Every residential home is built on top of a basement, crawl space, or concrete slab foundation. For those built over a slab, slab leaks are a significant problem that must be dealt with promptly. A slab leak occurs when excess water leaks into the home unnoticed – typically from a pipe buried underneath the foundation. As the water seeps in, the foundation begins to crack due to increased pressure. Damage to the structure is not only a possibility, but is likely.
Causes of a Slab Leak
There are numerous situations that lead to a slab leak, including:
- Pipes – Badly wrapped water pipes, especially those transporting hot water, tend to expand and contract each day. When these pipes are first installed, they are generally wrapped to protect them against unwanted contact with the concrete slab. If the pipe is wrapped incorrectly, the material may wear out and cause a leak.
- Earth – As the earth under your concrete slab shifts, similar to an earthquake, the foundation itself experiences immense pressure. This pressure is transferred to the pipes buried underneath, which then crack and leak.
- Weakened Lines – Due to water lines being placed underneath the concrete slab, minor damage may be present, such as small nicks in the material. Such damage may not immediately cause leaks, though it may weaken pipes.
A leak underneath your concrete slab tends to weaken the foundation of your whole home. The water pressure pressing against the concrete and steel often creates shifts that crack or collapse over time. These leaks are generally more common in older homes – over 30 years – with concrete foundations.
A damaged home is unfit for families to live in.