Ground Heave

Ground Heave can destabilise your home

The term Ground Heave is used by Building Surveyors to denote an swelling of the soil beneath a structure. It is essentially the opposite of subsidence, however it has its own unique causes and solutions. It can cause serious destabilisation of the structure. Usually, Ground Heave is caused by: 

  • The removal of long standing trees or other vegetation. Trees, as they drink, drain water away from the soil. If a tree pre-dates the house, its removal can cause (particularly clay) soil to rehydrate and the level of the ground to rise above the level intended for the property.
  • A leaking drain. If soils are dehydrated and the suddenly a leaking drain floods them, this can cause a similar expansion.

How to identify Ground Heave

It is difficult to recognise any structural movement problems early. However, it can be done and can save you thousands.  

  • Many homes develop superficial cracks in the brick work. If you notice several of these appear in a short space of time then you should investigate further. Cracks that are more than 3mm wide should be treated with urgency.
  • You should also seek assistance from a Structural Engineer if you notice wallpaper rippling or doors suddenly sticking in their frames.

Fixing Ground Heave

Fixing ground heave can take years. The cause of the problem must be identified and removed. Then the ground must be given an opportunity to revert to its previous state. This could necessitate building more drainage, or planting new trees.