What Is a Slab Leak?
A slab is a kind of home foundation made of poured concrete. This layer is around four to eight inches thick and forms a sturdy base for the home. Most homes in North Texas have slab foundations.
Several important plumbing elements are routed in or beneath the slab. These include the:
- Incoming water line
- Hot water line
- Outgoing sewer line
- Gas line
If there’s a plumbing leak at this location, it’s referred to as a slab leak.
There are several ways to perform a slab leak repair. The most appropriate method depends on:
- How big the leak is
- Where the leak is located
- What caused the leak
- The age of your house and its plumbing
- The type of line affected
Causes of Slab Leaks in North Texas
Slab leaks can develop for various reasons, some of which are related to location. Common causes of slab leaks include:
In some areas, foundation shifts can be caused by shifting soil and the effects of groundwater, usually as a result of underground lakes or streams. In North Texas, the more common culprits of slab leaks are frequent and extreme climate changes and soil movement that results from these changes.
Around two-thirds of North Texas homes are built on clay soil, which expands and shrinks depending on its moisture content. This can destabilize the soil beneath a slab foundation, causing a ground shift that damages the pipes and/or cracks the concrete slab.
In summer, low rainfall and high temperatures cause heightened levels of soil contraction. This can increase destabilization and put even more pressure on your slab and the pipes beneath.
Poor Construction or Materials
If pipes are bent, kinked, or damaged when laid, or low-quality materials are used, the pipework is more vulnerable to leaking or even bursting.
Cast iron pipes in the soil will corrode and break over time. The cast iron pipes that were installed by builders in the North Dallas area over 30 years ago are near the end of their useful life. Water flowing through these pipes over the years has led to rust and splintering of the pipes and made them very vulnerable to breaking.
High Water Pressure
Copper is a relatively soft metal, which means it has a maximum water pressure it should carry. Copper is able to move a little bit more as soil shifts, so it is a good choice for water service in the North Dallas area. Still, if copper gets an indentation due to rubbing on a rock, eventually it will begin to leak.
Wear-and-tear damage accumulates over time in all plumbing systems. Even the best quality materials aren’t immune. Wear-and-tear can be caused by something as simple as the friction of pipes rubbing against soil, rocks, or the concrete foundation. The older your home is, the more vulnerable your plumbing is to this kind of damage.
Are Slab Leaks Common in North Texas?
Most of the homes in Dallas-Fort Worth have slab foundations. Since Dallas doesn’t have a lot of basements because the water table is too high and the soil shifts too much, slab leaks are common in Lewisville and other North Texas suburbs in the DFW area.
The combination of the hot, dry climate and clay soil makes concrete foundations more vulnerable to cracking or shifting. If a slab foundation shifts or cracks, it can put pressure on plumbing lines and cause a leak in or beneath the slab.
Is a Slab Leak a Serious Problem?
A slab leak can be a major issue, but it doesn’t always have to be. Most slab leaks start out as small and slow leaks. It’s possible to avoid serious damage if the leak is found and a slab leak repair is completed quickly. Neglecting a slab leak gives it time to get bigger. Eventually, it could cause major water damage and foundation issues.
Consequences of an unchecked slab leak can include:
Soil erosion and destabilization, potentially causing cracks in the slab foundation and floors
Water penetration into the floors and walls
Mildew, mold, and wood rot that damages soft furnishings and other possessions
Structural displacement that affects the walls and roof of the home
The worst-case scenario for a slab leak is that pressure builds up underneath the concrete and causes one or more pipes to burst, resulting in flooding and massive water damage. Ongoing damage will cause foundation problems and affect the structural integrity of the property.
Know the Signs of a Slab Leak
The main reason a slab leak can cause extensive damage is that it’s easy for the leak to go undetected. Because it happens in or beneath the slab foundation, many homeowners don’t realize they even need slab leak repair. This is why it’s so important to know the signs of a slab leak. If you know what to look for, you have a chance to fix the slab leak before it becomes a significant problem.
Signs of a slab leak include:
- One or more moist, damp, or wet spots on the floor – These spots may be warm if the leak is coming from a hot water line. You may also notice water stains, discolored flooring, soft spots, or areas of bubbling nearby.
- An increase in mildew and/or mold in your home
- Sounds of water dripping or trickling in an unexpected place
- Low water pressure
- A noticeable and otherwise unexplained increase in your water bills
You may also notice foundation problems such as:
- Water seeping through or pooling around the concrete foundation or floor
- Sudden or visible settling of the foundation
- Cracks in the foundation
- New gaps between the walls and flooring
- One or more windows or doors becoming stiff or difficult to open
If you have a slab leak, it’s unlikely you’ll notice all these signs at once. You may just see one or two warning signs. For some people, the only indication is a sudden increase in their water bill.
How Much Damage Can a Slab Leak Cause in My Home?
Most slab leaks start out small, but they almost never stay that way. A slab leak has the potential to cause major household damage—not just to the home itself, but to your furnishings and possessions too. The potential for damage increases the longer the slab leak goes undetected.
The kinds of damage a slab leak can cause include:
Mildew and mold damage
Damage to flooring and wall treatments
Water damage to soft furnishings and possessions
Cracks in the concrete slab foundation
Don’t DIY Your Slab Leak Repair! Call CW Service Pros
Many homeowners can easily fix common household problems. If you can fix a leaky faucet or change the hose on your dishwasher, can you DIY your slab leak repair too?
Slab leak repair is better left to the professionals. Finding and fixing a slab leak requires specialized tools, plus expert knowledge and experience. In the DFW area that means CW Service Pros. Our licensed professional plumbers are experts in slab leak repair. We have all the pro tools needed to quickly detect a slab leak and the experience to know how best to fix it with minimal disturbance to your home.
How Does CW Service Pros Detect Slab Leaks?
We use state-of-the-art tools to locate slab leaks with pinpoint precision. With these tools, we can find the source of the leak without having to use invasive methods in your DFW home. Our tools also provide valuable information that helps us determine the best repair method.
Electromagnetic Pipe Detection
We use electromagnetic pipe detectors that let us see exactly where the waterlines are, whether they’re in your home’s foundation or beneath it.
Together with electromagnetic detectors, we use sewer cameras to accurately determine where the leaks are in your drain line. The use of cameras that we send into your sewer line lets us directly view the condition of the pipe surrounding the problem area and the size, type, and origin of the leak.
Sound Amplification Tools
These tools help us further pinpoint the location of a slab leak by amplifying the noises made by the pipes when a technician pressurizes a pipe and listens to where bubbles and air escape from the line.
CW Service Pros Uses These Proven-Effective Slab Leak Repair Methods
Once we’ve found the source of the leak, we’ll apply one of three slab leak repair methods. The best approach depends on the:
- Location of the leak
- General condition of the pipe
- Homeowner’s needs and wishes
No matter which method we use, CW Service Pros always strives to cause as little disruption as possible. We keep every work site clean and tidy and aim to leave it in the same condition we found it—or better!
Spot Repair: Break Through the Slab
With this method, we access the leak directly by breaking through the floor and foundation. Although this is often the simplest way to get to the leak, it’s not always the most desirable choice, especially for homeowners. With this plumbing repair method, the water has to be shut off, and the work site is dusty and noisy. In some cases, performing a spot repair can cause more damage to a home and may not be desirable; for example, when the leak is under a wood floor and the flooring has not yet been affected or when the leak is located under cabinets.
Spot Repair or Replace Sections of Pipe: Tunnel Under the Slab
If your slab leak problem involves multiple water leaks or multiple pipes, it can’t be solved with a simple spot repair. This method gives indirect access to the leak by tunneling alongside or underneath the slab. It takes longer than breaking directly through the slab but doesn’t involve breaking up the floor. This work is done outside or underneath your home and reduces the dust and debris caused by a spot repair inside.
Spot Repair: Reroute the System
In some cases, we can install new piping and reroute the system to exclude the leaking section. Water lines can sometimes be rerouted from below the slab and instead have a line pulled through the attic. Sewer lines can sometimes be eliminated under the slab and rerouted around the house. These options are less invasive but aren’t always possible, depending on the original framing of the home or the position of the lines in relation to the home and property line.
How Long Will It Take to Fix My Slab Leak?
The amount of time it takes to repair a slab leak depends on the extent of the damage and the method needed to fix it. CW Service Pros always strives to complete work neatly and efficiently, while delivering the highest quality. We don’t waste time and are there when you need us most.
If there’s one minor leak involved, a spot-repair technique might take just a day or two to complete. If there’s more extensive pipe damage that requires tunneling or rerouting, the slab leak repair can take several days.
How Long Does a Slab Leak Repair Last?
CW Service Pros uses state-of-the-art tools, modern techniques, and good old-fashioned experience to recommend the best solution to your slab leak problem and perform the work in a timely and efficient manner. We do high-quality work and use quality parts and materials that can last for decades.
How Much Do Slab Leak Repairs Cost?
The cost of slab leak repair ranges from hundreds of dollars to several thousand. The exact cost depends on the extent of the damage and the method used to fix it. Some factors include:
The location of the leak
The number of leaks involved
How easy it is to access the leak
Whether pipes can be patched or need to be replaced
Whether rerouting and installation of new piping is needed
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Slab Leak Repair?
Slab leak repair in North Texas can involve a significant financial investment. Will insurance cover all or part of the cost? It depends on the circumstances.
Some of the potential causes of slab leak damage are covered in a standard insurance policy. If a pipe bursts without warning, the slab leak repair is likely to be covered if your policy includes protection for water damage because it’s an unforeseen problem that couldn’t be prevented.
But most slab leaks start as a slow leak or seepage, and the damage happens over a long period of time. This kind of damage is often the result of wear-and-tear. As such, it’s not always covered by a standard insurance policy. Make sure to check your policy and ask your insurer if you need clarification. Some policies have a maximum coverage amount for this type of loss, so make sure to inquire about that when speaking with the agent.
In addition, insurance may not cover slab leak repair costs if the provider determines the slab leak was the result of negligence. This might happen if:
- The homeowner neglected maintenance that might have prevented the slab leak.
- The homeowner knew they had a slab leak and delayed fixing it.
For this reason, it’s important to act as soon as you think you have a slab leak. If you suspect a problem, call CW Service Pros to get an expert local plumber working on slab leak repair ASAP.
CW Service Pros Offers Financing Options to Make Your Life Easier
When you think your home has a slab leak, it’s important to take immediate action. The sooner it’s fixed, further damage to your home and its contents will be prevented.
That’s why CW Service Pros offers flexible financing from Wells Fargo, with convenient monthly payment options. With several no-interest options as well as low interest
How to Detect a Slab Leak Early or Prevent a Slab Leak in North Texas
There are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of major slab leak damage in your home.
1. Check Your Soil
In hot, dry weather, keep an eye on your foundation for signs that the soil is dry. If it looks like the dirt is starting to separate from the edge of the foundation slab, that means it’s too dry. When this happens, experts suggest a foundation watering program of 30 minutes, three times a week.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Water Bill
If you see a large unexplained spike in your water bill, it may be a sign there is water leaking underneath your home. Call a CW Service Pro to test to see if you have sprung a leak.
3. Feel the Floor
If you notice hot spots on your floor when walking barefoot in your home, it could indicate hot water flowing under the slab. This is not always a problem since heat does radiate from the hot water lines, but if this phenomenon is new, it can be the first sign of a problem.
4. Schedule a Plumbing Inspection
An annual plumbing inspection is a solid investment in your home’s comfort and safety. Water leak prevention and detection, a water tank tune-up, checking for meter movement, and other services can keep your plumbing ticking and prevent small plumbing problems from becoming big ones.
Why Choose CW Service Pros?
CW Service Pros have been in business since 1999, providing our five-star plumbing services to residents of Lewisville, TX and surrounding neighborhoods. In our 25 years serving the local community, we’ve worked hard to earn your trust.
- Same-day appointments whenever possible
We solve your plumbing problems ASAP, so your life can get back to normal sooner.
- Emergency callouts
If you have a slab leak emergency that can’t wait, call any time.
- Professional and friendly
Our plumbing technicians are trained in customer care.
- Clear pricing
Once we’ve evaluated the job, we’ll give you a firm written estimate before we start work.
- Permits and inspections included
If an inspection or permit is needed to complete your slab leak repair, we’ll take care of that as part of the job.
- Financing options
You have flexibility in how you pay for plumbing repair.
- Satisfaction guaranteed
We take care to minimize disruption and work safely and cleanly. If you’re not happy with our slab leak work, we’ll stay on the job until you are.
NEED A LOCAL SLAB LEAK EXPERT IN NORTH TEXAS? CALL CW SERVICE PROS NOW!
If you suspect there’s a slab leak in your home, there’s one thing you should never do: Put it off until tomorrow. Even a single slow leak can cause major damage, so there’s no time to waste in getting it fixed.
Call CW Service Pros today when if just can’t wait! We’ll send a licensed local plumber out to your home to find the source of the leak and get started on a slab leak solution.