What to Do If Our House is Affected by Sinkholes?

While some areas are vulnerable to earthquake, bush fire, flooding or tornado; specific areas in the United States are vulnerable to sinkholes. Florida fascinates many geologists with its expansive and complicated underground karsts system. It is quite possible that our house is damaged by these sinkholes. There are things we can do to quickly identify sinkholes problems”

  • Cracks running in the ceiling, walls and floor
  • Increasingly deeper depressions in the ground
  • New slopes in the floor of our house
  • Doors and windows no longer close and open properly
  • Concrete slab floors buckles and cracks
  • Stair steps begin to crack in some areas
  • The house starts to shift
  • Well is contaminated by debris and dirt
  • There were past incidences of sinkholes in the area

It can be quite expensive living in areas where sinkhole could potentially appear on the ground. It can become a continuous concern, because we will never know when it happens. In some cases, sinkhole isn’t about repairing our house, but abandoning it completely because it can be very dangerous. We may spend more than $100,000 to repair sinkholes and they could keep on appearing. Also, it would be quite difficult to find someone who would purchase our sinkhole affected property.

The cost of repairing sinkholes can be quite astronomical and there could be no insurance company that will agree to cover the costs. In this case, we should make sure to use combined methods, before problems start to compound.

In many cases, the solutions can be quite straightforward. We would need to stay in the property and try to repair it. When the house is free from sinkhole damages and considered safe, we could consider to sell it, although probably at slightly lower prices, because bad things once happened to our house.

Obviously, things won’t be so easy. It will be required by law to disclose any information about our house. The insurance company will also consider our property is a high-risk site. This will cause higher premiums and we can’t hide this fact from prospective sellers. In fact, some areas will be known as sinkhole regions and people will know about it. Smart buyers will have maps of the region to know more about past sinkhole activities. For many homeowners, insurance availability is essential and not many insurers would agree to lower premiums. This is just one of the bitter realities of having a property in sinkhole area.

If possible, we could try to map the karsts cave system underneath our house and this usually correlates with the appearance of sinkholes. If we can prove that the ground under house is completely solid and sinkholes may only appear on the lawn or backyard, then we could probably convince sellers and insurers. Foundations of our house should be strengthened and checked continuously. Any development tasks and home improvement projects in our house should be aimed primarily in detecting signs of upcoming sinkholes and repairing existing damages.

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