Posted in Blog  
  on Oct 26, 2014

How to Fix Sinkholes

Any property can end up having a sinkhole appear somewhere. Sinkholes happen because the bedrock that is supporting the soil collapses. This creates a hole that needs to be repaired. It can happen naturally, but most sinkholes on a property are caused by the rotting stumps that are left behind from cleared trees. Sometimes debris that has been buried may also cause the issue.

A sinkhole can be very small or it could take up a majority of your backyard. It's an immediate safety hazard which needs to be repaired as quickly as possible. The first thing you'll need to do is inspect the sinkhole for debris or tree roots that may have caused the issue. Remove these items as best as you can without getting close to the edge.

You'll Need to Make the Sinkhole Larger

The edges of a sinkhole are generally unstable, so you'll need to stabilize the area before continuing. Working your way around the sinkhole, shovel the outer edges away. You'll want to keep shoveling around the edges until you have solid sod beneath your feet.

Now you're ready to begin filling in the sinkhole. Use a few inches of soil to create your initial new foundation. Once the soil is in place, you'll want to tamp the dirt into place. A sledgehammer can work in a pinch, but tamping tools can be found at most hardware stores and this will provide a better result.

Now you just need to repeat this process over and over again. Place about 6 inches of soil down at a time and then tamp it down so that it is firmly packed. Some may want to use pebbles, rocks, or sand for this process, but these do not create the same levels of stability that firmly packed soil can for the sinkhole area. Continue tamping dirt down until your sinkhole is once again level with your backyard.

Fill the Sinkhole With Water When You've Finished

To create a safe repair, you need the soil that you've packed into the sinkhole to be as firm as possible. This means you'll need to water the soil that you've filled in and tamped down as thoroughly as possible. The water will settle the dirt and let you know if you need to add more dirt. Wait 48-72 hours and then check your repair. If you need to add more soil, then do so and pack it down with your tamper.

You may need to repeat this process several times over the course of the next month. You need the soil to completely settle so that the area is safe and the hole remains filled in. Every time you add soil and tamp it down, you'll need to water it thoroughly and wait up to 3 days for it to properly settle.

If the sinkhole is threatening the foundation of your home, however, it is better to rope off the area and contact your home owner's insurance contact. Sometimes sinkholes can only be stabilized by a geologist or other professional. Most importantly, when the sinkhole is repaired, planting sod is your only safe option. Trees or shrubbery can fall if the ground becomes unstable once again and this can cause even more damage to your property.


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