Soil subsidence can cause significant damage to buildings, roads, and other infrastructure, leading to costly repairs and potential safety hazards. Understanding the common causes of soil subsidence is essential for preventing and mitigating this problem. In this article, we will explore some of the most prevalent factors that contribute to soil subsidence, including natural processes and human activities.

What is Land Subsidence?

The extraction of groundwater, oil, natural gas, or minerals through pumping, fracking, underground mining, bad foundation, and others causes subsidence, which is the sinking of the ground due to the movement of materials below the surface. What are the most common causes of soil subsidence?

Causes of Soil Subsidence

Both huge regions, such as entire states or provinces, and small regions, such as a yard corner, are susceptible to subsidence. Subsidence of the soil can be attributed to two basic factors:

Natural Causes

Tectonic activity, changes in groundwater levels, and soil layer compaction are all potential natural causes of soil subsidence. To some extent, soil collapse can also be attributed to changes in groundwater extraction levels. The most common natural causes are:

Repeated Soil Expansion and Contraction

Soil expansion and contraction due to weather conditions (such as heat, cold, rain, and sun) can weaken or even destroy a house’s foundation. Soil expansion and contraction due to temperature fluctuations can weaken or even crack foundations.

Tree Roots

Subsidence is typically caused by tree roots, namely those of willows, elms, ashes, and oaks. When you plant trees too close to your house, their roots will draw water and nutrients out of the earth, causing the soil around your foundation to dry out, decline, and crack.


During an earthquake, land subsidence can happen in a number of ways. During an earthquake, offset along fault lines can cause large portions of land to sink dramatically. Earthquake shaking can also cause land subsidence through the settling and compacting of unconsolidated sediment.

Erosion (Soil Decomposition)

Erosion occurs when wind or water carries dirt or rocks over a long distance. Sediments encompass all of these components. When sediments are deposited, or dumped, in a new location after erosion, this process is known as deposition. The Earth’s surface constantly evolves as a result of these processes.

Man-Made Factors

Man-made factors are constantly a cause of soil subsidence. The most common are:

Vibration Caused From Traffic or Construction

When a vehicle or bus drives over a divot in the road, vibrations are produced. These waves travel through the ground and shake the bases of nearby structures, including homes.

Water Leaks From Gutters, Drains, and Sewer Pipes

Many people are startled to learn that excess moisture in the soil beneath and all around a building’s foundation is a leading cause of structural issues. Waterlogged soil causes movement of the foundation, which in turn causes damage to the structure’s underpinnings.

Improper Ground Preparation During Construction

Site preparation is required before any building can commence. This may involve excavating, leveling, demolishing, and more to prepare the site for development. Because of its significance, the site preparation phase of a building project requires careful attention to detail. If ground preparation is improperly made, then soil subsidence might be a thing to worry about in the future. It can also be done when doing the drainage of organic soils for agricultural purposes.

Common Signs of Soil Subsidence

The following are the most common signs of soil subsidence:

Sinking or Sloping Floors

Sloping floors may be an indication of serious foundational damage, bent floor joists, or water damage needing foundation repair. Although uneven flooring is one of the most obvious indications that a property has serious structural or foundation issues, they are not necessarily a cause for alarm.

Cracks in Walls, Paths, and Driveways

You can find diagonal cracks on the inside and outside of brick walls, and they can also be found where an addition joins the house. Cracks can be 3mm wide or bigger, wider at the top than at the bottom, and found near windows and doors. Also, you can find them after long stretches of dry weather, and they can spread quickly over walls, paths, and driveways.

Misaligned Windows

The uneven foundation is the cause of the misaligned doors and windows, regardless of the age of the structure. Gaps around your windows and doors, or the inability to close them completely, are classic signs of soil subsidence.

Puddles Forming Around The Perimeter of Your House

Two major causes of puddles and pools of water in the yard are low places and soil that doesn’t drain well. Another issue is lawn thatch, the coating of decaying grass parts and soil that develops over time. Poor drainage can also be caused by compacted soil caused by high volumes of foot traffic.

By calling Xpert Foundation to address your soil subsidence problems, you can rest assured that you’re partnering with a team of experienced professionals who will work diligently to identify the root cause of the issue and implement effective solutions! Don’t let soil subsidence compromise your property’s structural integrity or value.