How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured 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

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

"What Are The

Signs Of..."

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests



When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes


Shingle Roofs




Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home


Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."




Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs


Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants


Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil





Exterior Walls

& Structures


Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers



Doors and Windows



Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps


Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.






Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size


Electrical Switches





Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete


Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About McGarry and Madsen



Buying a home in North/Central Florida? Check our price for a  team inspection by two FL-licensed contractors and inspectors. Over 8,500 inspections completed in 20+ years. In a hurry? We will get it done for you.

Moisture Problems

Crawl Spaces