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Why a Post-Tension Slab Leak Is Such a Challenge to Repair

Why a Post-Tension Slab Leak Is Such a Challenge to Repair

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Does your home sit on a post-tension slab? If so, a slab leak could be difficult for you to fix. This article explains why a post-tension slab leak is a challenging repair job.

Slab leaks are one of the most involved plumbing repairs that we handle at Custom Plumbing. When your home is built on a post-tension slab foundation, though, things get even more complicated.

Why? Well, we’ll get to that.

First, let’s explore what this type of slab foundation is, how to tell if your home has one, and why you should never cut through it to fix a plumbing issue.

Not sure if your home has this type of foundation? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a post-tension slab?

The purpose of a post-tension slab is to reduce building costs in areas with expansive or otherwise poor soil conditions. The idea is that this type of foundation spreads the weight of the home over a larger area. Whereas a regular slab puts most of the weight on footings, a post-tension slab puts some of the weight on the slab itself.

How to Identify It

If you are unsure whether your home falls into this category, there are a few ways to tell. Look for these signs before doing any repairs under the slab:

  • Look for a stamp in the concrete that identifies the post-tension slab (usually near the garage door or another easily noticeable location).
  • In older homes, check for an identifying sign attached to the wall in the garage.
  • If no signs are visible on your home, you can also check your home’s building plans.
  • You may also be able to see signs of a post-tension slab on the outside of your foundation. Look for circular concrete patches about two to four feet apart.

Once you figure out what type of foundation your home has, you should still wait to start work on a slab leak. Here’s why.

Never Cut This Type of Slab

Some leaks under a home’s slab require cutting through the slab to access the broken pipe. You should NEVER cut through a post-tension slab. The reason is that you could damage or sever one of the cables running through the concrete. Doing so could risk the integrity of the foundation and possibly even cause one of the cables to rip through the foundation and seriously injure someone.

Instead, a trained professional will need to do this to repair a leak.

Tunneling to Repair a Post-Tension Slab Leak

To repair this type of plumbing problem, you will need a professional to tunnel underneath the slab to access the damaged pipe. There are actually some benefits to fixing the problem this way. You won’t damage any of your home’s floors. You won’t lose access to your home while repairs are being completed. By tunneling, you won’t risk introducing mold to the interior of your home.

Think you might have a post-tension slab leak? Stop procrastinating and call us.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions. We are happy to speak to you about what you are experiencing.