There is a combination of issues that cause foundation problems in Lakeland. Unpredictable weather, coupled with saturated soils and lakefront moisture, means that residents and business owners are often on the lookout for signs of foundation problems. These are the most common causes of foundation problems in Lakeland.
While the entire state of Florida is susceptible to sinkholes, Polk County is number seven out of the top ten most sinkhole-prone counties in Florida. As owners of Scott Lake Lakefront property witnessed a 285-acre lake drain almost completely in 2006, sinkholes are capable of catastrophic damage. While most sinkholes don’t create such a massive level of damage, they can disrupt the foundation of homes and other structures in the vicinity.
Sinkholes form in karst terrain from the collapse of surface sediments into cavities below. These cavities exist because underground bedrock in Lakeland is composed of soluble rock types like limestone and dolomite. Essentially, sinkholes are a natural drainage feature in karst terrain. Since the cavities beneath the surface vary in size and depth, it’s impossible to gauge the final effects of a sinkhole before it occurs. The initial cavity that forms suddenly can grow for hours or days before ground movement is complete. Small sinkholes near homes or other buildings can result in foundation damage as the ground erodes. It’s also possible to experience foundation damage before a sinkhole forms.
Lakefront Soil Erosion
With 38 lakes within the city’s borders, Lakeland is aptly named. This also means that many properties are located in close proximity to lakes and experience topsoil with high water saturation. Without adequate drainage systems in place, the water table alone can lead to unstable ground and foundation damage. Additionally, continual water movement across the earth’s surface leads to erosion. Erosion is common in the areas that surround lakes and is more pronounced in more developed areas since manmade features like driveways and building roofs cause runoff. As the soil near your home erodes, the ground beneath your foundation can shift, causing damage to your home.
Lakeland consists of loose sandy soil in most areas. While sandy soil is reasonably dependable in many areas, a combination of issues makes it unpredictable in Lakeland. For instance, cavities beneath the topsoil make sand easy to wash away and create sudden sinkholes. Unfortunately, sandy soil is also more prone to erosion, making it an issue for lakeside property.
Lakefront soil is generally easier to saturate than other areas because of the low water table. When Lakefront properties see heavy rains, flooding often follows. Runoff and drain water solutions in heavily populated areas aggravate the issue, leading to frequent flooding in areas near lakes, creeks, and canals in Lakeland. While many areas that experience flooding see foundation damage as a result of fast-rising, rapidly moving waters, floodwaters in Lakeland districts like May Manor tend to rise slowly and leave in a similar fashion. When the soil beneath your home is exposed to standing water for long periods of time, shifting ground and pier damage can result.
Lakeland is composed of mostly flat and sloping landscapes covered in sandy soil. Failure to understand the drainage issues associated with the terrain leads to the construction of homes and other buildings that will face foundation problems in the future. There are a variety of ways poorly prepared landscapes lead to foundation damage down the road. Failing to implement proper drainage solutions will likely lead to erosion and oversaturated soil that can shift beneath your home’s foundation. When builders fail to compact sandy soil before building your home’s foundation, sinkholes, shifting ground, and settling are likely to occur over time with changes in the weather and climate.
Trees are a good source of climate control in both winter and summer. However, if your trees weren’t installed by a professional, the roots can get too close to your foundation. Tree roots affect Lakeland foundations in a couple of different ways. When roots grow directly beneath your foundation, they can cause slab cracks and other minor foundation damage. Additionally, thirsty tree roots can rob the surrounding soil of moisture and create new cavities in karst terrain. These new cavities near or beneath your home’s foundation can cause uneven settling of soils that disrupt your home’s foundation and cause foundation damage that affects the interior and exterior of your home.