Sinkholes on your property only get worse over time. It's imperative that you seek help and begin repairs once you detect a sinkhole. A sinkhole is part of a gradual process of erosion under the ground that occurs over thousands of years. Sinkholes happen when the rock below the land surface -- limestone, carbonate rock or salt beds -- is surrounded by ground water and, in turn, is allowed to circulate through the rocks. Whether big or small, a sinkhole can be controlled with a quick response and the right method.
Things You'll Need
- Warning or caution tape
- Sand or dirt
- Insurance information
Locate any cracks on the exterior of the property. The "stairstep" crack is common when the foundation's capacity to hold the structure is failing. Pavement cracks are also an indicator, as are roof cracks and roof line sags and dips.
Examine interior walls. Sinkhole cracks usually show up in the walls where windows or doors are present. Look for ceiling and wall separations.
Find any physical holes in your yard. These depressions can come in any shape and size and should not be confused with a gopher hole, for example. Sometimes these sinkholes are obvious and other times only a professional eye can tell what is happening.
Notice small ponds or rainfall developing where water has never been collected before.
Controlling the sinkhole
Mark the sinkhole. Secure the sinkhole by using warning tape to block off the area. Rope or a fence work; however, bright-colored warning tape from your local home store alerts people to danger.
Fill a small hole with sand or dirt using your shovel. Pack tightly. Monitor the hole regularly to see if it grows.
Contact your homeowner's insurance company if the hole is large. A claims adjuster will come to the property to assess the hole. If she determines it is a sinkhole, you'll meet with a geo-technical engineer who will perform a test boring, which is a drilling process to determine the nature of the yard's soil. Repair arrangements will be made if the test is positive for a sinkhole.