While a home built on a slab-type foundation is less apt to suffer shifting and some other types of foundation problems than one built on a crawl space or basement, it can still experience severe damage. In many cases, slab foundation issues are related to leaks in the plumbing lines that are encased inside the concrete slab when it is poured at the time the home is being constructed.
Causes of a slab leak
Most of these leaks are caused by corrosion or damage to a copper plumbing pipe that starts as a tiny pin hole leak and then enlarges. Soldering issues during installation or the use of poor quality or damaged copper piping can also be a cause. Over time, the leaking water from the pin hole or corroded area causes foundation damage known as a slab leak.
Since slab leaks can lead to extensive damage and be active for long periods before being discovered, those who own a home built on a slab can use these tips to help recognize and deal with this home repair problem.
Clues that a slab leak is occurring
Because the pipes involved in a slab leak are hidden from view, homeowners may not see visual evidence of this problem until it has caused erosion or they find a standing water problem around the perimeter of the home. In order to find a slab leak in the early stages, when repairs will be far less costly to perform, homeowners will need to watch for these non-visual clues:
- hearing the sound of running water when there is no water being used inside any of the taps, toilets, or appliances in the home
- smelling developing mold and mildew issues in the home where none previously existed
- receiving higher water bills and experiencing reduced water pressure when showering
Slab leaks that have gone on for a long time without being detected can also cause flooring over the slab to feel warm or damp to bare or sock-clad feet. It can also cause visible damage to flooring, including buckling, cracking, or dislodging of hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring materials and the cracking or swelling of baseboards and walls. Carpets and pads may begin to mildew or develop a moldy smell and visual evidence of mold growth can also appear.
Homeowners who find evidence of a slab leak may be able to save money on the repairs by having a plumber cap the existing lines and run new ones above the slab. To learn more about slab leaks and your options for repairing them, take time to discuss your problem with a reputable plumbing or HVAC services contractor as soon as possible.