How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What are the warning signs of a sinkhole?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Here’s the top seven sinkhole warning signs:

1) Freshly exposed vertical surfaces at ground level - Because houses and fences are normally painted down to the ground level, areas of unpainted surface near the ground that were not previously visible can mean soil subsidence. 


2) Leaning or sagging concrete slabs, fence posts, trees or sheds 

3) Cracks in the house walls, floors, or driveway - Minor cracks can occur from normal settlement but, if  they continue to open further andyou can stick two side-by-side quarters into  the crack or multiple cracks are happening, it’s serious.


4) Doors or windows that are jammed - Settlement can also cause window glass to shatter.

5) Ponding areas - Look carefully at any area of standing water after a rainfall, if water did not previously collect there, for evidence of a depression developing in the ground.

6) Sediment in nearby well - Also called “turbidity,” cloudy well water can be an indication of an underground disturbance.

7) Wilting of a small, circular area of grass or foliage - This can be caused by drainage into a sinkhole below of water that normally supports the vegetation above it.

   Any of these indications do not automatically mean there is a sinkhole developing on your property. The slumping of an area of ground around or under a house can be caused by other unrelated issues such as roof rainwater runoff concentrated in a small area, decay of large underground roots from a removed tree or land-clearing debris that was buried when the house was built, leaking water pipes or drain pipes, a leaking swimming pool, or an underlying  layer of clay soil. But any indication of a significant change in the ground surface or multiple signs that are more subtle warrant further evaluation by a qualified professional.

    Also, see our blog post What is my chance of buying a Florida home over a sinkhole?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about SINKHOLES:

Why do so many more sinkholes open up after a hurricane?

What can I do if the insurance company denies my claim for a sinkhole loss in Florida? 

When are sinkholes most likely to occur?

What is a chimney sinkhole? 

What causes sinkholes? 


How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole?   

• How does a repaired sink hole under a house affect its market value?

• Where are sinkholes most likely to occur in Florida?  

Are there sinkholes in The Villages, Florida?

• Are sinkholes happening more often? 

What are the basic facts about sinkholes? 
  
• Does homeowners insurance in Florida include coverage for sinkhole damage? 

Should I be concerned about an old sinkhole on a property?

• Should I be concerned about my house if a sinkhole opens in my neighbor's yard? 

What are the Florida law regarding sinkhole insurance?

Can a home inspector determine if there are any sinkholes on a property?

Is it safe to buy a house with sinkhole foundation repair?

How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil? 

    Visit our SITE and SINKHOLES pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

Top graphic - University of Florida


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