What are the Causes of Slab Leak?
For a homeowner, slab leaks can be considered quite dangerous since most of the time the damage is not visible to the naked eye. There can be many reasons why such leaks can happen to concrete slabs, which commonly happens when there is clay underneath the foundation. The tremendous amounts of pressure on the concrete can also cause it to crack. Let’s take a look at this potentially dangerous plumbing problem.
Detecting Slab Leaks
The most obvious concern would be how to detect a slab leak. For hot water slab leak, detection can be comparatively easier to determine because it leaves hot spots. On the other hand, a cold water slab leak may require more analysis. You may need to check every fixture using a pressure gauge to determine if there will be drops in the pressure.
Slab leak detection can be done with the use of an electronic sound device, but it will take some time to pinpoint the source. It is also important to understand that there will be some situations when the source detection may be hindered like when the source is under the shower pan or cabinet for example.
So how can you tell if you have a slab leak? The easiest way to do so without professional training or equipment would be to look at some signs of slab leak.
- Damp or warped flooring – slab leaks will allow water to leak underneath it causing concrete to become saturated. This results in the water being absorbed by carpets or flooring. The water may also cause wood or laminated floors to warp.
- Mold – when water seeps into the floor, it will be absorbed by the drywall where it creates a damp environment allowing for mold to grow.
- Musky odor – the damp and moldy environment results in a musky odor, which can even become worse if the slab leak is along your sewer line.
- Ruined landscape – when the leak is under the yard instead of inside the house, then you can see mushy patches that never dry, flooding, and constant pooling of water that will eventually lead to the ruining of the landscape.
- Foundation damage –there are basically two things that make up the foundation of your home, concrete slab and steel. The foundation can shift and crack when there is a slab leak resulting in the floor rising.
Since slab leaks can pose real dangers to your home, it is good to know your repair options. Many homeowners would like to think that repairing slab leaks are non-destructive. The reality though is that there will always be minimal destruction like going through walls to create access for example. Here are some options on how to fix/repair a slab leak.
- Spot repair – this option opens up the slab at the point where the leak is located to do repairs. This is the best option for newer constructions.
- Rerouting – this is done when there is a need to replace entire lines, which is normally the case for homes with older plumbing and prevalent leaks.
- Epoxy Coating – this is a repair option where in-place coating is applied to the inner lining of the pipes. This is ideal for repair of small leaks on pipes that cannot be easily dug up.
So how long does it take to fix a slab leak with these options? Normally, the repair can be done and completed within the same day. This does not mean that there will be no follow up work that can ensue like reinstallation of the carpet or flooring for example. The after repair work can last a bit longer if walls need to be patched, texture, and painted. There will also be some situations where the repair may take a bit longer, but this can be considered rare.