Finding a leak around your foundation can be very troubling if you’re a homeowner. Leak under house issues can cause severe damage to the structure if left uncorrected. As for the cost, foundation leak repairs can cost anywhere between $2000 and $6000.
While it’s always a good idea to work with a professional to correct leaks under your house, there are some elements of foundation repair you can familiarize yourself with so you know what to expect and know what to monitor.
PHAA will go over some of the foundation leak repair process details and tell you what to look out for to detect leaks in the following post.
How to Spot a Leak Under House Issue
Foundation leaks (sometimes called under-slab leaks) can cause cosmetic damage if you catch them early. Usually, these types of damages are inexpensive to repair. But, the damage will be more costly if the leak persists for too long. That’s why it’s crucial to inspect your house often – especially the areas of your home that you don’t usually see or spend time in – and to know the warning signs of foundation leaks.
Foundation leak damage can take many forms, but the good news is that some of the signs are relatively easy to spot. Be on the lookout for:
- Odors: Musty or moldy smells coming from your flooring material or your walls could be signs if under-slab leaks.
- Warm Spots: Walk around areas of your house with no shoes or socks. There could be a leak if you feel warm spots in the flooring, especially over your hot water lines.
- Damaged Flooring: Some foundation leaks will cause your flooring material to bulge or crack.
- Water Pressure: A leak may cause an alteration in the water pressure of your kitchen and bathroom faucets.
- Discoloration: Take a look at your basement flooring often to check for discolored flooring or stains.
It’s essential to take action as soon as you notice any of these signs. Remember that early detection can prevent the leak from causing severe structural damage.
Foundation Leak Repair Process
The foundation leak repair process will involve a professional coming out for a thorough inspection. They will use specialized equipment like listening devices and remote cameras to pinpoint the source of the leak. They will find the source of the leak through a visual inspection of your basement and the perimeter of your home.
Detection is the relatively easy part of foundation leak repair. Unfortunately, one thing that makes leaks under the house so complex and expensive to fix is that, in most cases, the damaged pipe has to be exposed before they can fix the problem.
Tunneling underneath the slab can help to get to the leak. However, it can also involve using a jackhammer to cut out a portion of the slab foundation to get to the leak. The professional you work with should discuss multiple options with you and find the least invasive method for foundation leak repair. For instance, the professional you work with may suggest a couple of different ways for foundation leak repair:
- Epoxy Repairs: This method is suitable for more minor, localized leaks. Essentially, it involves pouring an epoxy filler into the affected piping to block off the affected area in the pipe without blocking other piping. This is a relatively fast and affordable foundation repair method, but it’s only suitable for small, localized leaks in the system.
- Cast in Place Piping: This method patches the leaking pipe. It uses a similar epoxy material, but before it can be poured down the affected line, the line is remotely cleaned and flushed out to ensure a secure coating. The epoxy filler is then poured down the affected line and bonds with the damaged area of the pipe.
These are pretty much your best-case scenario repairs. However, if your leak is coming from your sewage lines, a certified professional must carry out more involved sanitation processes.
What Causes Foundation Leaks?
Unfortunately, many circumstances could lead to an under-slab leak. Still, it’s essential to know what they are so that you might be able to prevent these circumstances in the first place. Take a look at some of the most common causes of foundation leaks:
- Earthquakes: It doesn’t have to be a major one – minor tremors over time can cause shifts in the foundation and the soil around it, damaging piping.
- Water Chemistry: Damage to pipes can occur from inside the pipe itself. Your water and other things that make it into your lines can eventually erode the lining of your pipes, causing leaks.
- Damaged Pipes: One of the most common causes of foundation leaks is improperly installed pipes in the first place. Old piping is also prone to damage.
- Soil: Soil expands and contracts under dry and wet conditions. If the area you live in vacillates between these conditions often, it could put you at greater risk for foundation leaks.
- Chemical Reactions: Metallic elements in the soil under your home could react with your piping. These chemical reactions can compromise the integrity of the pipes.
- Improperly Maintained Lines: Of course, clogged pipes can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up. Over time, this pressure can cause pipes to burst.
- Overgrown Roots: Trees on or around your property can also cause foundation damage and leaks. When the roots start growing underground towards your home and foundation, they can cause all kinds of damage.