From a basement or traditional crawlspace to a concrete slab, there are many foundation types used in home construction. Each offers its own pros and cons, but a slab foundation is one of the most affordable and efficient options for constructing a home. Unfortunately, issues may be hidden under your slab foundation.
Because a concrete slab foundation is poured over water and sewer lines in the ground, issues with the supply and drain may cause underlying leaks. These slab leaks can cause a great deal of damage to not only your foundation, but also your home. This guide will help you understand the causes, signs, and options for repairing slab leaks.
Faulty installation of the water lines and drain pipes is a very common cause of a slab leak. If the pipes were bent or damaged in any way during installation, water and waste will not be able to move in and out of the home properly, which can lead to the underlying slab leaks.
If your pipes begin to rust and corrode, they will eventually leak under the foundation. Rust can develop and start to corrode your pipes in a variety of ways.
High water pressure can wear down the interior of the pipes, causing the material to corrode, which eventually leads to leaks. Also, if you have hard water, the acidic nature of the water will corrode your pipes.
Note that some pipe materials have a higher risk of corrosion than others. For example, most homeowners are surprised to learn that copper is actually a soft material that is not meant to last forever. Therefore, if you live in an older slab home with copper plumbing, you will have a higher risk of leaks.
Shifting in the soil around your foundation or the underlying pipes can also lead to slab leaks. If the soil around your slab foundation moves because of an earthquake, water flow from a stream, or nearby construction, the pipes will also shift, increasing the risk of a leak.
Even a small amount of water can cause big damage, so addressing slab leaks quickly is imperative. Because slab leaks begin under the foundation, they can be difficult to see. Thankfully, there are a few signs that can help:
- Damp carpet or warped wood floors
- Loss of water pressure
- Water puddling around home/foundation
- Cracks in foundation, driveway, or interior walls
- Sound of running water
- Unexplained increase in water bill
The above signs are good indicators that you have a slab leak. Another common sign of an underlying leak in your slab foundation is a hot spot on the floor. If you have a hot spot or one area of the floor that feels warm or hot, the hot water line under your home may be leaking.
In most cases, repairing a slab leak is not a do-it-yourself project. Contact a plumber; contractors have the knowledge, experience, and tools necessary to locate the leak and repair it effectively and efficiently.
After detecting the location of your slab leak using specialized electronic equipment, a plan can be designed to start the repairs.
The type of repair will depend on the cause of the leak. If any pipes have been damaged because of improper installation, high water pressure, shifting of the soil/foundation, or corrosion, the pipes can be replaced.
Replacing pipes under the foundation can be an invasive and overwhelming project, but it is a necessary investment to protect the rest of your home.
In some instances, leaks from small holes can be stopped with an application of epoxy. Epoxy restoration is much less invasive, requiring only two holes to access the damaged area.
Help is available if you believe you have a slab leak. Contact Randy's Rooter & Plumbing, LLC today.