Slab Leak Repair Ottawa: What You Need to Know

A large pipe spraying water over a nearby concrete foundation from a small leak in the side of the pipe wall.
Plumbing systems are modern marvels that most Ottawa homeowners tend to take for granted, right up until an unpleasant plumbing problem occurs. You use your plumbing every day, sometimes dozens of times per day, and rely heavily on it to supply fresh water and keep your home sanitary, which is why it can be so aggravating and stressful when it doesn't work as it should. And while no one in Ottawa enjoys dealing with a plumbing disaster, it's even worse when you know there is a problem that needs leak repair service, but "what" and "where" are a total mystery.

If you suspect a slab or foundation leak, it is critical that you get professional leak repair services from a qualified Ottawa plumber. A slab leak can cause severe damage to your property and even compromise the structural integrity of the entire building. But what is it, exactly? How do you know if you need slab leak repair? And what will your local plumbers do to fix it?

First, don't panic! We have answers to your Ottawa slab leak repair questions from the experienced plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa. When you need slab, foundation, or basement leak repair services, you can rely on our team of skilled Ottawa plumbers. We have decades of experience with slab leak repair in Ottawa and can get your system running smoothly again, quickly, and efficiently.

What is a Slab or Foundation Leak?

Most Ottawa homes are built over top of a concrete slab. Even if you don't have a basement, your house is probably sitting on a concrete foundation—and underneath that slab, there are buried pipes that are part of your home's plumbing system. Some people assume the pipes are encased in concrete, but they aren't. They are underneath the concrete buried in the substrate.

Both sewer lines to carry wastewater away from your house and water lines to bring fresh water into your house are underneath the foundation slab. While they are extremely durable and long-lasting, they can't withstand everything, and without proper maintenance and repair, they will eventually develop a hole or crack that necessitates leak repair. Those active pipe leaks are called slab or foundation leaks, which are essentially the same thing.

Basement Leak Repair

A basement water leak in Ottawa can also fall into this category because the water seeping out underneath the slab often has nowhere to go but up. It can cause water to make its way through cracks in your foundation wall to create a noticeable problem in your basement. But basement leak repair may also be the solution to a basement leak that has nothing to do with the slab, where part of your indoor plumbing is dripping into the basement.

Commercial Slab Leak Repair

It's worth noting that foundation leaks don't just affect residential homes in Ottawa. A commercial building is equally as susceptible to needing slab leak repair, which can cause serious problems for a business owner, including work stoppages, health code violations, and severe property damage. Our team of professional plumbers is well-versed in commercial and industrial slab leak repair in Ottawa.

What Are the Signs You Need Slab Leak Repair in Ottawa?

It can be notoriously difficult to determine if your property needs slab leak repair because there often aren't as many obvious, outward signs of a problem. Or, there may be noticeable symptoms, but homeowners don't always realize they are related to a foundation leak repair problem. Being aware of the potential signs of trouble and acting on them by calling your Ottawa plumber right away can save you a lot of time, money, and stress. Here are slab leak repair symptoms every Ottawa property owner should know about:

  • Increased Charges on Water Bill: This is often the first thing people in Ottawa notice when they have an issue with their water line. You have to pay for your fresh water supply, and one small crack in your line can waste a huge amount of water, which is then reflected as a higher charge on your monthly utility bill. This won't occur with a sewer line problem, though.
  • Warped or Buckling Flooring: As we mentioned above, sometimes liquid from a buried fissure has nowhere to go but up, and it can get far enough to cause an issue with your flooring material such as warped hardwood, bubbling vinyl, or heaving tiles.
  • Sediment in Drinking Water: If you find particles of dirt or rust in your water, it's not necessarily an issue with Ottawa's water supply. It could be a crack in your line letting dirt and sediment into your water, or it could be that the inside of your pipe has corroded.
  • Fluctuating Water Pressure: Have you noticed that your water pressure seems just fine one moment, but the next time you turn on the tap, the pressure is reduced? This is an unpleasant problem—after all, no one wants to shower under a trickle of water or try to wash dishes with a feeble little stream—and it can be the result of a hidden crack or hole that needs slab leak repair.
  • Hot Spots on Floor: Is one area of your floor strangely warmer than the rest? The majority of slab leaks occur in the hot water line, and that hot water can radiantly heat up the concrete slab and, by extension, warm your floor in certain places.
  • Water Pooling Along Foundation: There shouldn't be puddles of water pooling alongside the exterior of your foundation. If you notice puddles right up against the foundation or nearby, it will need further investigation and immediate correction. It may or may not be a sign of a foundation leak, but it may be caused by grading or landscaping problems. Either way, it must stop.
  • Foundation Heaving or Sinking: This is the most severe and troubling problem that can result from a foundation leak. Leaking water eats away at the soil underneath the concrete slab, which can cause part of your house to begin sinking into the ground. It's also possible for concrete to swell from the excessive moisture and heave your house upwards. Either of these scenarios is terrifying and can cause serious structural problems. You may notice cracks in your foundation or even in the walls and ceiling inside the house as the structure begins to come apart because it's not being properly supported anymore. This is an advanced problem that indicates the leak has been going on for quite some time.

What Causes the Need for Slab Leak Repair in Ottawa?

Wondering why the problem even occurred in the first place? It can be difficult to discover an issue requiring Ottawa slab leak repair, but it may also be hard to tell exactly what caused it. What happens under that huge block of concrete is a mystery to most—but the trusted team at Mr. Rooter will be able to determine a probable cause once we complete a thorough system inspection. We can then offer you an educated recommendation on the best solution for getting your plumbing lines working properly again and preventing serious damage. Here are a few of the most common reasons for needing leak repair in Ottawa.

Aging System

Plumbing systems in Ottawa are generally built to last, and they can often go decades without needing repair or replacement for buried sewer and water lines. But they aren't impervious to the effects of aging. Over time, the constant wear and tear deteriorates pipes and can cause a fissure to develop. However, it is possible to drastically extend the lifespan of your system with regular professional maintenance. Expert drain cleaning and pipe cleaning, along with other repair and maintenance techniques, will help you avoid problems for much longer. Many benefits come with annual plumbing system maintenance in Ottawa.

Tree Root Intrusion

While this isn't necessarily common knowledge outside of the plumbing industry, it is a big problem that can seriously impact plumbing lines in Ottawa. You may not even have any trees on your property, but neighboring trees can have surprisingly far-reaching roots that wrap themselves around buried pipes. They constrict as they grow, eventually with enough force to crack the pipe. Once the roots get inside and touch water, they begin to grow rapidly, filling the pipe and pushing it further apart from the inside and partially or completely blocking the flow of water. Tree roots cause many problems, including sewer back-ups, clogged pipes, and inadequate water supply.

Frozen Pipes

This is an issue most people in Ottawa have heard of, if not dealt with directly. While freezing doesn't affect buried lines as much as you may think because the ground itself supplies some thermal energy to prevent freezing past a couple of feet, it can still be a problem sometimes. There is always some standing water in your pipes, and if that water freezes during a winter cold snap, it could expand and create enough internal pressure to bust the pipe open and cause a situation that requires professional slab leak repair services.

Shifting Soil

All houses shift and settle over time, and your plumbing system should be designed to accommodate that reality. But shifting soil can be caused by other factors such as earth tremors, nearby heavy construction, or renovations. A sudden shift could cause pipes to grind against each other or something else and break.

How Do Plumbers Handle Slab Leak Repair in Ottawa?

If you get the news that your Ottawa property does indeed require slab leak repair services, you might be picturing a time-consuming, expensive process. After all, the problem is literally buried under a concrete slab with your house sitting on top—and that sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, the repair process is probably not going to be as bad as you imagine. Our team uses state-of-the-art equipment and modern techniques that are a lot less invasive and time-consuming than old-fashioned methods. With our trenchless pipe repair and pipe replacement techniques, we can usually restore your plumbing system back to full function within one day, and the results will be even more long-lasting and effective than if we dug up the pipes to access them physically.

Pipe Relining

If your lines are still in relatively good condition, your Ottawa plumber may recommend pipe relining as the best option. It involves inserting a flexible "sleeve" through the length of the pipe and then pushing it against the sides of the pipe with an inflatable bladder. The lining cures within a few hours to create a hardened liner inside the existing pipe that is extremely strong and durable. It is also resistant to tree roots and may help to prevent pipe clogs in the future.

Trenchless Pipe Replacement

As the name suggests, trenchless pipe replacement eliminates the need to dig a trench to access your buried pipes—which is particularly great when the issue is actually under concrete instead of just your lawn. If the damage is too severe for relining, or the pipe is old and has multiple failure points, it makes sense to replace it altogether. We accomplish this by using hydraulics to break up the remaining pipe and then thread the new pipe into the space left behind. It usually requires us to dig two small holes, which is much faster and less invasive than conventional methods.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa Can Help with Slab Leak Repair

Whether you are in Lower Town, Vanier, New Edinburgh, or another part of the Ottawa area (including Gatineau), you can depend on the plumbing professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa. We have the slab leak repair solution to get the water flowing again and prevent damage to your property.

Pick up the phone and give us a call today to schedule an appointment or request emergency service for Ottawa plumbing repairs. We are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to deal with plumbing emergencies in Ottawa, so you don't have to struggle alone. Whenever you need us, we'll be there!