Is there anything we can do to make sure we don’t have a sinkhole at our home?

Sinkholes are associated with the dissolution of the limestone layer beneath your home, which could be dozens of feet below your home. The hydrology of the soils near your home could be impacted by water that is not even within the first 20 or 30 feet below your home. Thus, the short answer is no, you cannot impact sinkholes on your property.

Having said that, you can have a positive impact on the soil near your home to easily reduce other problems. Believe it or not, you need to “maintain” the soils near the footprint of your home. Soils will become unstable if they experience long periods of drought or saturation. These extreme conditions can cause the soils near your home to greatly increase or decrease in volume. In so doing, they can directly impact your home. While these issues are not associated with sinkholes, they are associated with other conditions that can cause cracking or other distress to the home.

Soil conditions, such expansive clay or organic debris in your soil, can cause cracking. By making sure, for example, that the downspouts near your home are moving the water away from your home is important. Having the water flow away from your home (called “negative slope”) assures that water is not pooling around your foundation. If the water is running toward your foundation, you should consider changing the topography near the home, in a way to move the water away. During periods of dryness, you should regularly water your lawn, which also waters the soil. These simple steps can go a long way toward properly maintaining your home to avoid settlement problems.

Read our tips on filing a sinkhole claim.

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