Skip to main content

Slab leaks are potentially costly events that damage business premises and lead to expensive repairs. Foundations can shift over time, causing cracks to develop and damage the structure.

Dealing with most commercial plumbing issues is straightforward for property owners. Facilities managers or owners call local plumbing firms and get professionals to come and fix the problem. Blocked toilets and leaky faucets are usually simple jobs.

Unfortunately, slab leaks are more complex. Most often, these occur when an underground pipe (often embedded in concrete) begins to leak and erodes the surrounding soil, or the groundwater table changes dramatically. Over time, water excavates the area, causing adjacent foundations to move and damaging the building’s structure.

Slab leaks are uncommon on newer commercial premises, but they are liable to occur on older properties. Don’t be surprised if you discover a slab leak on buildings with older plumbing or in an area prone to subsidence. Businesses in these locations are at the highest risk of dangerous subterranean leaks.

Fortunately, catching slab leaks sooner can save money in the long term. Identifying the issue before problems become more severe makes fixing the problem less expensive. Less erosion occurs, and foundations don’t move as much.

But what are the warning signs of a slab leak? Let’s take a look.

Heaving Foundations

Heaving from your building’s foundations is a sign of a slab leak. When water leaks into supporting concrete, it can trickle through its structure, causing the material to expand.

If you notice your shop floor is uneven or the ground seems to be bursting through your floors, a slab leak could be the culprit. Late-stage heave can cause irreparable damage to your building, so always call for professional assistance if you notice it. Experienced contractors can identify the source of the heaving and implement techniques to eliminate it.

Increased Water Bills

Another sign of a slab leak at your commercial property is unexplained increases in your water bills. If the money you pay goes up significantly without any change in demand from you, it could indicate a cracked pipe in your building’s slab or foundations.

Water Spots On The Floor

Water damage to your floors may also indicate a slab leak at your commercial premises. Liquid from the leak can come up through the foundation and enter your building from underneath.

Water damage is most conspicuous on carpets because of the smell and discoloration it causes. It is also evident on wood floors because of warping. Damage to vinyl and tiled flooring is less obvious, but if you notice wet underfoot, it could be a sign of leaky pipes or significant drainage issues under your foundations.

Slow-Draining Sinks

Slow-draining sinks are another sign of foundation leaks on your premises. Slab leaks can occur when foundations crush drain pipes, reducing their ability to transport wastewater to sewer mains. Instead, wastewater drains out impeded into the surrounding soil or concrete.

Foul Odor

Related to this, you may also smell a foul odor with slab leaks. Crushed pipes cannot transport wastewater from the commercial premises, causing bad smells.

Slab Leak Detection Equipment Gives A Warning

You may also have a slab leak if detection equipment warns you. These work by draining water from your pipes and pumping air into your premises’s plumbing system. Then, sound equipment uses listening technology to detect the possible location of a leak.

Hiring a professional to use slab leak detection equipment at your premises costs around $150 to $400 per use. However, it is a highly effective way for owners and facilities managers to confirm an issue warranting further work.

Raised Domes On Floors

Finally, you may notice raised domes on your floor, consistent with foundation heave. These form when the water rises just under the foundation surface and causes them to expand.

While they might not sound pleasant, raised domes are one of the most helpful signs of a slab leak, showing you its rough location. Wet utility contractors can probe the area, identify the pipe in question, and insert a new one or other solution.

What To Do If You Believe You Have A Slab Leak At Your Commercial Premises

If you believe you have a slab leak at your commercial premises, immediately turn off the water supply to the building. This prevents any new water from entering the system that could cause additional erosion and damage.

Unfortunately, turning off the master stop cock won’t prevent further erosion when the leak is on the other side of the valve. Hence, calling for an experienced wet utility contractor to assist is also critical. Professionals can be with you in just a couple of hours to identify the issue and implement a solution.