Hand digging tunnels (tunneling) under a home foundation is hard, dirty work. But we feel it is the best way to access the damaged under slab sewer lines. We seldom use jackhammers to breakout the slab foundation from above. Below are the primary reasons we use tunneling as an access method.
Advantages of Tunneling
1) Eliminates the need for jack hammers to crack open the home’s slab foundation (breakouts), which could weaken the strength and integrity of the foundation; this is particularly true for older and / or smaller slab foundations that have no interior concrete beams
2) The homeowner and family can remain and live in the house during most of the repairs
3) Eliminates the indoor mess and flooring repairs
4) Plumber is able to replace the old sewer and waste water drain lines with new ones
Key Points About Tunneling
The cost of tunneling is comparable to any other access method
If the under slab plumbing system is old and is concrete or cast iron, then it is probably best to replace the entire under slab drain line system
The most important part of tunneling is replacing the soil (backfill) under the slab foundation. It has to be done properly, and with a mud slurry to fill voids, to provide continuous support to the slab foundation.
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