It’s important to repair any leak underneath a concrete floor slab as soon as possible — it does a lot more than waste water. Slab leaks can lead to moldy carpet along with warped hardwood floors and their water damage restoration costs. Ignore this particular type of water leak repair long enough and the resulting erosion can undermine the foundation and lead to major structural damage. But what are your slab leak repair options?
A Little Background
Lets learn a bit more before going over your slab leak repair options.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
In Southern California most homes and low-rise commercial properties have a slab-on-grade foundation. That’s a concrete slab level with the surrounding soil. Water, sewer, and gas pipes are frequently run underneath, or even within that concrete, so any leak there is called a slab leak.
Nearly all metals slowly corrode, and even copper pipes develop pinholes. Even without an earthquake or hillside location foundations settle and soil moves, putting stress on pipes and also causing leaks. Homes more than 25 years old are particularly prone to slab leaks as well as the need for sewer line repairs.
Signs and Symptoms
Unlike other water leaks, a slab leak can be especially difficult to spot, being covered by flooring and several inches of concrete. If it’s a hot water line you may notice warm areas on the floor, and infrared thermal image can quickly locate the problem.
Low water pressure, especially a sudden drop, can indicate a major slab leak. If you hear hissing or running water or have wet spots on the floor, then act immediately and call an emergency plumber!
Otherwise clues can be subtle dampness, mold, and an increase in your water bill. Over time there can even be cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings. It’s relatively quick to determine if there is indeed a leak, but even with the latest in electronic instruments it may take a couple of hours to precisely locate the problem
Unless you’ve been ignoring some fairly clear symptoms, homeowner insurance policies should cover slab leak detection as well as any water damage restoration. But not the slab leak repair itself.
Slap Leak Repair Options
Your viable slab leak repair options depend on the location of the problem and the general condition of your pipes. So it’s pretty much impossible to give even a rough estimate until after tests and a thorough inspection. Depending on the repair method and several other factors total costs could be under a thousand dollars, a few thousand dollars, or over ten-thousand dollars.
If there’s a single leak with relatively easy access, hacking through the concrete and repairing a short section of a leaking water pipe or main sewer line is a common solution for commercial plumbing. Especially in warehouses. But for homes the disruption along with the cost of restoring flooring often leads people to other options. If the lines are in generally poor condition a direct repair may only be a temporary respite until the next leak occurs. For this reason once there’s been a slab leak an insurance company may require re-piping for continued coverage.
Re-Piping / Re-Routing
Re-piping is often the preferred solution. The old plumbing is abandoned and left in place while new pipes are re-routed around the outside edge of the slab or through the attic. That’s more plumbing work, but it’s often less expensive than jack hammering through concrete then restoring that concrete and matching the existing floor covering. Plus the new lines will be easily accessible for inspection and repair if there’s a future problem. Flexible PEX pipes are a high-quality reduced-cost alternative to copper or galvanized iron plumbing.
Lining the inside of pipes with a thin non-toxic epoxy coating can be an effective lower-cost option in dealing with pin holes in copper pipes as well as minor leaks in main sewer lines. CIPP (cured in place pipe) pushes through a liner that is then “cured” to become a solid reinforced coating.
ASAP Drain Guys and Plumbing
We have years worth of slab leak repairs and are available 24/7 to discuss your options with you. Call or contact us today!