The most common counties in the Tampa Bay area that experience sinkholes are, Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pasco – aka “sinkhole alley”, however, these occur a great deal in Pinellas County, so your Dunedin, Florida home could have a sinkhole too.
Sinkholes are common in Florida because we are made up of porous carbonate rocks like limestone that store and move water underground. These rocks can dissolve from an acid created from oxygen in water, creating a void under the limestone roof. When dirt, clay or sand gets too heavy for the limestone, it can collapse. Results: A sinkhole.
In 2013, Dunedin had two major sinkhole incidents. One was at the condos at San Christopher Villas, on Powderpuff Drive where an opening in the road about 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep occurred. Luckily there were no evacuations.
On Nov. 14, 2013, a sinkhole hole opened early in the morning at 1112 Robmar Road and swallowed part of that home and a 14-foot boat. The opening damaged a neighboring house at 1100 Robmar Road, where an in-ground swimming pool was also engulfed.
Both homes were demolished.
What are the signs to watch for that my Dunedin, Florida home could have a sinkhole?
- Trees or fence posts that tilt or fall
- Foundations that slant
- New small ponds that appear after rain
- Cracks in the ground
- Sudden drainage of a pond
- Rapid appearance of a hole in the ground
- Dips, depressions, slopes that appear in a yard
- Dead patches of grass or plants
- Sinkholes in the neighborhood
- Wilted vegetation in a limited area
- Well water that is discolored or contaminated with debris
- Cracking or buckling of home’s concrete slab
- Presence of odd bugs in the home
- Earthy odor after rain
- New or widening cracks
- Separation between walls and ceiling or floors
- Cracks in interior walls
- Cracks around door and window frames
- Cracked grout between tiles
- Cracked tiles
- Stairstep cracks in blocks or bricks
- Uneven floors, warping of hardwood, bulging or sagging sections
- Doors or windows that don’t open or close easily
- Cracks in sheetrock near doors or windows
Homes all settle as they get older. If there are a lot of trees in the yard and a lot of rain and water in your area, such as we experience in Florida and in Dunedin, in particular, many of these signs could exist without meaning you have a sinkhole; however, better safe than sorry. Don’t just write these signs off as settling.
If you are thinking about buying a home in Dunedin, Florida, get a qualified home inspection company to check out the entire home and especially look for sinkhole issues. You’ll save a lot of money and heartache in the long run for a very small investment.
How Much Time Do I Have if a Sinkhole is Found at my Dunedin, Florida Home?
Sinkholes usually occur gradually enough that you and your loved ones will have time to get out safely. Even at the most devastating event in 2013, the families in the two Dunedin homes that collapsed all got out safely, but most of their belongings did not. It took several hours for the hole to stop growing and by the end, it was over 56 feet deep and 90 feet wide. It took over 600 dump truck loads of dirt to fill the hole. In this case, the homeowners in question were working with their insurance company to try to resolve the issue but the problem was not fixed in time. If caught in time, there are ways to remediate sinkholes such as compaction grouting. This popular method addresses the decomposition of limestone by pumping large amounts of cement under the ground of the home. No matter what, you need a qualified engineer to make the determination and follow his expert advice for remediation of the sinkhole.
Realtors, investors, and potential home buyers who are interested in Dunedin, Florida homes, we would love to speak to you about our affordable home inspection services. Feel free to contact us and visit us on the web. Give Mike a call at 727. 224.0837 He is always happy to answer questions or set up an appointment to look at your property.