Sinkhole Damage: How Is it Repaired?

For over a century, Florida has collected information on sinkholes, underground caves and springs within its borders; however, in the last few decades, the problem of sinkholes has worried homeowners, troubled insurers and prompted new amendments in Florida’s property insurance laws. Starting with Florida’s well-publicized sinkhole incidents in 1981, the controversy has left many home owners seeking answers and remedies to their sinkhole problems.

According to research from the University of Central Florida’s Florida Sinkhole Research Institute, the Sunshine State is riddled with millions of underground cavities created by water erosion. While these cavities have formed over millions of years, a critical event can cause the limestone to collapse.

Sinkholes can result in loss of real property damage to transportation infrastructures and cause ground water contamination. As sinkholes and other ground movement issues can result in denied insurance claims and costly repairs, some property owners have resorted to find alternatives ways of dealing with sinkhole issues.

As there are different types of sinkholes, repair may be possible; however, treating these geological nightmares will vary, because repair will depend on how extensive the problem is.

Small holes may be able to be filled with soil. But, this do-it-yourself method may risk the property owner’s safety if the hole is not properly tested and defined. In cases where the small hole is simply the tip of the iceberg, help from a landscaper, contractor or even an engineering company may be necessary.

For more complex sinkhole issues, sinkhole repair companies may be able to inject grout into the hole to fill the depression. If the potential harm is greater, elaborate systems of pins, plugs and porous concrete can be used to fill the sinkhole. In those cases where ground water may be impacted, property owners will need to obtain an Environmental Resources Permit.

Caveat emptor! Buyers should beware, especially if they are interested in homes in sinkhole-prone Florida. Affecting agricultural and residential areas, sinkholes are a looming geological problem for Floridians. While newswires are filled with stories about homes being deemed uninhabitable, roads collapsing and property being swallowed into deep pits, hope lies in simple methods and skilled professionals, who can fill or fix sinkholes.