What is Florida’s Sinkhole Alley and How can You Protect Your Home if You Live There?
What is Sinkhole Alley? Sinkhole Alley is located in the counties of Pasco, Hernando and Hillsborough in the west central area of Florida. It accounts for more than two-thirds of sinkhole insurance claims between 2006 and 2010. According to recent incidents in Florida, sinkholes seem to be occurring more frequent even though they have always been around for millions of years.
Sinkholes can develop quickly or gradually over time. They can form underneath foundations or in yards. Just recently, there was a sinkhole near Disney World that swallowed one-third of a resort villa. The sinkhole was 40 to 50 feet in diameter, producing a large crack at the building’s base. In February 2013, one man died in his home after he was swallowed by a sinkhole. His body was never recovered. Sinkholes are a serious problem that cause costly damage every year in Florida. That’s why Florida’s scientists have started a project to predict when and where sinkhole activity will occur.
What are sinkholes and what are the early sinkhole activity signs in Florida? Sinkholes are depressions in the Florida’s land surface caused by the dissolution of porous limestone and dolostone which is susceptible to sinkhole activity and underground caverns. Acidic groundwater and rainwater break down the rock particles, creating voids in the limestone bedrock. Eventually, the voids get larger and cave in the bedrock. Excessive acidic water dissolves limestone at a faster rate.
There are two common types of sinkholes in the Sinkhole Alley – collapse and solution. Collapse sinkholes are underground cavities that form quickly without warning, typically, in clayey sediments. As the cavity grows, it enlarges to the point where the ceiling becomes weak and collapses. However, solution sinkholes form gradually. They are typically in sandy sediments and vary in size from shallow to water-filled sinkholes.
Signs of Sinkhole Activity in Florida’s Sinkhole Alley
Some sinkholes are obvious, but others can go undetected for months. However, there are common signs to look out for, such as:
- Hard to close windows and doors
- Cracks in the walls, floors, slab or ground surface
- Uneven sloping driveway
- Cracks in the corners of doors and windows
- Shifting lawn
- Fresh soft or spongy spots in the yard
- Sinking yard
- Cracked steps pulling away from the home
- Leaning trees, fences, or other structures
Pay close attention to your neighbor’s home. If your neighbors have a sinking yard, you may need to hire our professionals to assess your home. Homes in a close proximity can be affected as well.
If you suspect sinkhole activity, don’t panic! Take these precautionary steps:
- Call your insurance company.
- Make a claim.
- Hire a professional to inspect your property. The insurance company will either deny or accept the claim.
- After the claim is approved, get the necessary repairs right away before it becomes worse.
Sinkholes are almost impossible to predict when and where they will occur. That’s why it is important to hire our team of sinkhole specialists to inspect your property and look for sinkhole activity. We offer compaction grouting and void filling to stabilize your sinkhole. Compaction grouting will firm up the loose soil to close the hole. It will also increase soil density around your property to prevent future problems. Void filling will fill in the spaces and voids under the slab. This helps prevent sinking and settlement.
Contact Foundation Professionals of Florida, if you need a professional to assess your property. We have the skills and experience to identify any sinkhole activity on your property. We’ll find a solution to your sinkhole problem. We proudly serve Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Virgin Islands and Florida Keys. Call us for a flexible payment option to fit your budget.