How to Fix a Sinkhole

How to Fix a Sinkhole

A sinkhole is a depression that appears on the earth’s surface in areas that have karst terrain, or ground in which there is a lot of limestone and similarly soluble rocks that dissolve during rainfall, weakening the soil structure and allowing the surface above to sink down. Knowing the proper steps for sinkhole repair will allow you to act swiftly when you notice one so you can work to prevent further damage to your property.

How Sinkholes Appear

There are two different types of sinkholes, and knowing the difference between them helps you determine what course of action you need to take to keep yourself and those around you safe from injury. This information will also help you decide if you can fix the sinkhole yourself or if you should reach out to a professional. Calling an expert to fill a sinkhole will always be the best option for long-term repair and guaranteed prevention.

The first type of sinkhole is called a cover-subsidence hole, and it occurs when water from rainfall permeates the soil and dissolves underground limestone. If the ground surface is covered by thick sediment, the void arising from the dissolution of the rock will gradually fill with that material, creating a circular depression on the surface.

The second type is called a cover-collapse hole, and it’s by far the worse of the two because they happen abruptly and have the potential to cause significant damage and injury. This type of sinkhole develops as a result of heavy rainfall or prolonged drought that weakens the ground structure, allowing it to collapse rapidly when under sufficient stress. Cover-collapse sinkholes are highly dangerous because they can be large enough to swallow entire buildings.

How to Repair a Sinkhole

How to Repair a Sinkhole

Before deciding how to fill a sinkhole in your yard or other area, it’s important to determine whether it’s safe to do so. Sinkholes can get worse over time, and the deeper one becomes, the more dangerous it can be to try to do repair work in or near it. As a general rule, you should never attempt to enter or fix a sinkhole that is chest-deep — these holes can be very unstable and have the potential for further collapse.

If you have monitored the damage and determined that the depression hasn’t gotten any deeper over time, you can follow these steps to fill the sinkhole:

  1. Excavate the hole until you hit bedrock underneath.
  2. Fill the hole with a layer of large stones.
  3. Add a layer of medium rocks to fill the gaps in the larger pieces.
  4. Add a layer of gravel to help strengthen the stability of the structure.
  5. Use a layer of geotextile fabric to cover the gravel.
  6. Cover with a layer of coarse sand.
  7. Use soil to fill the remaining space, taking care to match the profile of the sand surrounding it as closely as possible.

These measures should help you fill small sinkholes safely and prevent future recurrences that could result in property damage or personal injury.

When to Call for Professional Sinkhole Repair

If you believe the hole is still unstable or if it has affected the foundation of your home in any way, the best course of action is reaching out to professional structural engineers. They will conduct a thorough inspection of the existing damage and assess whether the hole is still an active danger. How much it costs to fill the sinkhole will vary based on its size and proximity to nearby structures.

A professional will be able to seal any space in the hole where more water can enter and potentially worsen the degree of collapse. They will then fill the damaged area with grout, gravel, rock and any other materials required to prevent recurrences. They will also stabilize the soil by using compaction grout to ensure they fill any voids and establish sufficient density to avoid future collapse.

Though it may be tempting to try to fill the sinkhole yourself, calling an expert will always be the best move to make sure the underlying issue is resolved safely and permanently.

We Are Your Sinkhole Professionals

The team at Union Quarries is your answer for sinkhole repair in the central Pennsylvania area. We have operated in this region for over 60 years, so we know exactly how to deal with its karst terrain and provide lasting solutions. Contact us today for our sinkhole repair services and take the first step to keeping your property and everyone on it safe.

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