Are you suddenly noticing warm water spots on the floor or is the water pressure in the shower not up to the mark or your water bill is higher than you expected?
Chances are that you might have a slab leak in your home.
A slab leak is when the pipes underneath the concrete foundation of your home get damaged. These leaks may seem insignificant initially. However, if you do nothing about it, they may cause a lot of damage. Since there is no easy access to the pipes underground, the entire process of repairing a slab leak can be quite frustrating, arduous and not to mention costly as well. Moreover, if you weren’t aware, your insurance probably doesn’t cover the repair costs.
What causes a slab leak?
There could be a number of factors that can cause a sewer leak under the slab. The most crucial is perhaps improper construction of your house. If the quality of the pipes is not up to the mark, or if the pipes were bent or dented in some way during the installation, then a problem is likely to crop up in the near future. Sometimes the pipes are made of copper, which is more susceptible to corrosion and hence the pipes may need to be entirely replaced instead of just being repaired.
Sometimes the pipes leak due to abrasion. Abrasion occurs when pipes rub against other materials such as nearby pipes, gravel or concrete.
Even if your house construction is impeccable, the water pressure can cause the pipes to leak. It happens that the soil may shift under the foundation due to erosion or earthquake, putting pressure on the pipes. Slab leaks are potentially quite damaging and can also cause flooding if left unchecked.
The pH level of the water can also contribute to slab leaks. Anything that is either too acidic or basic will harm the pipes in the long run.
Slab leak detection and repair
We often attempt to do the minor repairs around the house on our own. However, a slab leak is not one of those repairs that you can handle yourself. Any DIY attempts will likely cause more damage because the leak is quite tricky to detect. Hence, we recommend that you immediately contact a professional in case you notice any symptoms.
The first step in the repair is detecting the leak. If you have all the common symptoms of the leaks, turn off all the water appliances and then check the water meter. If the water is still ticking then you definitely have a leak.
The key to hassle-free repair is to locate where the leak is and only a professional can do that because they have all the required equipment such as electronic amplification equipment, electromagnetic pipeline locators, gas tracer systems or video pipe inspection equipment.
Once a leak is detected, the professional starts the repair process. There are various types of repair techniques. Some are more intrusive than others. Some of the methods include:
Re-piping: Sometimes the entire home plumbing system needs to be replaced. This is because it is quite old. In this situation, the re-piping method is adopted. So, instead of repairing just a single pipe, a professional may decide to replace the entire system.
Opening foundation: This is the most intrusive technique since you have to dig the entire slab to reach to the damaged pipe.
Pipecoating: This is one of the easiest and a highly recommended solution since the pipe is only recoated with an epoxy solution. This method is cheap, less intrusive and also environmentally friendly.
How long does a slab leak repair take?
The duration of the repair process depends entirely upon the extent of damage and also the repair method that is adopted. For example, if the professional goes for the opening the foundation then it is going to take longer than pipe coating.
However, according to experts slab leaks repairs take around two days to get resolved. It may take more depending upon the finishes such as painting or flooring.
How much does slab repair cost?
In the end, everything boils down to the cost of the repair. Cost like time depends entirely upon the extent of the damage and the method adopted. However, on an average, the cost of a slab repair, which includes calling a professional is around $150 to $400, but the cost of digging out the concrete and then putting it back into place may cost around $2,000.
Hire the right professional
The entire process can be seamless and hassle-free if you hire the right contractor for the job. Always look for someone that has experience. Ask around, ask for reviews and then only finalize because if you hire someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, they are likely to create a mess. Your plumbing system is quite intricate; one wrong move and the entire system can be damaged.