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Will a Concrete Leak Dry? – Best Advice, Tested

After we had covered our water leak detection work and found the water leak, as water damage management experts too, we give our customers help and advice with regard to drying the water from the leak. When having that conversation with people, we sometimes get asked “will it dry on its own”.

In this article we will look at a test we did which simulated a concrete leak have to see over a 10 day testing period, the water would dry naturally and if not, how much of the original water from the concrete leak was remaining. The results are very interesting and can be seen in the video later in the article too.

Concrete Leak - Drying
Concrete Leak – Drying on its own?

Concrete Water Leak Drying – Tested

In order to carry out this test, we took a sample of dry concrete and submerged it in water for 24 hours, weighing it before and after. Therefore, any difference in weight is the water that the concrete had absorbed.

Here is the video of the test from our YouTube Channel:

Before the concrete was soaked in water, it weighed 491 grams. A after the 24 hour period in water, it weighed 557 grams. Therefore, an increase of 66 grams, which is 66 millilitres of water. The increase in weight before to after, including the water was 13.4%. We will look at this in more detail later on this test.

Conctete Dry Weight - Before
Conctete Dry Weight – Before ‘Leak’

Drying The ‘Concrete Leak’ Naturally

For the next 10 days, we re-weighed the concrete sample every day at the same time to see how much of the water was evaporating naturally. Just to be clear, when we say ‘naturally’ we mean that no mechanical drying was carried out using dehumidifiers, air movers or heaters.

It is important to note that this test was carried out in the summer of 2022, which as I’m sure many of you will remember was the hottest on record in the UK. This is relevant as in theory, the very warm and dry conditions (with low relative humidity) should be perfect to dry. But would it dry the concrete leak quickly?

Concrete Leak - Measuring Drying over time
Concrete Leak – Measuring Drying over time

Something else to add about the test is the fact that the sample of concrete was exposed, which is to say it was not covered over, in a cavity, under a floor (or floor coverings – like a central heating leak or even underfloor heating pipes leaking), or behind a wall. Plus, very importantly, it had a very large surface area exposed to help drying (relative to a normal concrete leak).

Let’s now take a look to see if the concrete dried naturally over the 10 day period.

Concrete Leak Drying – The Results

As mentioned earlier there were 66 grams of water absorbed into the concrete. The chart below shows how much of that water remained after each day;

As you can see, although there was some drawing of the concrete, progress was slow and after the 10 day period, only 25 grams of the 66 grams of water had evaporated. This leaves 41 grams of the 66 remaining. So that means a remarkable 62.1% of the water was still remaining in apparently ideal natural drying conditions.

Needless to say, this drying would have been even slower in a colder or wetter period of weather, such as seen in winter months. And on top of that, especially if it was covered (for example by tiles) behind a wall etc.

Concrete Leak - Drying
Concrete Leak – Drying Statistics

Of top of that, because that moisture would be remaining, it would be at risk of causing secondary damage too to other items it came into contact with. For example, if you had a leak in a concrete floor with the laminate wooden flooring on top, there’s a high chance that that level of moisture would cause irreparable damage to the flooring and other adjoining materials such as skirtings, door frames, joists etc.

This is another reason why we always say, never ignore a water leak. It is very unlikely it will go away its own, and the risk of secondary damage from the water will progress overtime especially if the leak is active. Catching and finding a water leak early can help prevent this.

For more about this, see our article about trace and access services. Plus on the subject of concrete leaks and drying, an article on pressure drying systems and also our additional remote monitoring solutions.

Concrete Leak – Moisture After ‘Drying’ Time

After we had concluded the experiment, we broke open the concrete sample and you could see visibly that moisture was present especially at the centre / core of the sample.

This can be seen in the picture below using a moisture meter which make great leak detectors too:

Concrete Moisture - Drying
Concrete Moisture – Drying Tested

After a few days that was a noticeable difference in moisture levels, but clearly breaking up concrete materials to help them drive not practical, or cost efficient! Especially as it will need replacing and cause disruption. This also highlights how surface levels on moisture may be very different to within a material, which can be relevant to a leak under house floors.

Concrete Drying – Conclusion

So in conclusion, based on our test and our extensive experience, allowing something to dry naturally is not an effective way to dry something after a water leak.

Not only because the speed of drying is much slower, but also combined with this, it helps to greatly reduce the risk of secondary damage. Plus finally, remember that natural drying allowing the water to evaporate, will likely increase relative humidity in the air, which poses other risks such as mould problems forming.

When we use our professional driving equipment, whether or not that is refrigerant or desiccant dehumidifier as part of that, the area is not only dried affectively, but the moisture is also extracted through either vented extraction (desiccants) or pumped out automatically (refrigerants).

Plus on top of this different drying methods can be applied to different materials locations environments etc. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach to drawing properties after a water leak, we tailor the service according to a number of factors. For example, drying an insulated concrete floor, would be different too drying a plasterboard ceiling or wooden floorboards. this is coupled with the fact that, trying can be targeted (i.e. focused and contained) to a specific area of peril following a leak.

We provide a number of water damage services, we can help you deal with this.

Concrete Leak Drying – Top Tip
“Don’t expect water leaks to remedy themselves or the water damaged they have caused to your property to dry naturally. This is especially the case with large and concealed / covered water leaks as there is less likelihood of evaporation occurring to dry the materials”

Leak Detection Team

Concrete Leaks – Other Useful Information

Here are a few other articles related to this subject that you may find useful to review too:

If you have a water leak contact our friendly and experienced team for help.

Rainbow Restoration Leak Detection
Rainbow Restoration – Leak Detection

How do you fix concrete leaks?

Underground Water Leak - Yorkshire

Before fixing a concrete leak there are three very important things to understand. Firstly, is it actually a leak or something else? It could be another issue. Secondly, if it is actually a concrete leak, where is it located? That is where leak detection experts like us can come in. Finally, what damage has the leak done, which is where our water damage management expertise also comes in. Once you understand these things, then you can think about repairing the leak.

Why is water seeping up through my concrete?

Plumbing Leak - Guide, York - Yorkshire.

Water seeping up through a concrete floor can have a number of causes, sometimes in combination with each other. It could be a water leak that is causing the problem (and even then there are many types of leak it could be!). Alternatively, it could be a structural issue with the property, possibly combined with high levels of water (ground water or other things0 that are letting the water into your property. Water damage management experts will help diagnose this.

At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are experts in Leak Detection, including business water leaks, so if you need help finding a water leak or getting your property back to normal after a water damage or a flood, get in touch with our friendly local team who will be happy to help you with this. We are based in York and help with water leak detection in York.

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