You often hear horror stories of the ground opening up around a Florida home. Unfortunately, sinkholes are a common problem in our state. The ground in Florida is full of limestone, which is highly soluble in water.
Rainfalls in Florida eat away at the ground and create voids. Eventually, the ground above collapses into these cavities, thus forming a sinkhole. Sinkholes can be man-made, too.
Sinkholes can occur after heavy downpours or flooding, as well. Due to unpredictable rain patterns and a rapidly growing population, Florida’s sinkholes are frequent and hazardous.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SINKHOLE DEVELOPMENT?
The signs that a sinkhole may be developing are similar to other common signs of foundation failure. If you catch a developing sinkhole before it collapses, you can save yourself a world of trouble. Keep an eye out for the following issues:
Cracks – Every home impacted by sinkhole activity shows cracking. The cracks will be in the walls, floors, or ceiling, either on the interior or exterior of the house.
Sloping Floors – Sinkhole activity causes one part of your home to sink or drop slightly lower than the other part.
Floor Cracks – Floor tiles are often the first part of a home to show sinkhole activity. Tiles that become loose or pop up can be a sign of sinkhole activity.
Interior Wall Separation – Look for interior walls separating from the ceiling.
Window and Door Frame Cracks – Cracks in the corner areas of doors or window frames indicate that this area is structurally weak.
Nail Popping – If drywall nails are popping out or pushing through, it could be a sign of sinkhole activity.
Sticking Doors and Windows – Trouble opening and closing doors and windows could signify sinkhole activity.
Higher Water and Power Bills – Sinkhole activity can cause a structure to shift. Even a slight shift to the foundation can cause a home to lose some of its energy efficiency.
Ground Surface – If you notice holes, depressions, dead spots, or very soft soil on the ground surface, it could be a sign of sinkhole activity.
Leaning Fence – If you notice that your fence is leaning or dipping, it could be sinkhole activity.
Driveway Cracks – Normal driveways are often level or slightly sloped towards the street. If there is a dramatic slope or patches or holes in it, this may indicate sinkhole activity.
If we can spot a sinkhole before it becomes a real issue, we can take steps to stabilize the soil around the area and prevent any real damage.
What Causes Sinkholes?
Sinkholes are a natural phenomenon that occurs when the earth’s surface layer collapses and creates a hole in the ground. Sinkholes can form for various reasons, including natural geological processes and human activities. One of the most common causes of sinkholes is the erosion of underground limestone or other soluble rocks. This occurs when groundwater gradually dissolves the soluble rock, creating voids and cavities under the earth’s surface layer. Over time, the ground above the cavities can no longer support its weight and collapses, creating sinkholes.
Human activities contributing to sinkhole formation include mining, drilling, and construction. These activities can disturb the earth’s natural balance, causing changes to the soil and rock layers that can lead to sinkholes.
OUR PROFESSIONAL SINKHOLE REPAIR SERVICES IN FLORIDA
Sinkhole Repair Methods
When faced with a sinkhole, there are a couple of possible solutions: compaction grouting and void filling.
Compaction grouting involves injecting polyurethane foam into the soil. The foam expands rapidly and compacts the surrounding soil, increasing its strength and stability. Compaction grouting solidifies the soil around the area and fills the hole, so there’s no longer a danger of collapse.
We also offer void-filling services to repair more serious sinkholes. Here at Foundation Professionals of Florida, we use polyurethane solutions to fill voids and stabilize foundations.
We notice that these solutions last longer than other typical mud-jacking jobs. Our void filling requires just a few tiny holes, so there’s little to no disruption to the installation site.
Can sinkholes be fixed?
Yes, sinkholes can be fixed. One method for fixing sinkholes involves injecting polyurethane foam into the ground to compact and stabilize the soil. This process, known as compaction grouting, improves soil stability. Larger sinkholes can also be fixed using polyurethane foam to fill the voids.
Where do sinkholes happen most often?
Sinkholes occur most often in areas with sedimentary rocks that are particularly susceptible to dissolution, such as limestone and gypsum deposits. In addition, regions with abundant groundwater and significant rainfall are at a higher risk for sinkhole formation. This is because water can seep into the rock layers and erode the underlying soil, creating cavities and voids that eventually cause the surface to collapse.
Sinkholes can also be triggered by human activities, such as underground mining, drilling, and construction, which can alter the natural flow of water and cause instability in the ground.
In the United States, sinkholes are most common in Florida, where the carbonate bedrock is especially prone to dissolution.
If I have a sinkhole, how will I determine how to repair it?
If you suspect a sinkhole on your property, taking action quickly is essential to avoid any potential safety hazards or property damage. The first step in determining the best way to repair a sinkhole is to hire a professional to evaluate the site thoroughly. They will be able to assess the sinkhole’s size, shape, and depth and identify any potential geological or environmental factors that may be contributing to its formation. Once the evaluation is complete, the geologist or engineer can recommend the best course of action for repairing the sinkhole.
It is important to note that attempting to repair a sinkhole without the proper expertise and equipment can be dangerous and may result in further property damage or personal injury. Therefore, it is always recommended to consult a professional before repairs. Additionally, if you live in an area prone to sinkholes, it is wise to have your property regularly checked by a professional to catch any issues early on and prevent them from becoming more severe.
About Foundation Professionals of Florida
Foundation Professionals of Florida has been repairing sinkholes all across the state since 1980. We have an A+ rating with the BBB. Our team is well-trained in all current techniques of sinkhole repair and remediation. We will happily provide you with a permanent sinkhole remediation solution to rectify all damage and prevent any problems for your Florida home. Contact us today for more information!