Repiping a House built on a Slab: What You Need to Know
If the pipes in your present home or the one you recently bought have started to corrode, leak, or face other issues, you may need to replace your pipes.
Repiping isn’t easy and can be more challenging if your home is built on a concrete slab foundation. Plumbing pipes typically run through the basement of houses, but a home built on a concrete slab foundation has no basement.
Before you tackle the job, keep reading to find out what you need to know about repiping a house on a concrete slab foundation, including:
- What it means to repipe a house
- How long it takes
- How to recognize the signs you need new plumbing pipes
- What happens if you don’t repipe your home
- Cost to repiping a house built on a slab
Then you can proceed secure in your knowledge that you understand the process, benefits, and the need to hire a professional plumbing company to complete the work to avoid potential issues.
What is Repiping A House?
When you repipe a house built on a slab, you replace at least the supply pipes in the slab.
Water supply pipes – as the name suggests – deliver potable (drinkable) water to your home’s faucets. Over time, pipes can become rusty, or degrade, wear out and require replacement. Repiping typically refers to replacing and possibly rerouting water supply lines, not the sewer line.
You can hire a plumber to fix only the sections that are leaking, broken or damaged. Patching, or a single line repair, can save time and money and fix only the immediate water leak problem. Once one pipe fails, often, the rest of your water system is soon to follow.
During a house renovation, you may choose to repipe. This can help prevent future water damage. It can also save money and stress down the line.
When you choose to repipe your house, you have choices in pipes. You can use:
Copper piping – Copper piping remains the priciest option to repipe a whole house. Copper has a high resale value, so be careful that your piping inventory is not stolen. You may consider other types of water pipes to reduce costs.
PEX Pipe – PEX pipes, made from polyethylene, offer a flexible option that some homeowners may choose for smaller plumbing jobs or DIY tasks. You can connect PEX pipes to existing water lines for patching jobs. PEX pipes have temperature limitations, so check before you install them
PVC – Like PEX, PVC remains an affordable and easy to use option. You can use PVC to replace old pipes in DIY jobs. PVC, like PEX pipes, have temperature limitations, so check before you install them.
How The Repiping Process Works
Repiping a house built on a slab presents unique challenges compared to repiping a house with a basement or even a crawlspace. Many plumbing service providers may choose to reroute existing pipes that are located in a slab. Rerouting them, outside along walls or through walls or ceilings.
Some regions may not permit repiping through a concrete slab foundation unless an engineer is engaged. When rerouting may be your only option, it is recommended to work with a plumbing service that understands the complicated logistics of rerouting pipes.
You may want to understand the process before hiring a professional plumbing company. Repiping a house on a concrete slab typically requires several steps.
- Determine if there is reinforcing built into the slab. A reinforced slab presents possible engineering challenges that may be expensive or rule out cutting or breaking into the slab.
- Acquire all permits necessary to do the work if required. (Your plumbing company should assist with this step).
- Shut off the water supply lines.
- The team of plumbing technicians will reroute new pipes through walls or attic spaces. This often requires cutting into drywall, floors, or ceilings. Your home may require extensive renovation following a repipe.
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5 Signs You Need To Repipe Your House
You may need to repipe a house that is built on a slab for several reasons.
Low Water Pressure
Over time, galvanized pipes, corrode and a build-up of rust can accumulate on the inside of the pipe. With less room for the water to flow thru, you will experience low water flow.
Rusty or Yellow Water
Discolored water could be a sign of pipe deterioration and corrosion. It may be an indication you need help from repipe specialists.
Your pipes may show signs of wear. If you can inspect the outside of visible pipes for signs of:
If you see any of these signs on the outside of your pipes, they are probably occurring within the pipes too.
Water leaks can cause significant water damage, leading to pricey repairs and remodeling costs.
Additionally, if your pipes experience pinhole leaks within your walls or your home’s concrete slab foundation, you may note an increase in your water bills. You can also check your water meter to see if it’s showing higher readings than usual.
If your water bills recently increased or your water meter is spiking, examine faucets and visible pipes for leaks. Consider hiring a plumber to assist with leak detection and potentially solve the problem by repiping your home. Or you can consider pipe restoration, restoring your pipes in-place.
Leaks can also cause your water heater to run more than it has to, to keep up. This can drive up not only your water bill but increase your energy use.
Water leaks don’t always represent a problem with the pipes. Leaking taps such as the outside hose bib and inside faucets may require new washers or even replacement..
Older pipes can cause any of the problems listed above. If your home is undergoing a renovation or remodel, you may want to consider repiping a house built on a slab during the construction project. It’s easier to replace pipes inside walls before hanging drywall.
Brass and copper pipes tend to last 80 to 100 years. Galvanized steel may only last 70 to 80 years. PVC and polybutylene pipes, introduced in the ’70s, haven’t proven to stand the test of time, yet.
Water supply lines are under constant pressure and even a small leak can cause significant water damage. Being proactive with repiping during a renovation can help you save time, stress, and money down the line.
Lead, Galvanized, or Polybutylene Pipes
If your house uses lead pipes, galvanized pipe, or polybutylene pipes, you should consider new piping.
Galvanized pipes can rust, over time, leaching metals into your water supply.
Similarly, polybutylene pipes, PEX and CPVC may weaken over time due to exposure to chlorine and other chemicals in drinking water. Ultimately, these pipes may eventually leak.
Lead pipes should always be replaced or protected with ePIPE for the health of a home’s occupants. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that no amount of lead in drinking water is safe, especially for children.
Can Slab Leaks Cause Permanent Home Damage?
When you experience pinhole leaks or worse in your concrete slab home, the damage can accumulate over time. Slab leaks can cause repairable damage, including:
- Cracked walls and baseboards
- Water pooling in the home or on your property
- Damp spots on walls, ceilings, and floors caused by water leaks
- Rot of damped wood areas
In addition to cosmetic damage to your home, a slab leak can cause permanent damage that’s costlier to repair.
Mold and Mildew
Water leaks that seep into drywall, carpeting, and floors can cause mold and mildew. Not only does mold ruin the look of your home, it can be dangerous. Mold can cause breathing and other health problems.
If you’re allergic to mold or mildew, you’re likely to experience a runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, and even a rash. Those with asthma may experience more frequent attacks. Even if you’re not allergic, prolonged exposure to mold can cause these symptoms. Once mold appears, you may need to replace carpeting, drywall, and other surfaces that have developed mold.
Damaged tiles and wet carpeting can be easily replaced. Warped hardwood floors may be more expensive to repair. Damaged flooring can also cause damage to the subfloor, which introduces even costlier renovation expenses.
Structural Damage to the Home’s Concrete Slab Foundation
Worst of all, undetected slab leaks can cause wood rot and structural damage to your home’s foundation. Depending on the type of soil beneath your home, leaks can cause soil to wash away, leaving your concrete slab foundation with no solid ground beneath it.
If your area has clay soil, water leaks can cause the ground to expand, pushing on the foundation above it. This bulging earth stresses the concrete slab foundation, leading to cracks and in some cases failure of your home’s foundation.
Benefits of Coating Pipes with ePIPE
Rather than repiping a house built on a slab, many homeowners have opted to coat pipes with an approved epoxy service provider. This money-saving technique adds years to the life of your pipes, without expensive home re-construction costs.
Our minimally invasive, patented ePIPE process can help prevent costly water damage caused by slab leaks. Rather than taking a week or longer to repipe a concrete slab home, the ePIPE coating process can typically be completed in a little as a day.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of coating pipes with epoxy.
Our patented proven ePIPE epoxy coating process uses an approved engineered resin that takes just two hours to cure. Our plumbing specialists can have your water back on the same day.
Works on All Types of Pipes
Our ePIPE coating is code approved for application to both metallic and non-metallic pipes. Epoxy coating lead (Pb) pipes reduces dangerous lead and other heavy metals from leaching into your home’s water supply. As a barrier coating it reducest blocks rusting and corrosion of pipes, eliminating water discoloration and debris in the water that can come from unprotected pipes.
Prevents Costly Water Damage from Slab Leaks
Epoxy coating prevents slab leaks, pinhole leaks and pipe corrosion, helping you avoid costly water damage to your home’s slab.
Avoids Damage to Your Home’s Walls, Floors, and Ceilings
Not only is repiping a house built on a slab costly, it can result in ripping out a home’s walls, floors, and ceiling. After paying for a repipe, you’ll also face the costs of home repair, re-construction. The epoxy coating process is designed to minimize damage to your home.
Cost To Repipe A House On A Slab
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