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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Slab Leak

Slab Leak Cost


How Much Does a Slab Leak Cost?

 
low costLeak Detection: $125-$400average costRerouting Pipe: $200-$5,000+high costFull Pipe Replacement: $2,000-$15,000+
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Many houses are built on a concrete slab foundation, a single layer of concrete several inches thick, usually resting on a bed of crushed gravel. Often, pressurized water pipes and sewer lines are installed under the foundation before the concrete slab is poured. These pipes can deteriorate over time (especially copper piping in acidic soil), creating what is known as a slab leak.

Slab leaks can be hard to detect. Symptoms include: a sudden spike in the water bill; a noticeable drop in water pressure; the constant sound of water running; damp carpeting or other flooring; foundation cracks or settling; and mildew in the walls or in the basement. If the leak is in a hot water line, the floor above it may feel warm to the touch. It's important to find and fix slab leaks as soon as possible.

Typical costs:

  • Detecting leakage and finding the site of a slab leak can require specialized equipment and skills, at a cost that can range from $125-$400. SlabLeakPro.com[1] in California, for example, offers water leak detection for a flat rate of $125, while SlabLeak.com in Texas charges $375. Some plumbing companies offer slab leak detection as part of their repair services, but many use contractors who specialize in slab leak detection.
  • Jack-hammering the concrete slab and repairing the leaking pipe typically costs a minimum of $500-$800, but can cost $1,000-$4,000 or more, depending on local rates, the extent of the problem and the ease of access. SlabLeak.com charges a minimum of $1,850 for a slab leak in a pressurized water pipe and a minimum of $2,500 for a slab leak in a sewer (drain) line.
  • If a pipe is deteriorating, repairing a leak in one section can put added pressure on the rest of the pipe, increasing the possibility of future slab leaks. One option is to close off the leaking line at the nearest manifold, and re-route a new pipe, usually above ground. In simple situations, costs for re-routing a short length of pipe can start at $200-$600, but more often will run $1,000-$3,000, and can go as high as $5,000 or more. SlabLeakPro[2] advertises re-routing starting at $550; in contrast, a homeowner[3] was quoted $1,650 to run a new line through a manifold inside a wall.
  • If the slab leak is just one symptom of a disintegrating plumbing system and it appears that leaks will continue to occur throughout the house, it might be time to replace all the pipes, which could cost $2,000-$15,000 or more. See How Much Does Replacing Copper Pipes Cost and How Much Does Sewer Line Replacement Cost.
  • If a leak is undetected and neglected for a long period of time, it can cause extensive water damage to the foundation and to the home's interior flooring, walls and furnishings. Repairs can cost from $100-$4,000, and much more if items such as a deck or porch have to be replaced. See How Much Does Dry Rot Cost and How Much Does Water Damage Cost.
  • Typically, homeowners insurance does not cover the cost of repairing the leaking pipe, rerouting pipes, re-plumbing the house or any foundation repairs, but may cover any water damage to flooring, carpeting, cabinets, personal belongings, etc., depending on the terms of the policy and the deductible amount.
Related articles: Water Damage Restoration, Flooded Basement, Foundation Repair, Debris Removal, Homeowner's Insurance

What should be included:
  • The overall system should be tested to confirm that there is a leak. Water lines are typically tested with a pressure gauge or compressor; sewer lines by blocking the outlet to the sewer main and filling the pipes with water. Identifying the specific location of any leaks may be done with various electronic listening devices or video cameras.
  • Repairing a slab leak typically requires removing any flooring material, breaking through the concrete foundation, cutting out the damaged pipe, installing new piping, then pouring new concrete and replacing the flooring.
  • Rerouting pipes involves locating and uncovering the nearest manifold, closing off the leaking line and running new pipes through an alternative location, such as the attic. If the main water supply enters the house through pipes under the slab foundation, and the secondary pipes coming off that main line are all aging, replacing the all the pipes might be the most efficient (but expensive) option.
Shopping for a slab leak:
  • Referrals are available from the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association[4] .
  • Get cost estimates from several firms. Check to see if the contractor is licensed[5] in all 50 states. Ask for (and check) references, and see if there are complaints with the Better Business Bureau[6] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.slableakpro.com/
  2.  www.slableakpro.com/
  3.  www.bobvila.com/forums
  4.  www.phccweb.org/applications/ContractorReferral/search.cfm?navItemNumber=532
  5.  www.contractors-license.org/
  6.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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