Organic Material vs. Sinkhole

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa


Several years ago a friend noticed cracks in the walls of her new home. As time passed, more cracks appeared. Frightened that she might have a sinkhole problem, she contacted her insurance company. The house was indeed “sinking” but the problem wasn’t a sinkhole according to the engineering report. The root cause was something called, “organic material.”

Sometimes a building contractor will bury trees, trash, and other construction debris instead of clearing the homesite. In my friend’s case, the materials under her house began to decompose causing the foundation of her house to settle. Her house was literally sitting atop a construction landfill. The signs my friend saw were very much like the signs caused by a possible sinkhole: cracks in the walls and a settling foundation.

Damage from organic material can be complicated because, by the time it happens, the contractor may be long gone or out of business. In her case, the building contractor was still in business and she was able to get the company to cover the extensive repair costs. By the time the litigation was over, however, the damage to the house was so severe that my friend and her family had to be moved out temporarily.

Is it possible to have a sinkhole and organic material damage at the same time. The answer is, “Yes;” They can occur together. Your engineering report will contain the information you and your insurance company will need to move forward.

Call the professionals at Helicon, 844-HELICON (844-435-4266) if you have any questions about what is causing damage to your home.