Fixing A Water Leak Under A Slab Foundation

While some homes have a basement, many are laid directly on top of a concrete slab. If there's a water leak underneath the slab, it will need to be chiseled away in order to get to the pipes underneath. A leaking pipe underground is either a sewer- or water line-related problem. The repairs are usually not too complex, but getting to the source of the leak can prove to be a bit difficult.

Warning Signs

If you are experiencing a leak under your home's slab, one of the first signs will be water or damp spots suddenly showing up on the floor. If the water feels warm to the touch, it's most likely the hot water line that is leaking. If you can't visibly see the water, try walking around barefoot on the slab until you feel a damp or wet spot. You may also realize you have a leak if you suddenly hear gushing water sounds underneath the slab floor. Another indicator could be a high water bill that you've received without any indication of visible leaks elsewhere in your home. If it's a sewer line, you may end up with damage to your foundation, which is why it's important to address the issue as soon as possible. 

Getting To The Leak

Once you're able to pinpoint the approximate location of the leak, you'll need to gain access in order to make repairs. A hole will be broken into your slab using a jackhammer. If you have tile or laminate over your slab, it will also have to be removed. Make sure you take out any valuables and cover any appliances and furniture before work begins. Breaking up the slab will create a large volume of dust that could cover everything nearby. After the slab has been chipped away, the dirt and leaking pipe will be exposed. 

Making Repairs

Most water lines use copper tubing. As the copper gets older, it can wear thinner, causing a leak. The damaged portion must be cut away using a hacksaw or a tool made specifically for cutting pipe. The damaged section of pipe is removed, and then a new piece is installed with matching couplers that are soldered into place for a tight seal. If it's the sewer line that's leaking, the issue is a bit more complex. The sewer pipe could be made of clay, cast iron, or heavy-duty PVC depending on the age of your home. A professional like one from Fixxer Company should be called out to make the repair if it's your sewer line, since they can make the repair in a safe manner and it will keep you from getting near any waste from the sewer line. Once all repairs are complete, the floor will be smoothed out and new concrete poured so your slab can return to normal.