Basement Drainage Systems

Homeowners today want basements to be fully livable, multipurpose rooms. As such, basements need to be dry, free of moisture with good air quality.

Keeping Water & Moisture from Entering Your Basement is Essential

To protect the comfort level in your basement, and the air quality, steps must be taken to ensure your basement can be another great living space in your home. Older homes often only planned to use basements for storage, not living or recreation.

Keep Water Away from Your Home or Building

Maintaining a dry home that is free from water entry revolves around some basic principles and ongoing maintenance.

The first step is to ensure that all water falling on your roof is collected into gutters and downspouts.

  • Downspouts should be securely attached & free of debris.
  • The water coming from your downspouts must flow away from the home.
  • Grading must slope away from the home so water that comes out of the downspouts does not trickle back against your foundation walls.

Keep in mind that water must always be controlled for maximum results. Rainfall or snow melt from the roof must be drained away from your foundation walls and the grading on the property must ensure the water does not flow back towards the walls where it can erode the foundation, creating cracks for entry.

Make sure you have a drainage plan for water on your property such that water is never pooling against your foundation walls.

Effective Drainage

Drainage is the most basic principle of exterior waterproofing. You never want to see water pooling against your foundation wall, or trickling against your home. Extend the length of your downspouts if they are too short and not able to push water away from your home without it coming back. If extending the downspouts doesn’t work, consider adjusting the grading of your yard. Water needs to slope away from your home towards a sewer, ditch or other drainage location, such as front, rear or side yards.

Professional Tip: Sump pumps are also useful for pumping water out that collects around your home that would otherwise saturate the ground and put hydrostatic pressure against your foundation and basement floor.

Weeping Tile Systems

Weeping Tiles, also known as footing drains, are an efficient solution to collect water in your basement. These systems can be installed on the exterior of your foundation, or along the interior of your basement. Both systems collect water and allow it to move away from your home. Exterior weeping tile will require excavation around your home’s foundation and are a more expensive option. Interior weeping tile requires cutting into your basement floor in order to make your basement a more useable living space.

Regardless, water must be moved away from your home to a set drainage point, such as a drainage ditch, sewer or sump pit. Exterior weeping tiles ensure that water is drained down to the footing, collected into pipes and moved towards the set drainage point so that it does not accumulate against your foundation wall, causing hydrostatic pressure, or seek entry into your basement.

Dealing With Water Runoff From the Roof

Rainwater or melting snow from the roof poses a hazard to your foundation if it is not properly drained away from the home. Downspouts are a necessary tool for collecting water and moving it off of the roof, but they must be attached properly and aimed away from the home so that water does not flow back onto the foundation.

Uneven grading, or a hilly property, pose challenges to proper drainage of roof runoff. Consider adjusting the grading of your property to ensure that water flows away from your foundation.

Dry wells are another option for collecting water if you cannot ensure it will flow away from the home on its own. Downspout extenders are also available if you just need more length to get the water away from your home and to where grading can start to take the water through the use of gravity.

Water is the enemy of your Home’s Foundation

Since water is the enemy of your home’s foundation, know that it does not matter what kind of foundation you have for water to be a threat. Stone, brick, slab on grade, cement or block foundations are all susceptible to water damage and should all be protected with proper grading and moving of water away from the foundation. This is true regardless if your basement is finished, unfinished, a crawl space, or you have a slab on grade with no basement. Water will always find a way to cause problems for your home’s foundations if it is not dealt with properly.

French Drain Systems

Outdoor French drains move water away from your foundation and to a set point where it won’t pose a threat to your home. This includes a sewer, drainage ditch, dry well or catch basin system.

Interior Drain Systems are effective

Based simply on a ditch system, these are effective systems based on gravity for collecting water and moving it to a set drainage point where it cannot accumulate to damage your home.

If water sits in your basement or flows down the walls to accumulate, it can easily lead to mold if it sits for a period of time. If your basement has a musty smell or visible signs of water, consider where the entry points of water are and talk to our team about your options for waterproofing.

The Dangers of Groundwater

Hydrostatic pressure is the buildup of water in the surrounding soils around your home, which will eventually push onto your foundation wall or up through the basement floor. Any cracks will feel the pressure of this water building and result in enlargement of the crack and eventual water entry. For these reasons, groundwater must always be drained properly in order to protect your foundation and your home.

What Should I do About it?

Drainage is the best option for dealing with water around your home’s perimeter. Footing drains, coupled with a waterproofing membrane, are a great way to move water from the surrounding soils, down to the footing drain, and away to a set drainage point.

Weeping tile systems do this well, as long as they are properly installed with filters above the perforated pipe to avoid clogging. Waterproofing membranes work in tandem with weeping tile systems by moving water down where it can be collected in the pipes and moved away from the home.