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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How dangerous are sinkholes?
A: Most sinkhole activity can be mitigated by identifying it quickly and working to correct it. Usually the notice of movement, the identification of sinkhole activity and its prescribed repair can happen well before and real dangerous movements of the soil or the structure can develop. This is most of the time. There are other instances where the ground just gives way and a cavity begins to open and continue forming to endanger the structure in just a few hours. While this is less likely to happen to you, one should keep aware if you hear cracking noises coming from either the roof or the slab.

Q: What are the signs of a sinkhole?
A: Signs of a sinkhole can vary depending on the type of sinkhole you may have. We have volumes of foundation repair pictures showing the results of foundation repair also, which we bring for your viewing whenever we come to inspect your property. Some of the common signs are as follows:

  • Finding cracks in your exterior of your home, such as in the block or stucco.
  • Noticing cracks in interior areas along joints, windows, or doors.
  • Observing large cracks in walls or ground surface, such as floors or concrete walks and drive areas.
  • Noticing your floors sloping and becoming uneven.
  • Finding depressions in your yard, street or neighbors yards near you.
  • Finding sediment in your water.
  • Noticing small amounts of water collecting in pond like areas, which have never formed before.
  • Finding windows, doors, or even cabinets becoming harder to open & close normally.
  • Seeing your fence posts, trees, foundations, etc slumping or falling.
  • Noticing your vegetation wilting.
  • Actually seeing a sunken area or exposed area of your foundation, which were not there before.
  • Observing an actual cavity beginning to open.

Q: What kinds of sinkholes are there?
A: In the state of Florida there are 3 types of sinkholes that are common in our area. They are Dissolution, Cover-Subsidence, and Cover-collapse sinkholes. All of these types can cause damage that requires foundation repair.

Dissolution is the ultimate cause of all sinkholes. Sinkholes do not have to be one category or the other; many are often a combination of any of the three categories and may form in several phases.

Dissolution happens when rain water falls and saturates the ground. The water causes voids to develop in pre-existing openings in the ground, such as, along joints, fractures, and bedding planes causing a small depression to form gradually over time. This downward erosion flows into a pre-existing cavity below.

Cover Subsidence forms gradually overtime. Underneath all our structures lies water deep below the surface or empty spaces. They are caused by water which once flowed there or roots from plant materials which grew above ground and are now dead. Rain water or surface water flows into the underlying ground and settles into these vacated spaces. Overtime the small downward erosion forms small surface depressions. Gradually more water will continue to accumulate and fill the void below. This may go undetected for long periods of time due to the fact that it happens so slowly. Small cracks in your properties structure form and you may think nothing of it. Overtime these cracks my get bigger and you may begin to wonder if they were always so large. Until one day, you notice other parts of the structure cracking or sloping and you realize this is not ordinary settling.

Cover-Collapse sinkholes develop quickly over a period of hours and can cause major damage. These are the types of sinkholes which make the news. These usually happen where the ground has a large amount of clay. Water flows underground and fills a cavity. As it continues the ground forms a structural arch. The cavity moves upward by progressive roof collapse. Then the cavity breaks through to the surface and creates sudden, dramatic sinkholes.  These types of sinkholes have been known to swallow homes, swimming pools, buildings, roadways, and bridges.

Q: I think I see damage on my house – what do I do now?
A: First, you will want to contact your insurance company and tell them about the damage you have observed. They will send out an adjuster who will determine if there is a need to send out an engineering firm. The firm will test drill the site for possible sinkhole related damage to your property.

Q: I have a depression in my yard, but no damage to my house, is it a sinkhole? 
A: Not necessarily, first of all you want to make sure the depression was not caused by a broken pressurized water line.  A broken line could cause water to seep into the ground causing a depression. If you do not think it is due to a broken pipe and the depression is small, you can fill the depression with sand. You may have to fill the hole a couple of times as the sand packs back down. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the hole over a period of time to make sure the hole is not growing in size. If there are no visible signs of damage to your property, you should be fine.

Q: My neighbor has a sinkhole, does that mean I have a sinkhole?
A: Just because your neighbor has a sinkhole does not mean that you have a sinkhole, but since sinkholes do not respect property lines your property may be effected by the same sinkhole activity mechanics. You may want to do a physical inspection of your property for damage.

Q: My driveway is cracking, but not my house, will my insurance cover it?
A: No settlement damage is ever covered under any type of Florida Homeowners Coverage unless it is deemed to be caused by sinkhole activity.

Q: When do I call Champion Foundation Repair Systems?
A: Once an engineer or adjuster has confirmed there is sinkhole activity on your property, give us a call.

Q: Will I be able to speak directly to one of your inspectors?
A: Yes, we will always make one of our inspectors or project managers available to answer all of your questions in a timely manner.

Q: Does it make a difference what foundation repair company I use and what different materials they use?
A: It absolutely makes a difference. Not all foundation repair companies are the same and not all foundation repair companies use the best materials out there to fix your property. At Champion we pride ourselves in only using the best materials available on the market today. That is why we use  FASTEEL products. Don’t you want the best for your property? Think about it, you wouldn’t order a steak at a fast food restaurant, why settle for less in your most important investment.

Q: How long does the average job take?
A: Every job varies, due to the amount of work your property may need. However, most jobs generally take 1-3 weeks.

Q: After we sign the contract with Champion, about how long will it take for work to being on my property?
A: Certain times of year are busier than others; however we can usually start a project within 30 days once your deposit check is recieved.

Q: How many jobs has Champion completed?
A: Champion has complied over 780 jobs to date and growing everyday!

Q: Is Champion licensed in the state of Florida and insured?
A: Absolutely, we are state licensed and fully insured.

Q: Is Champion located locally?
A: Champion is located in Tampa, Florida. The owners and workers are all local to the area and are involved in all of the day to day operations of the business.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare before you come to my house or business?
A: The rooms inside your home we are repairing need to be cleared before we can start work. All floor coverings, which are to be saved, such as hard wood floors or carpet, should be removed by professionals before we arrive; doing this will ensure the coverings can be replaced correctly upon job completion. Outside we will take care of all the preparation, with the possible exception of plants. At Champion we do everything we can to ensure your plants live, however we cannot guarantee a 100% success rate, as we have about a 70% live rate if the work is done by us. To make sure your plants live when they are replanted we highly recommend you remove them yourself or have a professional do it. Everything else we will remove and replace. Each case can vary depending on your repair, so talk to your case manger at Champion before we arrive.

Q: Can I live in my home while it is being worked on by Champion?
A: In almost all cases you can live in your home while the repairs are being done. Ultimately the determination is made by the insurance company or engineer. There are a few rare cases where it is unadvisable for the home owner to live in the property, usually less than 5%.

Q: If you grout my house, is it just putting cement in the ground?
A: No, Compaction Grouting is used to stabilize the loose soil. There are several different types of cementatous material which can be used. Grouting has two main purposes in the repair process. First, it is used to close the throat of a sinkhole and second, it is used to increase the density value in the soil layers surrounding your property. The grout mixes with the soil already under your property to form a more stable soil environment.

Q: How much mess is there?
A: At Champion we do everything we can to ensure a clean working environment. We know it can be very invasive having work done in and around your home. Both grouting and pinning are destructive remedial processes. While our work  is done quickly, thoroughly, and compressively, most operations can get messy. We safe guard your property from damage and always take extra care in ensuring everything is neat and clean. At Champion we use every opportunity to leave the property in the same condition we found it in with minimal damage to your home or business.

Q: Do you have to use tarps and will it kill my grass? 
A: We use tarps generally for the dirt we remove from under and around your home and for our equipment. Most tarps are only in place for a day or so and are rotated and moved as to not harm your lawn. Tarps are necessary for the overall cleanliness of the job. Just a ½ day of rain or a sprinkler system will revive your lawn.

Q: What are the detailed steps and the repair process of my home?
A:  We will give you a full bid proposal with detailed information about each repair process point by point for your home or business. Each process is fully explained to you in detail, along with illustrations.  Accompanying your proposal, you will find a copy of our 30 year warranty. Our bid proposal is very compressive and if we do miss something we are always available to meet with you in person to answer any questions you may have.

Q: Does Champion offer a warranty?
A: Of course, At Champion we stand by our work and our products. That is why we offer a 30 Year Limited Warranty. It does not even matter if you sell your home or business; our work remains under warranty and transfers from owner to owner- free of charge for the life of the warranty. When you receive your personalized bid proposal for your property there will be a detailed copy of our warranty for you to keep. For more on Warranties see our Warranty page to learn about the key differences between a 30 Year Warranty and a Lifetime Warranty.