Grout has a wide array of applications, mainly in construction, due to its ability to fill gaps and make a foundation or structure more patent. Grout has also proven to be an effective deterrent to sinkholes, which are always a matter of grave concern in Florida, as its geological features provide the ideal conditions for these problems. If not executed correctly, however, grouting can be as much of a problem as the sinkholes it aims to prevent. Eric Glasser of WTSP 10News reports that the sinkhole fix to a 76-year-old woman’s home “did more harm than good.”
Many sinkhole remediation experts believe that grouting is the most effective method of preventing an impending sinkhole area from hollowing out and giving way. By injecting a grout compound to fill in the underground cavities, the substrate can be prevented from caving in, especially in wet weather. Using grouting in Florida to stabilize and support home foundations is the usual response to potential sinkhole cases all over the state, given that a great part of the State sits atop a vast deposit of water-soluble rocks like gypsum and carbonates. Other solutions such as underpinning are also effective.
Too much of a good thing, however, can be bad; and grout is no exception. In New Port Richey, FL, a sinkhole fix that involved around $242,000 worth of chemical grout resulted in cracks developing in the structure. Cosmetic repairs of the cracks left by the grouting project cost an additional $284,000, which the woman’s insurance company refused to pay since the grouting work had already exceeded the limit of $237,000. Thus, the grout was harmful to the woman’s home as well as her financial situation.
Grout is usually applied at a low rate, but at high pressure, with technical precision and constant pressure gauge monitoring by highly trained technicians. The process is designed to displace any water or air occupying the underground cavities, filling in these spaces with the solid and stable grout. The type, technique and amount of grout needed depends on the nature of the impending sinkhole and surrounding soil conditions, as well as the weight and positioning of any structures. Obviously, the more underground cavities there are, the more of the pressure grouting compound the Florida sinkhole repair contractor must apply.
In light of the abovementioned fiasco in the elderly woman’s house, State Representative Mike Fasano (R-Dist. 36) tells 10News that people must be cautious with spending for such services. Since his proposal to require insurers to consider alternative solutions to fixing sinkholes died in the House, Fasano urges caution in choosing a quality service provider.
There is reason for caution. There are only a few highly skilled, experienced, and consistently precision focused Florida contractors for sinkhole remediation, foundation repair and grouting services, such as Foundation Services of Central Florida. It’s a state licensed contractor headquartered in Ocala, member of FASB, rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, with sterling references such as: NASA at Cape Canaveral, the Harn Museum and UF Baseball Stadium in Gainesville, Wal-Mart and many other commercial, public and residential property owners who required exacting foundation repair and soil stabilization services, and who can attest to a job done right.
Sinkhole season comes with the torrential downpours during the spring and summer months. The recent string of sinkhole incidents in Central Florida should serve as a wake-up call for residents to take action. Never let your house stand on ground that can cave in at any time. Have qualified personnel evaluate the safety of your home against sinkholes, and apply the best solutions to any problems found.