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The Consequences of a Slab Leak


Slab Leaks: The Most Destructive Plumbing Problem in Texas

“It’s just a little leak. What’s the worst that can happen?”

If you neglect a “little leak” in or near your foundation slab, the consequences can be devastating. Unfortunately, in Texas, the question isn’t if a property will develop a slab leak. It’s when.

“Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes catch headlines, but the reality is… the no. 1 risk that the everyday consumer has is a water claim,” said USAA Assistant VP Jon-Mike Kowall.

Why We Have Slab Leaks

A Realtor once said there are two types of homes in Texas: Those that have slab leaks now and those that will. If you’ve planted flowers or vegetables, you know we have large amounts of clay in our soil. Clay expands and contracts during weather extremes and that’s something else we have a lot of in Texas: extreme weather.

Our grounds become crusty-dry from lack of moisture and then we get a gulleywasher rainfall that oversaturates our soil. In North Central Texas, winters can dip below freezing and summers can get dangerously hot. When you mix those factors with a heavy clay composite in the soil, shifting and movement are inevitable.

This is why our foundations crack and we develop slab leaks.

Most of your plumbing is routed through your foundation. The foundation “settles” as the soil is shifting and can crack PVC pipes and erode copper pipes (after 2004, many homes were built using copper piping from China, which developed problems later). Older homes’ pipes sometimes burst from dramatic soil shifts.

Damages from Slab Leaks in Texas

Homeowners policies usually won’t cover damage from gradual leaks. This includes damage that happens over time from things like slow-leaking pipes, seepage from cracks in the foundation or roof, or leaky appliances. Homeowners policies also won’t cover water damage caused by water seeping into your home because of rain, storm runoff, or over-saturated ground.Texas Department of Insurance

The irony is, because of our soil composition, property damage due to “rain, storm runoff, over-saturated ground,” and gradual leaks are inevitable here in Texas.

This is why, along with semi-annual HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) inspections, an annual plumbing inspection can save property owners thousands of dollars. It is also one way for property owners to prove diligence in protecting their homes from water damage due to slab leaks. (Insurance companies are usually receptive to homeowner diligence in protecting property.)

The average cost for slab leak damage repair is $5,092 per incident.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Some property owners think mold is the most destructive thing that can occur as the result of a slab leak. Mold impacts our IAQ (indoor air quality) and causes health issues, especially in households with infants, elderly, or loved ones with allergy issues.

Even if you can’t see the mold and fungi, you can often smell it. Mold is also difficult to eliminate and sometimes returns later.

Property damages from slab leaks include:

  • Flooring – Slab leaks can cause flooring to buckle and warp, tiles to crack, and ruin carpet.
  • Foundation – Your foundation’s made of concrete and steel. Water pressure around the foundation and a slab leak can cause your foundation to crack or collapse completely.
  • Sewer – The health issues from mold are nothing when compared to health risks associated with sewage leaks. If a slab leak cracks sewer plumbing, this can constitute an emergency.
  • Structural – If the strength of the foundation is weakened from a slab leak, the integrity of your home’s structure is compromised.
  • Yard – Yard flooding as a result of a slab leak can ruin your landscaping and lead to additional outside damage.

The financial impacts of a slab leak can range from a minor plumbing repair cost to thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. The worst-case scenario is a slab leak ruining the foundation and destroying the home’s structural integrity, making it unlivable.

Repair Options

Necessary repairs depend on the type of slab leak, its location, and the amount of damage your property has suffered. Repairs may include:

  • Localized – If caught early, a slab leak can be small. If the pipe is in good shape and there’s been little-to-no damage, the repair can focus on replacing the leaking area. Sometimes the interior of the pipe can be sealed without breaking into the foundation.
  • Repipe – When the plumbing pipes are deteriorating, repiping the entire house fixes the current problem and prevents future leaks and expensive damages.
  • Reroute – If the pipe is old and damaged, you may want to shut/seal it off and install new pipe to be rerouted.

Slab Leak Prevention and Repair

It’s rare to find a plumbing company with strong community ties, years of experience, and also technologically savvy. In the Dallas area of Texas, that company is Staggs Plumbing

Since 1990, we’ve lived and worked in North Central Texas. We care about our neighbors and support local businesses. We have an A+ BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating.

Staggs Plumbing can provide plumbing service for slab leaks and:

Our reputation depends on customer satisfactionyour satisfaction with our work ethics, quality, and price. Call 972-379-4000 or contact Staggs Plumbing with questions. Information and quotes are free.