Homes are built over a crawlspace, basement or slab. If you have a slab home, then your property is built on concrete footers with a concrete slab that sits directly on the ground. With slab construction, it’s common to have water supply and drain lines running through the ground beneath your slab. If one of these lines starts to leak, then you could wind up facing serious problems.
What is a SlabLeak?
When the lines beneath or even buried in your slab start to leak, it is known as a slab leak. Initially, it may not seem like a problem because the leaking water is going into the ground. However, slab leaks lead to serious problems and should be addressed as quickly as possible.
How Can I Tell I Have a Leak?
It’s important to know the warning signs so you can call for service. Hidden from sight, these leaks can go undetected for weeks, months and even years. Warning signs include:
- Water bills that are higher than they should be
- Hidden leaks lead to mold, so watch for unusual smells
- The water may start to come up through the floor, so you may also notice cracked tiles, bubbled linoleum and warped wood floors.
- The sound of water moving below the slab
- Baseboards separating from the wall are a serious warning sign you should never ignore.
How Much Will Fixing a Slab Leak Cost?
The cost of repair will depend on what exactly is causing the problem. It all starts with calling in the professionals for leak detection. Using cameras, stethoscopes and other equipment, they will determine where the break in the line is. You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this service with some agencies, but some will include as part of their service.
The final cost depends on so many factors that it’s impossible for any plumber to give a definite quote without inspecting the property. There are some cases where a line can be shut down and capped off, then rerun above ground. If you are fortunate enough for this to be the case, then the repair may only cost a few hundred dollars. However, if the leak below the slab must be repaired and the slab broken open, then you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or even more.
What is Involved in a Slab Leak Repair?
Leak repair that involves breaking through the slab is costly. Once the leak is found, the flooring in the area must be pulled up and the concrete jackhammered. With the leak exposed and the problem easily viewed, the plumber can determine whether or not the damage is more extensive. Repairing one section can put additional pressure on another, and that would lead to future leaks. If this is the case, then the plumber may have to run new lines at an additional cost. The most expensive scenario actually involves replacing the pipes throughout the home, and that can easily cost $10,000 or more.
Before deciding that you would rather just live with the leak, it’s important to consider the harm it causes to your home. Over time, the leak can lead to serious foundation damage and threaten the structural integrity of your property. Your yard becomes soaked and remains soggy from the constant onslaught of water, and the mold that starts to develop will threaten your health. Repairing slab leaks is costly, but it’s better to invest in the repair now and save your home for the future.