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A Basic Guide to Slab Leak Repair

A Basic Guide to Slab Leak Repair

One of the more problematic home repair issues that usually affects homes without a basement or a crawl space is a slab leak.  Slab leaks can be defined as a water leak that occurs either within or under the concrete foundation of a home (also called a slab) and unless these leaks are detected and repaired in a reasonable amount of time they can cause a number of problems, ranging from an unusually high water bill to a foundation that settles and shifts.  In this article we will you tell you what to look for if you suspect a slab leak and provide you with some basic information on slab leak repair.

How Do I Know I Have a Slab Leak?

Some water lines—both those that are coming into your house through the main water supply and those which take water away from your house after usage—are located beneath the foundation, and over time these lines can develop leaks that begin to seep through the slab.  Depending on the severity of the slab leak the clues can range from subtle to overt, but if you notice any of the following there could be a chance that you have encountered a leak and need to do some repairs.  Here are just a few of the signs:

  • You begin to notice water seeping through your carpets or other types of household flooring.
  • You feel a shifting sensation in the foundation below your home.
  • The water pressure in your home begins to decline, either suddenly or gradually over time.
  • Your water bill (if you have metered water) increases even though you have not changed your water usage habits.

If any of these conditions are present, you may have a slab leak that needs to be attended to, and naturally, the sooner you repair it the better.  Acting quickly may help you avoid any further damage to your home.

A Basic Guide to Slab Leak Repair

The first step to repairing a slab leak is locating where the leak is coming from.  Sometimes this can be accomplished through visual clues (water stains on carpeting, etc.), but for more subtle leaks you may have to rent special equipment to pinpoint the exact location.  Once you’ve done this, follow the steps outlined below to repair it:

  • Start by removing just enough of the flooring to give you unrestricted access to the water pipe in question.
  • Using a power drill and a concrete drill bit, carefully drill through the concrete slab, making the hole large enough to access the pipe easily with your hands.
  • With the main water supply turned off, cut the pipe on either side of the leak and use a “coupler” and pipe cement to carefully repair the pipe.  When you are finished, leave the pipe exposed for at least a day to ensure the leak has been fixed successfully.
  • After you are sure the leak has been repaired, refill the hole in the slab with concrete, leaving it to dry and cure for at least two days.
  • Replace the flooring above the slab using an approved adhesive.

Sounds easy, right?  Most of the time it is, and by doing it yourself you can save a whole lot of money.  However, if you are uncomfortable doing this type of repair, don’t hesitate to hire a professional.  Spending money to fix a slab leak may be an inconvenient expense, but it’s nothing compared to the hardship you may encounter if you wait too long.

Photo courtesy of spannar00ni.

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