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Everything You Need to Know About Under Slab Leaks: Causes, Symptoms and Repair Methods

Builders install water and sewer lines beneath the slab foundation. This is a convenient option to run the plumbing pipes and protect the pipes from damage. However, sometimes, the pipes beneath the foundation can leak, causing significant damage to the foundation your house rests on.

It is essential to get the leak fixed by under slab plumbing repair experts. Any delay in identifying the problem and repairing it can cause serious damage to your home. Leaking pipes will increase your water bills drastically and if not repaired in time, they may damage the concrete, flooring and carpets.

If you notice that an under slab pipe is leaking, it’s time to contact our team at Continental Foundation Restoration immediately. We are a professional firm with 45 years of experience in foundation repairs. Our professional team can locate the exact area of the leak and gain access to it by tunneling through the foundation slab. After the repairs are completed, the tunnel is filled using the original dirt excavated from the site of the tunnel.


Symptoms of Under Slab Leakage

Many symptoms let you identify leakage under the slab. Let us discuss a few of them.

Pipe Leaks

  • The first symptom of leaking under slab pipes is dampness or water on the floor.

  • You can notice warm spots on the flooring if any hot water pipes are leaking. Walk without footwear inside the house to locate any hot spots on the floor.

  • The sound of running water beneath the flooring also indicates a leak in the water pipes.

  • An unexplained increase in your water bill can also indicate a leak. This is because the water flows continuously from a leak and causes a rise in your water usage.

  • Low water pressure in showers and faucets is another sign of leaking water pipes.

Sewer Leaks

Apart from the pipelines, the slab also has sewer lines. Leaking sewer lines are difficult to identify as there are no prior symptoms. You can only notice the leakage after the damage is done. Some visible damages of sewer leakage include:

  • Damage to the foundation

  • Damage to the flooring causing domes

  • Heaving, which causes the slab to swell

  • Foul smell

Contact our under slab plumbing repair professionals as soon as you notice or suspect any damage to the foundation. Our experts will inspect your foundation and identify any leaks in the sewer lines.

Elusive Leaks

Some under slab plumbing leaks are difficult to identify. They require specialized equipment to identify the exact location of the leak. Only professional plumbers can identify such leaks using specialized listening devices and infrared cameras.

Now that we know about the different types of leaks and their symptoms, it is time to know what causes under-slab leakage.

Causes of Under-Slab Leakage

  • Poor Quality Pipes

The main reason for under-slab leakage is using sub-standard piping. Any damage to the pipes at the time of installation can also cause them to leak, as flowing water tends to damage them further. Pipes made of materials such as copper, which are prone to corrosion, can also cause leakage.

  • Pressure

The pressure exerted by soil shifting under the foundation can also put pressure on the pipes. Some causes for soil shifting can be an earthquake or soil erosion, which causes the house to move.

  • pH Level of Water

Excessively hard water or soft water can cause corrosion and damage the pipes. Pay close attention to the pH level of water and keep checking it regularly.

  • Abrasion

The pipes tend to rub against other materials inside the slab or other pipes near them. This causes friction, which damages the pipes over time. Hot water pipes are more prone to abrasion as they expand when hot water flows through them.

  • Wear And Tear

Regular wear and tear over time can cause the pipes to leak. Most of the pipe leaks happen at old homes that used copper or galvanized steel pipes.

Regular maintenance will help to identify any leaks at the initial stage and carry out under slab plumbing repairs. This will eliminate the risk of costly repairs at a later stage when the foundation is partially or completely damaged.

Methods to Access the Leaking Pipes

Once the leaks are identified, the plumbing team has to gain access to the location to fix the leakage. There are many ways to do this.

Jackhammering is a traditional method to gain access to the under slab leaks.

The method involves using a jackhammer to drill a hole in the foundation slab. First, the tiles on the flooring are removed, and the slab is exposed. Then a hole is drilled in the slab. This process is inconvenient as it creates a huge amount of dust inside the home. You may have to cover all your furniture with a protective covering or remove them to avoid damage. The flooring is also damaged and you may have to replace the flooring of the entire room.

The tunneling method involves digging a small tunnel next to the foundation. This technique eliminates the risk of damage to the flooring and foundation.


Ways to Repair Leaking Pipes

Plumbing experts use different methods for under slab plumbing repairs. The method of repair also depends on the type of leakage, the material of the pipes, the extent of leakage, and the cause of leakage.


If the leakage is minor, the plumber may cut the damaged portion with a hacksaw or tubing cutter. He then attaches a new piece of tubing in its place.


If the leak is minor, the plumber may suggest lining the pipes. The lining material is pressed through the leaks to seal the breaks and holes.

Pipe Re-routing

If the pipes are very old, the plumber may suggest re-routing instead of carrying on expensive repairs. Repiping involves leaving the old pipes and installing a new pipeline. A trench is created on the outer line of the slab and new pipes are installed. The trench is deep enough to support the new pipes.

It is advisable to contact professional plumbers for under slab plumbing repairs. We have all the essential equipment to identify the leaks and repair them. Our experience in foundation repairs and under slab plumbing helps us in providing high-quality services to our clients. We also offer pre-buy inspections at minimal costs.

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