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What is Under-slab tunneling? (Definition, Process, and Cost)

Is your plumbing leaking underneath your home? Are you trying to avoid your home being filled with dust, debris, and workers? Well, under slab tunneling is the repair for you. This method allows for any repairs that need to be done underneath a home to be completed with no mess in the house. 

At Anchor Foundation, we have been making repairs around our customer’s home for over 30 years. Always having our customer’s best interest in mind during our repairs is what we do—making under-slab tunneling a specialty of ours! 

Although Anchor Foundation will not fix the plumbing problem that has occurred underneath your slab, we will make it accessible and keep the future stability of your home a priority. 

Our process allows for a mess-free safe environment that will ensure your home’s stability in the future. 

This article will talk more about what under-slab tunneling is, what does it cost, and why so many homeowners should consider under-slab tunneling. 

What is Under Slab Tunneling?

Tunneling is a fast and easy way to fix major plumbing problems underneath a home without creating a big mess in the house. The excavated tunnel allows the plumber to access the plumbing underneath of the home from the outside rather than inside. 

The most common issue needing repair are drain lines leaking underneath the foundation. Using the under-slab tunneling method allows for the repairs to be made and is non-invasive to the homeowner making your life easier during the process. 

Why use Under-Slab Tunneling?

One of the main benefits of using under-slab tunneling is that there is no mess inside the home when repairing a plumbing issue. For homeowners who have had the unfortunate experience of having plumbing fixed without tunneling know how intrusive and dirty the process truly is. 

The words that best describe what a home looks like while having portions of the foundation removed is a war zone! There are other repair methods for fixing plumbing leaks below a home. However, all will involve a mess!

On top of having the mess in your home, however long the repair takes will be how long you have to live with that massive hole in the floor. Using under-slab tunneling prevents these problems. 

Under-slab tunneling moves the mess and war zone outside! Yes, outside of your home. Under-slab tunneling allows the plumber to move freely underneath the foundation of a home to make the needed repairs. 

How does Under Slab Tunneling work?

When a foundation repair crew performs the work, under-slab tunneling is a safe and effective way to fix any of a home’s underground plumbing issues. Once the plumber knows and locates the point of failure, the work can begin. 

Step 1: Digging the Tunnel

The first step in tunneling is digging straight down to get underneath the beam of the home. Depending on the home’s age, the team will dig a vertical hole from 3 to 6 feet deep, allowing the crew to establish a point of entry for the tunnel to turn horizontal and penetrate under the foundation’s beam. 

Once underneath the beam, the tunnel MUST return to vertical to clear out the dirt immediately under the slab! Then and only then can the tunnel safely be continued to reach the point of failure.

The tunnel is then cleaned out, and now is a 3 foot by 3-foot path to the break in the drain line, allowing plenty of room for the plumber and any tools needed for the repair. This is where the tunneling team’s job is done until the completion of the plumbing problem. 

Step 2: Repairing the Plumbing Problem

Typically within 24 hours of the plumber making the needed repairs and testing all the drain lines in the area to ensure the quality of repair, the tunneling crew will return to backfill the previously dug tunnel and fill in the hole correctly. This is where the benefit of having a foundation repair company do the tunneling comes in. 

Step 3: Filling in the Tunnel

A foundation repair company tunneling underneath your home will have the right mindset for the future stability of your home’s foundation.  With this in mind, the team will begin to fill in the tunnel with the excavated fill that was previously removed.

Once the tunnel is backfilled and the start hole sealed off, the final step of mud pumping the tunnel begins. Mud pumping is pumping a combination of Portland Cement, sifted topsoil, and water at high pressure under the slab. This process allows for even the smallest void to be filled correctly and provides proper support to the concrete slab foundation. 

This final step is one of the most important to ensure that there will be no future failures in the foundation and allow for a complete repair to the home. 

*Warning: do not attempt at home. Only let trained professionals dig below the foundation of your home. 

How much does under-slab tunneling cost?

Like many repairs needed around the home, the cost will vary depending on each situation. Most commonly, under-slab tunneling is priced by the foot. The price per foot is a great place to start when looking at the cost of tunneling. 

Expect the price of tunneling per foot to be in the $200-$500 range. Now this price point will vary from company to company and location to location. These individual circumstances make pricing for tunneling frequently fluctuate depending on the cost of materials as well.

The price will vary based on the amount of repair needed to be done to the home. For this example, take a traditional hall bathroom. 

If every fixture in this sized bathroom needs to be replaced in the bathroom, the repair cost could be anywhere between $3,000-$4,000. This price is based on the local area of Bryan/College Station and common repairs that are done. 

Is under-slab tunneling right for me?

Understandably, under-slab tunneling is more beneficial to some homeowners than others.  As stated earlier, one significant advantage is no mess and no tearing up of the floor of the home. This allows for homeowners who have recently renovated their flooring a perfect solution to unseen problems. 

Newly renovated homes will benefit the most from under-slab tunneling. In contrast, a homeowner that is maybe renovating or planning to renovate in the future could benefit from traditional plumbing repairs because of cost savings. 

No matter if you are renovating, plan on renovating, or just don’t want your home to look like a war zone, under-slab tunneling may be right for you. The benefit of living naturally while having a vital repair done to your home is unmatched.

In need of a Foundation Fix?

If you think you might need under-slab tunneling to reach out to us! Although Anchor Foundation does not fix plumbing issues, we can recommend some great plumbers in the area we have worked with and understand our process and the importance of doing the job the right way for you AND your home. 

At Anchor, we cover multiple types of foundation repair ranging from house leveling, mudjacking, slab on grade, and of course, our under-slab tunneling. Our goal is to provide the homeowner with the best possible repair for now and the future. 

Along with providing excellent repairs, we also want to offer great information. If you are experiencing any signs of foundation damage or need any other repair, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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