A slab leak is a leaking or burst pipe that is routed under the concrete foundation of a home. A mobile home would not ordinarily have a slab because the frame is raised over a crawlspace where the pipe is predominantly out in the open. The slab serves as an anchor for the house structure. When you have a leak under the slab it can present some serious problems. Fortunately, we provide professional repairs for our customers in Greenwood and surrounding areas in Central Indiana. Read on for more on what causes slab leaks and what we can do to help you repair them.
What Causes Slab Leaks?
The primary reason for slab leaks is the deterioration of copper piping, or in some cases old galvanized pipe material (if you live in a home that is older than 50 years). This happens with age and fluctuations in pressure, which causes flex and deformation. In some isolated instances, improper fluxing, weak soldering joints, serious root infestation, and shifting soil can cause a leak.
How are Slab Leaks Detected?
You can easily notice slab leaks when the floor of any room becomes wet or flooded. A basement floor can suddenly develop an isolated puddle with no obvious source. Bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms that have pipes underneath the floor/slab may show evidence of slight wet spots or full-on flooding. Pulling back the carpet or floorboards can usually determine the approximate entrance of the water, although the exact source is very hard to detect at times. Water that leaks from an underground pipe will force water up through the pores of the concrete or travel up through a crack or split in the concrete via trapped pressure.
The best course of action is to have a professional plumber inspect the slab. We can pinpoint the break area using pipe cameras and tracing equipment, evaluating the extent of the damage.
What Happens If a Leak Goes Undetected?
Any size slab leak can cause major structural damage to your home, as well as its remaining foundation, walls, and electrical conduits. Major leaks can cause damage very quickly, flooding rooms and ruining furniture. Some slab leaks require the flooring to the basement or living quarters to be broken (jack-hammered) and removed in order to perform repairs or replacements of the damaged pipe.
A slab leak that has gone undetected for a long period can erode the foundation soil, causing angular deformities in the walls; it may even cause a house lean in severe cases. This type of property damage will devalue the home if left untreated.
What’s the Solution?
Your plumber should be called immediately if a slab leak is suspected. We have the tools to break and separate concrete without causing collateral damage to other systems and underground fixtures. We will determine how extensive the leak is, what’s causing it, and the most efficient method of repair.
If one pipe has deteriorated to the point of leaking, we will check all the other pipes for integrity. It is possible that all the pipes are in a deteriorated state and must be replaced to safeguard the home against a repeat occurrence. Although repiping can seem like an extensive process, we will take the most direct routes and perform repairs with the least amount of excavation. In some cases, pipes can be successfully patched or repaired at reduced expense by splicing in new, smaller sections. We will provide you with honest assessments about your options.
You can also potentially save on costly repairs and labor time by repairing single pipes using a process known as epoxy restoration. With this method, we will locate both ends of the leaking pipe. The pipe is then cut at the entrance point to the floor, and at the opposite end as well. It is then cleaned, dried, and injected with a durable epoxy that is allowed to dry. This creates a new inner lining in the pipe, making it leak-proof and stronger. The epoxy pipe is then reattached to the system and tested. In additions to being less labor intensive, the success rate of epoxy restoration is markedly excellent.