Slab Leak Damage

Slab leaks can become a major problem if not addressed correctly by a professional. Water pipes that leak below the slab of a house can be very frustrating to homeowners when it’s hard to know exactly where the leak is or how big the problem is. Very old pipes, damaged copper or defective polybutylene pipes, will eventually leak. Signs of a slab leak can show up in a variety of ways like high water bills or warm or wet spots showing up through the concrete slab or floor.  You then hire a professional plumber and they tell you there is a slab leak. Many homeowners have the same question when presented with this news: What is a slab leak? A slab leak is serious and it is in the best interest of the home owner to find out exactly what is going on before it creates even more costly damage.

What is a slab leak? To put it simply, a slab leak is water or fluid leaking through pipes installed in to or under the concrete slab. Since buildings are often constructed on these concrete slabs, the plumbing for a home or a business go under the foundation. A slab leak may indicate that the foundation of the building has moved or the foundation can move due to result of a slab leak. The soil and sand under a foundation can be shifted around and moved due to the water pressure from a plumbing slab leak. This can result in the building’s foundation cracking or shifting. Slab leaks that go undetected can cause serious water and mold damage to a home or building. Often times slab leaks result in running water underneath the building which is undetected. The water can run up into the building’s interior wall cavities causing damage to drywall and cabinets and underneath flooring. Quite often slab leaks go undetected for several days or weeks resulting in mold growth inside walls and underneath flooring and cabinets. Insurance companies will often times pay for the resulting damages caused by the slab leak however, it is critical that the repairs and leak location are well documented by trained experienced professionals. Some insurance policies in Florida now have exclusions which protect them from paying for slab leaks. Allstate / Castle Key now has a water damage exclusion that denies coverage if the water damage is said to be older then 14 days even if the homeowner was unaware of the water leak. Slab leaks can start off small (the size of a pin hole) and over the course of days can expand 3o times in size which means it could be days before the slab leak is detected.

What are the signs of a slab leak? Homeowner’s should look out for certain clues and signs to see if a slab leak is happening:

Is the well pump water running all the time or is the water meter running all the time (even when shut off at the street)?

Hot spots on the floor are usually a sign of a slab leak. Usually this hot spot you’re feeling in the floor is hot water that has escaped underneath the slab from a plumbing line.

If your water bill suddenly doubles this can be a sign of a slab leak. Local utility companies will often times contact the homeowner if the water usage spikes but usually the utility companies are weeks late which means the homeowner already has significant damages.

Mysterious cracks in walls, ceiling or flooring can also be damage from an undetected slab leak.

What should you do if you suspect a slab leak?

Slab leak damage can be very serious and it is critical that a professional be contacted quickly. The damage and leak source should be documented by professionals that deal directly with insurance companies on a daily basis. Not all plumbing companies are equipped to handle slab leak location and repairs. Many times traditional plumbing companies are unable to locate the slab leaks due to the expense of the equipment needed for location. Many leak detection companies have specialty equipment to locate the slab leak but are not licensed properly to actually fix the slab leak which means contacting a plumber after a leak detection company arrives. Gainesville Leak Detection Inc is owned and backed by state certified general contractors with proper licenses needed to locate and repair the slab leak on site.

Slab Leak Repair

A slab leak is the plumbing industry’s term for a pinhole leak that has developed in a copper water line below the concrete  slab or floor of your home. They are also known as a foundation leak and concrete slab leak. Here are the most common slab leak symptoms:

  • High water bill
  • Hear water running but nothing is on
  • Wet planters near the house
  • Hot spots on the floor
  • Wet base boards
  • Water on the floor or carpet
  • Water coming out below the water heater but the platform is dry

If you think you have a slab leak you should contact a professional water leak detection service as soon as possible. Failure to act fast can result in further damage to your home or office and the risk of insurance claim denial increases. The goal of a water leak detection service is to locate the leak quickly, creating the least amount of damage to the property as possible. Often times plumbing companies lack the proper equipment needed to locate a slab leak. Plumbing companies without the proper leak detection equipment often create as much damage as the actual slab leak by cutting holes in walls and ceilings searching, at random, for the water leak. There are four basic options for slab leak pipe repairs / slab leak repair.

  • Direct Access: This is the insurance company’s term for jack hammering up the concrete slab or floor to make a spot repair on the leaking line. This is the quickest solution but not always the best solution due to the chances of another slab leak arising down the road. Most of the cost associated with this solution are covered by the standard insurance policy. This method generally coast between 1,000.00-1,500.00 dollars.
  • Pipe Re-route: This is currently the industry standard for repairing a slab leak and the solution generally recognized by the insurance companies as the best. However this method is not covered by insurance policies and can run between 3,000.00 – 10,000.00 dollars depending on the size and area that needs pipe re-route. This method is done by cutting the water pressure off to the copper pipes below the concrete slab and running new plumbing lines through the walls and ceilings of your home or office.  Other than the high cost associated with this method of repair, the biggest issue is the new plumbing lines are now running through your ceiling and, if you have plumbing failure, the damage to the home or office can be severe.
  • Epoxy Restoration: This method of repair is only offered by a few companies and has its advantages and disadvantages. This method utilizes non-metallic PEX piping and can cost less money than the traditional pipe re-route method. It usually runs between 3,000.00 -4,000.00 dollars but is not covered by insurance policies. Epoxy restoration method does come with a 10 year warranty but this method has been known to fail much sooner and is only as good as the quality of PEX piping used.