Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by Hassan Abbas
What is Concrete Slab leakage?
A concrete slab is a very frequently seen element of structure in modern buildings. Most often, steel-reinforced slabs are used for the construction of floors and ceilings and thinner mud slabs can be used for paving the exteriors.
Concrete slab leakage is when the plumbing joints leak or when the pipes beneath a slab crack which causes the water to leak from them. As water runs under the house, it continues eroding the soil and this removes the support for the slab, causing it a lot of strain; ultimately, this leads to cracks which seep water. You may experience damage to flooring, walls and other appliances. And of course, fixing this issue will require you to fix slab leak by professionals. Unlike a small crack or two which we can learn to fix on our own, if you fix slab leak by professionals, the issue subsides for a long period of time and may never come up again.
7 Essential Details regarding Concrete Slab Leakage.
This part of the article deals with things to know about slab leakages ranging from what causes them, how do you know if you have a slab leakage and how to deal with them.
1. The causes of slab leakage: Firstly, water pipe problems can cause slab leakage. Over time, the protective layer wrapping around the piper may wear off and this causes water to leak into your home. A second reason for slab leakage may be weak water lines; water pipes which are laid underground may face a lot of pressure from the slab and this may end up damaging them by giving them small cracks which may weaken and burst the pipe.
2. The contribution of time to slab leakage: Time is the biggest culprit in slab leakages. Older homes installed with copper or galvanized steel pipes are most at risk to bear the brunt of time and have to deal with slab leaks. Corrosion, for instance, happens over time and as stated in the previous point, extended periods of pressure on the pipes can cause them to burst. For newer homes, moisture barriers are installed, so mostly if there’s a slab leakage, it’s because of issues with the pipe, not the drainage.
3. The contribution of the natural environment and natural disasters to slab leakage: The earth shifts and settles under the concrete slab foundation. This shifting can cause the ground to add on to the pressure put by the slabs, hence making the pipes burst. If the soil shifts under the foundation, it can also cause your house to move slightly. This can happen during earthquakes and also because of erosion.
4. Chemical reactions and slab leakages: You also need to keep an eye out on the pH level of the water. Water which is extremely acidic or extremely alkaline can corrode pipes. The suggested and normal pH of water should be at least 6.5 and no more than 8.5. Water pipes which are made of copper can react with elements in the soil which may cause them to decompose over time, a process called electrolysis.
5. Indications of a slab leakage: If you think you have a slab leak at your home, here are a few things you can check around to confirm your suspicions: damp spots on the floor, mold under the carpet, hot spaces on the floor, higher utility and water bills, soggy spots, higher water meter readings, low water pressure in the sink etc. These indications don’t absolutely mean that you have a slab leak, but you should call on a professional, so that even if there comes a need in the future, you can fix slab leak by professionals.
6. What to do if you have a slab leakage: Fix slab leak by professionals; this has to be your first step. They’re the ones who can locate the area of leak and provide you with the best solution. The least intrusive way of fixing slab leakage is by re-routing the plumbing above ground, so there’s no digging involved and nothing happens to the pipes. The most intrusive and the most expensive way is the dig into the concrete and locate the leak at the source. Fixing could be simple, using an epoxy filling, or more complicated, even ranging to re-piping. Either way, an expert can help you much better than trying to fix it yourself.
7. How can you avoid slab leaks: Is it possible to prevent slab leaks from occurring in the future? This is a difficult task which requires absolute vigilance. You can start with scheduling regular plumbing inspections; this helps the plumber search for any slab leakages and fix them before they erupt into something bigger and worrisome. Secondly, try maintaining a consistent, low water pressure; high water pressure can cause a lot of issues to your home’s plumbing. So, after detecting if the water pressure is too high, get a plumber to take a look before your slab gets a leak. Thirdly, and this may come as a surprise, pay attention to the trees around you; trees can cause slab leakages if they’re not maintained properly. So, if there’s an issue with your plumbing, the roots of the trees will diverge towards the source of water which could lead to the roots breaking the pipe and creating a disaster. So, regularly prune the trees near your house.
Slab leaks, at times, may go undetected for a very long time before action is taken. By then, the foundation is already weak. While there are services which help fix the slab leakage from a professional, try to not reach that stage. Repairs can be very expensive; so, knowing the warning signs and fixing them before they become more difficult to deal with is very important for homeowners; it can help them prevent a lot of difficulties which can become hazardous over time.
Aimee is a marketing manager at EZ Plumbing & Restoration. She is very passionate in writing about discrete plumbing services and leakage detection as well as repair solutions. Her vision is to educate people about the consequences of water and slab leaks at home or office and what they should do to repair them to avoid further water damage as well as property damage.
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