Most of the time, cracks and pot holes are usually the only things you have to worry about when it comes to your driveway. Every so often, though, something more serious occurs that requires a lot of money to fix, puts your family in danger, or both. One such issue is the unexpected appearance of a sinkhole in your driveway. Here's what you need to do when part of your driveway suddenly caves in on itself.
Find the Source of the Problem
Despite how abruptly they appear, sinkholes take a while to form. They're generally caused by the erosion of soil underneath where the collapse eventually occurs, which can be caused by a number of conditions. In a residential area, the erosion is likely caused by an underground leak of some kind. For instance, water leaking from plumbing pipes under the driveway may wash away the soil surrounding the pipes. Eventually, the pressure from the weight of your vehicle driving back and forth over the area causes it to collapse.
Before getting the hole fixed, it's important to identify what caused the sinkhole. Common causes include:
- Poorly installed downspouts that cause constant flooding near the driveway
- Soil that wasn't properly compacted after excavation in the area
- Leaking septic tanks
- Trash buried in the ground in the area
- Poorly constructed driveway foundation
Once you've figured out what the problem is, get that fixed first before addressing the sinkhole.
Get an Inspection
The second thing you should do is have your home inspected. A sinkhole that appears in your driveway may simply be a warning, and you need to make sure you don't have soil erosion occurring in other places around your home. Additionally, if the sinkhole appears close to the foundation of your house, you need to make sure it hasn't negatively impacted the structural integrity of the building. Call a local building inspector for assistance with this aspect of the repair process.
Fill in the Hole
If the hole isn't very deep and doesn't appear to be growing bigger over time, go ahead and fill it in using sand, concrete, or other soil that will form a barrier and support the weight of your vehicle. Whatever you use, be sure it is fully compacted; otherwise, it may settle over time and create other issues such as potholes and deep dips in your driveway. Afterwards, cover the area with a fresh coat of asphalt or whatever material your driveway is made from.
For more information about patching up a driveway after a sinkhole forms, contact a local paving contractor, or visit websites like http://www.starpaving.com.