‘Could cost thousands to fix’: Phil Spencer shares signs your home could have subsidence

Phil Spencer details typical signs of property subsidence

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TV property expert Phil Spencer has shared several signs a house could have subsidence. The presenter, and co-founder of Move iQ, often shares his tips and advice on the Move iQ YouTube channel. Phil said subsidence can cost “thousands” or “tens of thousands” to fix and can ruin a potential sale.

He said it’s crucial for homeowners to spot the signs early.

Phil explained that subsidence happens when a property sinks unevenly into the ground because the foundations have become unstable.

He said preventative maintenance is key to keeping it at bay.

He continued: “Causes of subsidence include things like clay soil shrinking and cracking and dry weather, disused mines or other excavations under a property.

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“Vibrations through the ground from things like train lines; trees causing soil to shrink when the root extracts water; and leaking or damaged drains underground.

“Cracks in brickwork are the most obvious sign but don’t jump to conclusions if you suddenly spot one.

“They can appear as a house shrinks and swells with changes in temperature.”

Minor cracks happen anyway in the plaster. So if you have a new build home or it’s been freshly painted and we see cracks in those it’s known as settling and not really anything to worry about.

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What do subsidence cracks look like?

Subsidence cracks are usually wider than three millimetres so you should be able to get a credit card in the crack.

They’re visible from both inside and out and importantly they are diagonal and go through bricks rather than following the line of mortar in between the bricks.

They are often found near doors and windows where and extensions been added or where the load-bearing of a house has been altered in some way in the past.

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Phil said to “watch cracks and other warning signs”.

He also urged homeowners to “take action” if signs of subsidence worsen and to alert your insurance company.

“The sooner it’s fixed, the less damage will be done to the property,” he added.

Subsidence can be fixed but it’s usually a long process.

When a property has to be underpinned (strengthening the foundations of a building to make it more secure) to fix subsidence, it can cost anywhere from £1,500 to £12,500.

If a property has subsidence, it can devalue a property.

Depending on the severity of the subsidence, it could devalue a property by as much as 20 percent.

Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It airs tonight at 8pm on Channel 4

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