What is a slab leak?

A slab leak is a water leak in a plumbing pipe that runs through or under your concrete foundation.

Slab leaks can be located using high-tech infrared equipment to visually see the leak on a screen as temperature changes in the floor, or ultrasonic equipment to listen for the leak location and nearest manifolds.

What causes a slab leak?

  • pipe age and corrosion
  • cracks or movement in the foundation
  • poor installation
  • soil or concrete corrosion
  • hard water buildup corrosion, and pressure

Hard water conditions will create slab leaks faster and more often because the mineral buildup corrodes pipe and increases water pressure.

If you have hard water in your home, which presents as limescale on faucets and soap scum on shower doors, tile, and tubs, then you should consider testing the water and getting a softening solution (softener or conditioner), if needed, to extend the life of your pipes and appliances.

What are the signs of a slab leak?

  • Water bills increasing
  • Wet carpet or flooring
  • Warm areas of carpet or flooring
  • Wet or damp baseboards and drywall
  • Faint sound of water running
  • Loss of water pressure
  • Spinning water meter when water is turned off

If you see signs of a water leak inside your home, then it’s best to turn the water off to the home and call a leak specialist plumber immediately.

How serious is a slab leak?

Water leak are always serious and can cause extensive damage to your home. if you see a leak, turn off water to your home and call a plumber immediately.

Slab leaks that go unchecked can also cause soil shifting and movement to your concrete foundation.

How do you stop a slab leak?

First you turn off the water to the house if you see or suspect a leak, then call a leak specialist plumber.

Turning off the water will stop further water damage.

The plumber will use special instruments to locate the leak, then cap it and explore and discuss all options for the affected plumbing line.

How much do slab leaks cost to fix?

This can vary greatly by where the leak is, the damage it’s done, how long it’s been leaking, and many other factors.

Based on our experience with hundreds of water leaks in slab foundations, here is what usually happens when fixing a slab leak.

We’ll assume you have good insurance and that you called a plumber immediately after suspecting or noticing there was a leak.

1. If there was zero water damage and you had concrete floors or old carpet you were about to get rid of anyway, then the repair would be fairly simple.

Once the leak is located, the flooring in that immediate location is removed, and the plumber will remove enough concrete foundation to expose the leaking pipe and repair it.

Next, the plumber would repair the concrete to level again.

You would repair the flooring or hire someone else to do the flooring.

You pay for everything out of your own pocket, usually less than a thousand dollars..

2. the water line in the floor is re-routed up and into the attic or crawl space, run across, and then down again to by-pass the floor altogether.

This happens when there is “continuous flooring” such as wood, tile, or laminate over the slab leak that cannot be repaired without replacing more flooring than is needed.

That kind of repair would cause more damage and costs more to repair and is usually rejected by insurance companies.

In this case, or in any other situation where there is water damage, you would contact your homeowner’s insurance company and file a water damage claim.

In most, but not all, water damage claims the insurance companies  provide the following coverage for each stage of the process:

1. Leak detection = usually covered 100% in full to a fair market amount of $350 to $450

Find the leak, cap it, and then stop and call your insurance company before doing any additional work or repairs or removal of any materials.

2. Water damage mitigation = this is the removal of all wet materials including dry wall, testing for asbestos and mold, decontaminating the studs and framing, then professionally sealing off and drying out the area.

This is usually covered 100% in full to fair market amounts by insurance.

3. Water Damage Restoration = this is for putting your house back the way it was before the leak started, including drywall, painting, and replacing damaged materials like flooring, cabinets, and more.

Your insurance policy deductible comes into play here. After that, the insurance company will usually pick up the rest of the bills.

Any damaged personal property and furnishings are often covered but usually limited.

If you suspect a water leak in your home’s slab foundation, use our FREE slab leak detection service.

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Owner - Operator at RT Olson Plumbing
Bob Olson has over 18 years experience in all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing. He's a 4th generation plumber. With over 400 five-star customer reviews, he runs one of the best-rated plumbing companies in Riverside, CA.
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