, some degree of settling is natural after a home is built.
  • Heat and cold. The materials that make up your home will expand in warm weather and contract when it gets cold. This can cause cracking but is not structurally serious.
  • Lintel failure. Supporting lintels over doors and windows can fail causing diagonal cracks similar to subsidence
  • Poor joining. If an extension or conservatory is not properly connected to the main building, cracking can occur between the two

4. How to fix subsidence

Subsidence must never be ignored and should be fixed as soon as possible. Unfortunately the longer you leave it, the more the repairs will eventually cost.

That said, subsidence repairs are not always as expensive as you may expect.

According to data from the Association of British Insurers, the average insurance claim for subsidence is around £6,250.

However, if you ignore it the costs can rise significantly. If your property ends up requiring underpinning, it can end up costing more than £10,000-£50,000 to fix (or even more in some cases).

We’ve written more about the cost of subsidence here: 

Related: Is subsidence expensive to fix?

Never ignore subsidence as the problem will only get worse and become more expensive to fix. To resolve an issue with subsidence there’s a relatively simple set of steps to follow. (Unfortunately, it can just take a long time to fix subsidence).

Never ignore subsidence as the problem will only get worse and become more expensive to fix.

Step 1. Expert assessment

The first step in fixing subsidence is to get an expert assessment of the problem. A structural engineer will visit your property to view the symptoms first-hand.

Unfortunately this can be a long, drawn out process, as they may need to monitor cracks and other signs over months or even a year or more. Monitoring the cracks over time helps them identify the nature and magnitude of the problem.

They will then recommend the most cost-effective solution.

Step 2. Fix the cause

The next step in fixing a subsidence issue is to address the problem that is causing it in the first place.

This may not always be possible, such as mining subsidence or soil types, but in many cases it is. Removing the cause stops the problem getting worse and may be all that is needed.

For example, subsidence often can be solved by:

  • Managing trees – removing or trimming trees can make a big difference. However, you need to consult a qualified tree surgeon or you could make matters worse.
  • Fixing drains and leaks – stopping water from reaching your foundations will prevent further erosion of the subsoil.

In some cases, this will be all that’s needing. Removing the root cause sometimes makes everything ok. The structural engineer will monitor your subsidence symptoms over the coming months to make sure the problem’s stabilised and is no longer getting worse.

In other cases, the damage will already have been done, and you’ll need to reinforce the foundations before putting the chapter behind you.

Step 3. Re-secure the building

Resolving the root cause won’t always be the final step. For example, imagine a burst drain which caused soil to erode and wash away, and this caused subsidence. Even after that burst pipe is fixed, you’ve still got a void that needs filling.

Re-securing the building can be expensive, and will sometimes mean that underpinning is required.

What is Underpinning?

In severe cases of subsidence, the solution is usually underpinning a house. This involves the removal of the subsoil beneath each wall and replacing it with a more stable foundation material.

This may mean pouring new concrete, or it may mean inserting steel “pins” into the foundations.

An example or underpinning, where the foundations are supported with metal “pins”.
Image Source: Moretrench Industrial

Unfortunately, underpinning is a disruptive and expensive process.

Can subsidence be fixed without underpinning?

The good news is that underpinning is only used as a last resort in the worst-case scenarios. Most of the time, subsidence can be repaired without underpinning.

In fact, in their consumer guide, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors estimated that “less than 10% of properties suffering from subsidence need underpinning”.

The Institution of Structural Engineers agrees, recommending underpinning only as a last resort.

In most cases, the root cause can be remedied and the cosmetic repairs carried out, and no expensive ground works will be required.

However, even if ground works are necessary, there are new alternatives to underpinning coming to market.

Resin repairs

In recent years, new technologies from the likes of Geobear have emerged that replace the need for underpinning. This process involves injecting resin into the ground around the building, which then hardens like concrete in as little as 15 minutes.

Resin injections from companies like Geobear can be an alternative to underpinning.
Image Source:

The process is much faster and less disruptive than underpinning.

Your structural engineer and insurer will be able to help guide you on which solution will be right for your property.

Step 4. Repair the cosmetic damage

Finally, once the environmental factors have been resolved and the foundations have been secured, any cosmetic damage can be repaired.

This will involve plastering over cracked areas, replacing wallpaper, re-setting doors and windows, and so on.

5. Is subsidence covered by home insurance?

Most buildings insurance policies will cover for subsidence as long as you have undertaken due diligence when purchasing the property in the first place. (This is because your insurer wants to make sure that the problem does not pre-date the start of the policy).

You may find that insurance claims for subsidence carry a larger excess than other types of claims. According to the Association of British Insurers, “Most policies will have an excess of around £1,000 for a subsidence claim”. (This means you’ll have to pay the first £1,000 of any claim, and the insurer will pay the rest).

“Most policies will have an excess of around £1,000 for a subsidence claim”

– Association of British Insurers

5.1. What to do if you suspect you may have subsidence

If you suspect subsidence, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible.

They will send out a surveyor to assess the problem and propose solutions.

How much does a subsidence survey cost?

You should expect to pay around £700-£1,000 for a professional structural survey. The cost will be covered by your insurance, but in reality your excess for a subsidence claim is likely to be about the same amount. This means that, in most cases, you should expect to pay for it.

Once the final report has been filed, most insurers will then arrange the repairs with their approved contractors – and ultimately cover the cost of them.

What if you find subsidence while selling your home?

If subsidence is found during the process of selling your home, you can still claim on your insurance.

In fact, some insurers will allow you to transfer the cover to the new owners. This allows you to continue with the sale at (or near to) the original price, while covering the cost for the new owners.

If the discovery of subsidence lowers the sale price, you may be able to claim the loss from your insurers. This varies widely by insurer though, so you should check your policy details carefully to ensure this is the case before proceeding.

Selling a property with subsidence is unfortunately a treacherous and pretty tricky thing to pull off.

If this is something you’re trying to navigate, check out the free 60-second quiz I put together for you. Answer a few quick questions about your property and your priorities, and I’ll be waiting on the other side with a set of recommendations tailored to your situation.

Take this 60-second free quiz for personalised advice on the smartest way to sell your house with subsidence.

  • Avoid the biggest mistakes subsidence sellers make…
  • Don’t settle for a slow and frustrating sale…
  • Find out how to maximise your sale price, and minimise headaches.

We’ve also covered the topic in more detail in our dedicated article on how to sell a home with subsidence.

What is subsidence and its signs?

Subsidence is one of the most serious issues for homeowners as its consequences can jeopardise the safety of your home and lead to expensive damage costs.

Knowing the signs of house subsidence will help you to feel safe in your home as you can spot damage and act early. So find out everything you need to know about subsidence, including signs of subsidence, the risks involved and how to prevent and fix the problem.

  • What is subsidence?
  • Signs of subsidence
  • What causes subsidence
  • Subsidence risks
  • How to treat and prevent subsidence
  • How to fix subsidence

What is subsidence

Subsidence is a severe problem caused by the ground under your property sinking. This means the foundations of your home can become unbalanced, moving the walls and floors of the house from their original groundwork, and leading to cracks and destabilisation of your house. 

Other issues such as a landslip, heave or settlement also cause the property’s foundation to shift and are often mistaken for a subsidence issue. Make sure you know when to act and take appropriate preventative measures:

What is heave?

Heave causes the ground below the property to shift upwards, resulting in the walls, floor and foundation of the property shifting upwards too.

What is landslip?

For houses that are built on a slope or near a slope, a landslip occurs as a sideways movement from underneath the house.

What is settlement?

Settlement is the downward movement of a property due to the excessive weight of the building forcing compression of the soil underneath it. If you’ve heard of a similar issue and wondered what is compaction, this is another name for a settlement issue.

There are many visible signs of subsidence to look out for inside and outside the house, which may indicate the severity of the problem. Common indicators such as cracks in the home are often mistaken as early signs of subsidence. Whilst cracks are indeed among the typical signs of subsidence, they can usually be caused by natural shrinkage and swelling according to the changes in weather and humidity levels.

You will know whether a crack is caused by subsidence if you notice the following:

  • The crack is more than 3mm thick (thicker than a 10p coin)
  • A diagonally positioned crack that is wider at the top and slimmer at the bottom 
  • You can see the crack both internally and externally
  • The crack is visible near doors and windows
  • You may notice the crack spread under the damp-proof course (a layer of waterproof material in the wall of a building near the ground, used to prevent rising damp).

Other signs of subsidence may include:

  • Wallpaper creasing at the joins where the wall meets the ceiling 
  • Doors and windows sticking as frames warp
  • Cracks where an extension joins the house

If you do notice some of these subsidence signs, then it is essential to seek advice to tackle the issue as soon as possible.

What causes subsidence

There are many potential causes of subsidence that one should be aware of. Some of the main reasons are:

  • Roots from trees and other shrubs can often cause disturbance to the foundations of the ground beneath the home, causing it to become unstable. However, trees causing subsidence isn’t always the case; not all conditions where a tree grows near a house will trigger a subsistence issue. 
  • Clay soil is also another potential cause of subsidence. The consistency of clay soil changes depending on the weather, which means in dry weather, it will crack and shift, whilst in wet weather, the soil will swell. Clay shrinkage can cause subsidence as it can result in the foundations of the house becoming unstable and potentially sinking.
  • Subsidence caused by drains can happen when leaking drains soften and moisten the ground surrounding the property, causing it to destabilise and sink because the ground under may not be able to hold its weight of it due to the ground becoming unstable.

Subsidence risks

Depending on an array of factors like how old the property is and surrounding conditions, there are types of houses and buildings that are more at risk of subsidence than others. To know whether your home is at risk, it’s good to investigate the factors that contribute to what makes a higher subsidence risk property:

  • How old the property is: In older properties the foundations may be shallower due to the weight of the property being on the same ground for an extended period and increase subsidence risk.
  • Property built on clay soil: Clay soil can change drastically depending on the weather, this fluctuation can cause the property ground to become unstable and potentially sink lower.
  • If the area you live in is prone to drought: dried-out soil can increase your subsidence risk. This is due to dry soil potentially cracking and shifting, causing the ground to destabilise.

How to treat and prevent subsidence

Now that you are aware of what subsidence is, you may be wondering how to prevent subsidence or how to treat subsidence.

  • Before planting a tree around your property, ensure that you have checked what type of root system the tree has. It is not recommended to plant any trees or scrubs in close proximity to your house and this useful table from The Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows how far away each tree type should be.
  • You can prevent existing trees on your property from absorbing less water by regularly pruning them, however, if it seems to be a deeply rooted issue, it is best to get it checked by a tree surgeon.
  • Ensure your property is regularly getting maintenance checks to avoid any internal and external leakage.

How to fix subsidence

Whether you’re a homeowner or looking to buy a property with a suspected subsidence issue, you need to find a long-term subsidence repair solution. Fixing a subsidence issue for good is expensive but it can be done by a professional for each type of subsidence issue:

  • Underpinning
  • Tree removal
  • Pipework

Contact your insurer as soon as possible to arrange a survey if you suspect subsidence and find the right solution. If you’re looking for subsidence insurance, you’ll be pleased to know that with AXA buildings insurance, you will be fully covered against cases of subsidence and heave, subject to terms, conditions & exclusions, for more details, take a look at your policy wording.

While finding a fix for subsidence isn’t quick and easy, we’re here to help with any questions on home subsidence insurance. At AXA, we’re ready to guide you in understanding the process of making a subsidence insurance claim:

How much does subsidence devalue a property?

Unfortunately, a property’s subsidence problem can decrease its value by around 20%. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell, the risks of ignoring the issue outweigh the money saved.

Does building insurance cover subsidence?

AXA building insurance covers damage from subsidence with some exclusions. If the issue is a result of construction, demolition, or flaws in the building process you may not be covered.  To find out more about insurance for a property with subsidence, look at AXA insurance policy details.

How long do you have to declare subsidence?

Although there is no given timeline or limit on how long you must declare subsidence, you must inform estate agents and buyers.

Making a subsidence claim

If the claim in an emergency, then you should call our emergency helpline on 0330 024 8086.

If the claim isn’t urgent, you can register the claim online. Just fill out a quick form, and we will aim to be in touch within 24 working hours to discuss the next steps.

If you register your claim on a weekend, you’ll receive a follow-up call on Monday.

What are the claiming guidelines

AXA is committed to ensuring making a claim is stress-free. Registering your claim online with AXA home insurance is a quick and easy process.

Whilst some preventative measures may help to reduce your risk of subsidence, it is best to seek structural support from a professional to ensure the issue is dealt with from the ground up.

Shrinkage of a new building. How long can it last.

  • What is shrinkage and slump
  • What does a shrink house mean
  • How old is the house shrinking
    • Monolithic house
    • Panel house
    • Brick house
  • How to deal with shrinkage
  • What repair is better to do in an apartment in a new building
    • What if I want a designer renovation

Any new building decreases in size in a few years. Source:

What is shrinkage and settling

Often these terms are confused: they are similar in sound and meaning, both refer to the field of building construction. Meanwhile, they reflect different physical phenomena.

Shrinkage is the process of reducing the size of structures due to the evaporation of moisture. After all, water occupies a significant volume of many building mixtures and materials. To a greater extent, this phenomenon is relevant for cement and concrete, but it is also noticeable in wood structures.

The process of shrinkage can be clearly seen in today’s popular children’s toy – a dinosaur egg. The bottom line is that a small monster made of soft but dense porous material is hidden in an “egg” made of fragile material. If you put it in water, then after a while the toy will begin to increase in size until it breaks the shell.

But if the grown dinosaur is left on the windowsill under the sun, then the absorbed moisture will begin to evaporate. In this case, the toy will again become small, that is, it will “shrink”.

Settling is the process of sinking a building into the ground due to gravity. Obviously, any house has a lot of weight and creates significant pressure on the ground. Any soil is heterogeneous, it has voids that can compress.

Depending on the type of soil (sand, clay, stones), the settlement of the building will vary. This phenomenon is more dangerous, since it is more destructive for the walls and ceilings of the building in case of uneven distribution of the load.

Foundation shrinkage has a similar effect. Thanks to the same evaporation of moisture from concrete, the house becomes lower, but this process is easier to predict.

There is another important difference. Shrinkage cannot be avoided, structures will shrink to a certain limit, regardless of how competent the architect planned the construction. Draft can be reduced to almost zero.

SNiP in construction – what is it

What does a house under shrinkage mean? But most of us are not builders. So what is this information for the owner of the apartment?

Understanding shrinkage is important for people who are considering buying a new build home.

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Do you want to get a mortgage, but your head is spinning from different conditions, documents, interest rates? Sovcombank provides a loan on the most favorable terms. Mortgage programs will help people with different needs and financial capabilities buy a dream apartment. A simple system of paperwork and ample opportunities will make the dream closer.

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So, it is new houses that are most susceptible to deformation. Over time, this process slows down and stops after a few years.

The specific period of shrinkage of a new building depends on the type of building, more precisely on the materials used and construction technology. We will consider only multi-storey residential buildings, since for them the problem of deformation is most relevant.

There are three main types of such buildings: brick, monolithic and panel. Each type has its pros and cons and shrinks differently.

How many years the house has been shrinking

This period depends on many factors. First of all, from what materials the building was erected. Below we will dwell on this issue in more detail.

The second most important is the density of the soil – the softer it is, the longer the house will sink and deform.

Typically, builders consider shrinkage complete if the height of the building has changed by less than 1 mm in a year.

Monolithic house

The walls of such buildings are a metal frame filled with concrete. Such houses are light and durable. They are warm enough, since the walls and corners are solid, which means there is much less freedom for a draft. But soundproofing often leaves much to be desired.

Shrinkage of a monolithic house is the fastest. It usually takes one to two years. Moreover, a year after the construction, the deformation processes are largely over, so the owners of the apartments can begin a thorough repair.

In the process of shrinkage, a monolithic building shrinks by an average of 2 cm. Vertical and horizontal plates are fastened together with reinforcement, and the joints are covered with cement. Building a panel house is easier and faster than others. However, apartments in such a building are less comfortable for life. And the shrinkage of the house makes an additional contribution to the overall negative if mistakes are made during the design or construction.

This may look like the result of an architect or builder’s mistake. Source:

During non-uniform deformation of structures, the joints between the plates may separate. As a result, real holes are formed (usually hidden from view by the outer lining), through which the wind penetrates inside.

Panel house shrinkage takes two to three years. During this period, it is not recommended to make major repairs to the apartment.

Brick house

Brick is the optimal building material. The walls of it have excellent heat and sound insulation. And the technology of erecting buildings, as in the case of a monolith, allows you to create structures of non-standard shape.

However, brick houses are the heaviest. Therefore, in comparison with other types of buildings, they give both the greatest draft and the greatest shrinkage. Each horizontal cement joint between rows of bricks, losing moisture, shrinks by tenths of a millimeter. But since there are more than one hundred such rows, the total shrinkage of the brickwork is several centimeters.

In addition, brick houses put much more pressure on the foundation. If there are voids under it, then the building may begin to settle unevenly. In this case, diagonal cracks often form on the facades. However, this does not mean that the house can collapse. If the crack width is less than 2 mm, then there is no threat.

How to deal with shrinkage

It is impossible to prevent this natural process, but you can minimize its negative impact. The most common and effective technology is the creation of expansion joints on the building body.

They allow you to localize the displacement of individual structures without transferring the deforming stress to neighboring ones. In this case, a monolithic piece of concrete ceases to be homogeneous. In general, the design becomes more elastic, which means it is stronger.

Expansion joints are especially important in earthquake-prone areas. With the help of them, builders minimize the destructive impact of earthquakes. They are called anti-seismic.

Expansion joints allow you to level the thermal expansion and contraction of structures in areas with a strong temperature difference.

What repair is better to do in an apartment in a new building

As we have already found out, the process of shrinkage of a new building lasts several years. While he is walking, the interior of your apartment may suddenly change.

Yulia has just purchased an apartment on the second floor of a new monolithic high-rise building. She was so eager to create a cozy nest that even before receiving the keys, she hired a repair team.

Three months after putting the house into operation, Yulia moved into her dream apartment with designer renovation. But after the first winter, the house suffered serious shrinkage. As a result, expensive ceramic tiles in the bathroom, laid in a seamless way, fell off and broke in several places. The floor under the laminate in the living room began to creak from the fact that the screed burst, and the stucco molding along the perimeter of the ceiling cracked.

If you don’t want to end up in a similar situation, you should plan your renovations in your new home more carefully and take into account all factors.

You should not immediately take on designer repairs in a new building. Source:

Thus, the walls of apartments on the lower floors are subject to the greatest deformation – they are pressed by the weight of the entire structure from above. In addition, in cold winters, unevaporated moisture freezes, while increasing in volume. If the technology for preparing the mixture has been violated, then microcracks may form in the concrete monolith.

Experienced builders advise to make inexpensive repairs in apartments before the completion of house shrinkage. For the first two or three years, it is better to do without ceramic tiles, stucco and decorative painting. It is advisable to paste over the walls with elastic non-woven wallpaper, and lay linoleum or an inexpensive laminate on the floor.

How I did repairs for 500 thousand and I didn’t have enough money

What to do if I want a designer renovation

If you still can’t wait to create a “work of art” from your apartment, then you should use high-quality building materials and finishing elements. But keep in mind that even in this case no one will give you guarantees. After all, such solutions can only compensate for a slight shrinkage of structures. And no one is immune from mistakes during construction.

Yes, such repairs will be more expensive. But for the holders of the universal Halva card, this factor is only in tenth place in importance.

The cost of building materials during repairs is always quite significant. But there is a great way to reduce the load on your wallet. With the “Halva” card, you can purchase any goods in repair shops – partners of Halva – in interest-free installments for up to 10 months. In addition, with Halva you can take out a consumer loan for any need.

Learn more

So, what are the possible solutions.

  1. Use an acrylic-based flexible plaster. It has a “rubber” effect. You can additionally strengthen the walls with a reinforcing facade mesh.
  2. Ceramic tiles should not be laid adjacent to each other. Seams can be covered with sealant.
  3. Use quality non-woven wallpaper or silicone (acrylic) paint on the walls.
  4. Stretch ceilings or plasterboard sheathing. In this case, the hinged structure should be separated from the walls with special damper tapes. It is better to use thick 12 mm plasterboards, they will be less deformed.
  5. Isolate the flooring monolith of different rooms from each other. To do this, they are separated by expansion joints. In addition, the floor screed should not touch the walls. When pouring, you need to install a removable formwork.

We hope that the tips in this article have been useful to you and the new apartment will bring only joy and harmony in your soul.

how to make sure and keep repairs in a new building.

The joy of a freshly made renovation in a new building can easily be overshadowed by the shrinkage of the house…or the draft. Let’s work together to find a solution to this difficult problem.

Shrinkage refers to a change in the volume of the material, such as shrinkage. The settlement, at which the foundation also subsides, is the lowering of the structure. The latter depends on the type of soil, the size and construction of the building, its foundation, the load on each floor below and then the foundation. Both are natural processes that can lead to sad consequences in the form of cracks, falling off plaster, bevels, sagging of door frames. Especially if the technology was violated during construction and mistakes were made. For example, before starting work, the surveyor must assess the soil, depending on which the main material for construction will be selected.

Many experts advise to wait at least a year (preferably more) with expensive repairs to see how the house reacts to the change of seasons and climate. Winter will show how frost affects materials, and spring will show whether the soil is eroded, how strongly and evenly the house settles. The monolithic house “sits down” most evenly, as it does this with the whole structure, but only if it is built correctly. A special cushion to the monolithic foundation contributes to smooth subsidence. In a panel building, the foundation is lowered and the slabs themselves are displaced, gaps can form in the joints between them. A brick house strongly and unevenly settles under its own weight, which, according to experts, lasts from 3 to 6 years.

On average, the process of precipitation lasts 2-3 years, but can reach 5 or even 10 years. This happens, for example, with clay soil, the heavy weight of the building or errors in construction. Shrinkage of 1-2 mm is no longer terrible, and when the house settles by less than 1 mm per year, the process is considered complete. The very peak falls on the first year and the moment of completion of repair work – the house is still “gaining weight”. At the same time, deformations on the lower floors are likely to be more significant.

What are the options?

Wait a couple of years and let the new building “settle”, and then just move in.

Move into a new building and make inexpensive repairs. In this case, you will have to abandon the tiles, use easily removable linoleum and laminate on the floor, and thick wallpaper, paint or panels on the walls (for example, in the bathroom). It is not worth much effort to put a lot of effort into the rough finish if it is deformed anyway.

There is a third option – the use of flexible materials and repairs, taking into account the subsidence of the house. To minimize the risks, invite competent finishing specialists and use high-quality building materials. Be careful: unscrupulous craftsmen often attribute the results of poor-quality repairs to settlement or shrinkage of the house.

Professionals suggest the use of special, in particular, flexible materials for rough and fine finishing.

There are wallcoverings that are resistant to shrinkage. First of all, elastic plaster – durable, suitable for interior and exterior decoration, applied to any base, prevents moisture from accumulating. Rubber paint is also a completely flexible material; other thick-layer elastic materials are applied to hide existing defects. Some advise instead of plastering to simply lay mineral wool and level the wall with drywall.

When facing walls and installing plasterboard partitions, the frame is isolated from the supporting structures with a special elastic tape, which provides structural flexibility and contributes to sound insulation. Unfortunately, many finishers do not know how to properly make joints in an apartment: they install internal partitions without an expansion joint. If possible, it is better to follow this.

Mosaic or vinyl tiles are suitable for wall decoration. Wallpaper – flexible stone, vinyl or non-woven, as they are more tear-resistant. Before painting the walls, it is highly recommended to first stick the so-called gossamer cullet, which prevents the appearance of microcracks. It is better to refuse ceramic tiles, but if it does not work out, it is worth filling the seams between the tiles in the corners with elastic sealant, where deformations are likely.

The best overhead solution is fabric stretch or slatted ceilings instead of artistic plaster. Stretch ones are advised to be glued with a mesh or filled with mounting foam. Another option is a suspended “floating” ceiling, but its metal frame should not be rigidly fastened to the walls.

“Floating” structures are also invented for the floor.