How important is slab leak repair?
While ‘the stars at night, are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas’, most of the state sits on sandy loam or black dirt. And with those types of soil, you can almost guarantee that the foundation of your home is going to shift. And when the foundation shifts, it will eventually lead to a slab leak. Slab leak repairs are important because, well, the slab is the foundation of your home.
Is a slab leak an emergency?
Hopefully, you will notice any issues, which we’re going to list for you in a minute, and you will get any slab leak repairs you need to have taken care of before they become an emergency. When a slab leak starts, it isn’t dangerous – not like a leaking gas pipe. But over time, it can begin to cause various problems.
What causes a slab leak?
A slab leak begins when the plumbing pipes that are built into the foundation slab develop a water leak. This causes the foundation to crack and shift. Some indicators that you may need slab leak repairs can include:
- Increase in water bill
- Standing water around the exterior of your home
- Damp and/or warm spots in the flooring
- Mildew and mold have started forming and spreading
- Low water pressure throughout the house and outside spigots
- Sounds of water running when all the faucets and spigots are off
What happens if a slab leak isn’t repaired?
In addition to the things we just listed, in the first few days, the water will just build up around the leak. But because it has nowhere to go, it begins to spread out and upward, and that’s when you’ll start noticing warm spots on the floor, even damp feeling areas on the floors.
Once the flooring becomes waterlogged, your home will start smelling like mildew, a musty, stale smell that no air freshener can mask. As the water keeps leaking from the pipes, it softens the foundation, and your home will shift as cracks develop. Doors and windows won’t open or close easily, maybe not at all.
Without proper slab leak repairs, the foundation becomes weak and your home’s structure is compromised.
Can a slab leak be fixed?
Yes, but this isn’t a weekend DIY project. You need to call the professionals who specialize in slab leak repairs to take care of this kind of job. An expert will come to inspect your home’s foundation, walls, and ceiling to diagnose the problem.
Using specialized equipment, they can pinpoint the precise location of the slab leak. That equipment includes electronic sound tools, line-tracing equipment, or water line video inspection.
Once they have pinpointed the location needing slab leak repairs, they will discuss the following options with you and advise the best for your scenario:
- Trenchless Slab Leak Repairs
There is very little demolition doing this type of slab leak repairs. The contractor will create access holes along the foundation in a non-destructive method then shoot epoxy pipe liners into the broken pipe and create a seal. This method creates a pipe inside the broken pipe.
Next, they will perform a camera inspection with a camera on a flexible cable that is inserted into the pipe to make sure the epoxy line is in place. They then inflate the epoxy line and it sits for a few hours to let it cure.
- Pipe Re-Piping or Re-Routing
In some cases, slab leak repairs are needed for multiple plumbing pipes. In this case, the contractor will recommend either re-pipe the entire house or install new pipes by re-routing them around the existing pipes.
The re-routing pipe method requires the demolition of the floors and walls that have pipes running through them. This process can take a few days, making your home inhabitable until the slab leak repairs are completed.
- Tunneling Under the Foundation Slab
If you’ve just installed new flooring, the contractor will recommend the tunneling method of slab leak repairs. This puts all the work outside of your home with little disruption to your home life.
The contractor crew will dig tunnels under your home’s foundation, keeping the structure’s integrity in place, and making the slab leak repairs that are needed. They will then return the soil they dug out, packing it back as needed.
How much does it cost to fix a leak under a concrete slab?
There isn’t any flat rate on slab leak repairs because each house is different. After the contractor inspects your home and determines the problem, locates the leak, they will discuss the above methods with you and provide pricing accordingly.
Minor slab leak repairs can be around $1,000 and the more damage, the more the repairs will cost, up to $5,000, even $10,000. Yes, concrete slab foundations are still considered the best because they provide stability. But they aren’t beyond being damaged and breaking.
Will your homeowner’s insurance cover slab leak repairs?
Typically a slab leak repair won’t be covered by homeowner’s insurance. However, your policy may provide coverage for any structural repairs caused by the slab leak, like replacing your flooring.
It would be silly to ask if slab leak repairs are worthwhile, but some homeowners will ask their contractor that question. This is your home, a major investment, and any repairs you have done, including slab leak repairs, are to protect that investment. Yes, they are worthwhile.