Grout vs. Underpinning in Florida – Which is Right for You?
Florida Sinkhole Repair Methods
Sinkholes are a major issue for homeowners in Florida. If a sinkhole opens beneath or around your foundation, it could cause serious structural damage to your home, and may lead to foundation sinking or settlement. Not only are they a danger to you and your family, but sinkholes also lower the value of your home significantly. It is important to have sinkholes stabilized and any damage they may have caused repaired as soon as possible. Sinkhole remediation and foundation repair are complicated procedures, and should not be attempted by anyone other than an experienced professional. The foundation repair team at Foundation Professionals of Florida has the necessary expertise and equipment to make sure that your sinkhole issues vanish forever.
To decide which method of sinkhole repair is best for you, it is important to understand how sinkholes are formed. There are a few different ways that these voids can open up. Often, the underlying cause of a sinkhole is varying moisture content in the soil. When groundwater flows through certain soils, especially limestone, carbonates, and other dissolved rocks that are commonly found in the soil in Florida, it tends to erode them, leaving behind underground voids. If the roof of these voids collapses, the land above and anything resting on it collapses as well. Sometimes, this happens gradually; other times, the sinkhole will give way unexpectedly. This is often the case when there is water filling the underground void and dry, drought-like conditions cause the water to dry up, leaving the ground above the void without anything to support it.
Benefits of Choosing Grouting for Sinkhole Repair in Florida
One of the most common and most effective ways to stabilize and repair a sinkhole is with a process called grouting. This process is used to fill the void and prevent it from collapsing further by stabilizing the soil. There are two types of grouting: chemical grouting, and cement grouting.
Chemical Grouting: This is a void filling method in which a resin such as polyurethane foam is injected to fill the void and support the foundation above. This method is often used in shallow soils and to fill voids that have opened up beneath slab foundations. Once injected, the polyurethane foam expands to fill the void completely, binding the soil together to provide extra support for the foundation on top. As it expands, the foam lifts the slab to its original position, correcting issues that were caused by a settling or uneven slab, and fills the sinkhole or void at the same time. There are several different types of chemical grouting that exert different amounts of pressure and have varying levels of foam expansion. Foundation Professionals of Florida can help you decide which is best for you.
Cement Grouting: This is usually referred to as compaction grouting or low-mobility grouting. In cement grouting, a cement-based grout is pumped into the ground through steel casings. The durability of the cement allows this method to be used for deep void filling at a high pressure, although it can also be used in shallower soils at a lower pressure and with a wetter cement mixture. Cement grouting is commonly used to fill large sinkholes, as it makes the soil more dense and seals the limestone surfaces, providing great support for the structure above.
Advantages of Underpinning for Florida Sinkhole Repair
Underpinning is a very common foundation repair method that utilizes steel piers to lift and stabilize settling foundations. It can be used to repair nearly every type of foundation issue, including cracks in the slab or in the walls, uneven floors, sticking windows or doors, and foundation leaks. The first step in the underpinning process is to drive a steel foundation pier, such as a steel push pier or helical pier into the ground beneath the void. The pier is installed deep underground until it anchors in the stable soils beneath the shifting top layers. Then, the weight of the structure can be transferred onto the pier so that it can lift and stabilize the foundation.The job site is then cleaned up and the equipment hauled away.
Installing one or more foundation piers beneath your foundation can solve several foundation problems and will prevent further foundation failure. Although it does not repair the actual sinkhole, it can be a suitable solution for many Florida homeowners dealing with sinkholes. The advantages of underpinning include:
- Products are easy to install
- Immediate load transfer
- Little to no disruption at job site
- Can be installed in all weather
- Installs underneath active soils
- Prevents further issue
Depending on the severity and nature of your sinkhole, professionals may suggest one or both of the solutions listed above. In most cases, either grouting or underpinning will get the job done. Sometimes, however, both underpinning and grouting methods are used to repair the foundation and fill the sinkhole, offering extra support for the future. Whatever type of sinkhole you have, contact the experts at Foundation Professionals of Florida today. We are your Florida sinkhole experts.