Sink Holes

Click the images below to see samples of sink holes that we have successfully repaired.

Under House Sink Hole
Under Deck Sink Hole
Large Sink Hole Repair

C & M Residential Services has remediated countless sink holes/trash pits over the years in and around Metro Atlanta and we feel our expertise and execution in this area is second to none.

Our experience tells us that when it looks like an area of your yard is sinking, it is generally a case of debris having been buried – which was a typical practice for many years in the Atlanta metro area.

In repairing this type of situation there is always an impact on whatever is in the area of the sink hole. We can never be quite sure of what we find when we excavate: how deep we will have to go, how much of an impact we will create on the surrounding features of your outdoor space, or how expensive the issue will be to resolve.

We always go into the job planning on cleaning the sink hole out completely. Please ask any questions that you may have ahead of time and make sure that we are informed about any budget or site considerations.

Have confidence you are in good hands choosing us to repair your sink hole as we have a great deal of experience having dealt with many dozens of them.

If you have further questions pertaining to sink holes, you may find the answers below:

What is a Sink Hole?
Although sink holes are the given names of many things in different areas of the country, here in metro Atlanta sink holes are technically just burial pits. For many years it was common practice for all types of debris to be buried instead of hauled off and disposed of. The one thing that most sink holes have in common is the presence of land clearing debris; that is stumps and brush. We have also discovered logs, construction debris, tires, and quite a few other things. We classify these holes in three different categories or types.

The first type of sink hole is what we call the development hole which is generally the largest and most expensive type to resolve. This type of burial pit was done during the original development of the neighborhoods. Often times this type of hole will exist on a property in the front yard and is typically parallel to the road or to a storm water easement. At this point in development the very largest equipment was on site and digging a large hole was very easy and inexpensive compared to hauling off the debris. Many of these holes cross property lines and some are extremely vast containing tremendous volumes of debris.

The second type of sink hole is what we call a lot clearing hole. This is by far the most common. Many neighborhoods in the Atlanta area which were developed and built between 1975 and 1991 have this type of burial pit at almost every house. This type of hole will generally be in a location that is consistent with it having been done at the same time as the foundation of the house was prepared. They can also be extremely large and deep and always contain land clearing debris. They are also often in the back yard where they are very hard to access with the necessary equipment.

The third type of hole is what we call a clean up hole. This type of hole was typically done when the lot was being cleaned up to prepare for landscaping near the end of construction. These holes are often times not very large having been done with just a small skid steer piece of equipment and contain construction debris along with some stumps and brush.

We are never quite sure going into a sink hole repair what we will find but never cease to be surprised. Although it seems incompetent for this to have ever been done looking back there is much to understand about it having been common practice for so long. First of all it was a completely legal practice at the time. The laws related to Real Estate Disclosure changed sometime in 1991. These changes did not make it illegal to dig holes and bury debris. It simply made it to where if you did dig holes and bury debris you had to disclose it when and if you sold the property. It is something that still goes on today although to a much lesser extent. During that time, large masses and debris were difficult to dispose of as well as inefficient.

Today we have large equipment that can turn whole trees into wood chips and dispose of stumps in a matter of seconds. Also today is the widely used practice of hauling debris in temporary dumpsters which can carry more than twice as much debris than the dump trucks which were the common tool of hauling at that time. The smaller portions of trees were typically burnt when the season permitted and the large trees were used as pulp wood and lumber. The stumps were the one thing that they simply had no good way to get rid of back then. The typical landfills still today will not accept tree stumps as they are problematic in their operations. Nowadays we typically are hauling the debris either to private land fills that will accept that type of debris or to places where the debris is ground into mulch and utilized as mulch or composted into soil products. Those options simply did not exist during the time period when burying the land clearing debris was common place. It is becoming more and more expensive to dispose of our debris.

The impact to the existing yard.
The impact to the existing yard can be vast. The proper manner to repair a sink hole involves digging out the same exact hole that was dug in the first place, removing any and all organic matter inclusive of tree debris and whatever else that may exist that can decompose and lose its mass. The process takes quite a bit of space to stage equipment, access the site to haul in and out and stage excavated materials to allow for the organic matter to be cleaned from the soil so that it can go back into the hole, and compacting the soil/fill materials back into the hole in a manner adequate to support the needs of what features will go back in place in the area of the sink hole. This varies a lot depending on whether the sink hole happens to be under a driveway or if it simply in an area of the landscape. The local lawn and landscape including patios, sidewalks, driveways, and the list goes on must be removed and replaced.

Concrete and other masonry materials can be buried back into the sinkholes as it is adequate fill material that will not decompose and lose mass. This often will create a substantial cost savings for many sink holes in that it will save some hauling away of debris and provide some fill material for the hole. This is common when the sink holes are under driveways.

When supporting a permanent structure like a driveway, retaining wall, patio, or any portion of the house like a patio, sunroom, deck footings, etc. the soil must be compacted in layers or “lifts” to adequately provide soil that is compacted enough to support those types of structures.

Sinkholes are generally easy to identify. They are typical to houses built during a certain period of time. They demonstrate certain characteristics. They can often times be detected with a soil probe. The debris in sink holes has not finished decomposing because it has been 20 years. For decomposition to occur it has to have the right mixture of moisture and air. These conditions may only occur a few weeks out of a given year. We have dug up pine straw that was still green after being buried for 20 or more years. It simply does not decompose without the right conditions.

I have heard many times from customers, “I had somebody add dirt to the sink hole last year and it just seemed to sink faster”. It didn’t seem to sink faster, it did sink faster. When dirt is added to the already sinking and settling area, this adds weight to an already failing situation and it will sink faster just about every time especially when it gets good and saturated during periods of wet weather.

Yes you can continue to add dirt over and over but the area will virtually never really finish settling. We have cleaned out sink holes where dirt had been added multiple times and others that had been in the ground for over 40 years and still the debris is in tact to a great extent.

We do not feel that any effort other than excavating and cleaning out the original hole is a valid repair. The common denominator is wood and wood will eventually decompose.

We can not know going in what the cost of the sink hole repair will be. We can not know the extent of the hole, what exactly it will take in time and equipment and expenses to resolve, nor the cost of putting everything back together again to facilitate the work.

What we can assure you is that the remediation will be done correctly and you will never have to worry about the area again. We fix sink holes in Atlanta, Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, Roswell, Acworth, Dunwoody and Dallas, GA.

Please call us to schedule an appointment if you think you have a sink hole!!