What Is Drain Tile?

If you have a wet basement or crawl space, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of drain tile. Drain tile is a piping system that collects water from around your foundation and moves it away from you home. If your drain tile is doing its job properly, you won’t know it’s there. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people are puzzled when they start to notice a water problem.

Drain tile is basically a run of pipe with holes in it that runs horizontally (at a very slight slope) around the perimeter of your house. This pipe is surrounded with rock. The holes let water in so that it can then run toward a city connection or in some cases a rock pit.

Your drain tile basically sets the water table around your home. Without it your basement or crawl space is at risk of flooding and if not dealt with when problems arise, your property will suffer damage and you could start to experience health issues. See the drawing below of a modern day 2 pipe drain system to familiarize yourself.

All of our installations involve the drainage system as well as proper preparation of your foundation. First the foundation is pressure washed, then we apply a paint on rubber membrane to water proof the foundation, dimple board is then applied depending on the area and if it is needed, we then install two-pipe PVC drainage system around the perimeter of the home.

Below we’ve listed the typical steps required to install a new drainage system or replace one or two sides of your perimeter drain tile layout.

  1. Remove any landscaping such as, trees, shrubs or sidewalks to allow easier access to your foundation. This landscaping can be put back. We do all of our own concrete and asphalt patching so there’s no need to get another trade out to do it for you.
  2. Excavate along your foundation down to the homes footing. This is where your drain tile rests.
  3. Pressure wash the foundation wall and repair all cracks. We then apply a paint on rubber proof membrane and then dimple board in some cases If deemed necessary. This depends on where the home sits geologically.
  4. Install perforated 4″ PVC pipe around the perimeter of your foundation and its covered with drain rock.
  5. Install solid 4″ PVC pipe to collect water from down spouts / gutters.
  6. Connect the new PVC pipes to either your existing sump or install a new sump if you don’t have one. From the sump the water will enter the city connection.
  7. Back-fill and replace sidewalks. replace shrubs.

Solutions for drain tile and water-proofing issues

If you have a blockage in your perimeter drainage it might be caused by tree roots, collapsed tiles, debris in the line, etc. It might be that your sump is full and blocking the discharge line. See the Pipe & Sump Cleaning page for more info.

If you have discovered water or moisture in your basement or crawlspace you may have a crack in your foundation.
See the foundation repair and water proofing page for more info.

If your sump pump has failed due to being clogged or as a result of a power outage See the Sump Pumps page for more info.

If you have water coming in to your garage due to your driveway being on a down grade slope please see our Trench & Driveway Drains page for more info.

If you have a water issue in your crawl space or basement we have the latest tools to find the problem and have it diagnosed, usually on the same day of your call. Check out our Camera Investigation page for more detail.


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Groundhog Excavating provides drainage services throughout the Lower Mainland including: Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, Langley, Cloverdale, Aldergrove, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, White Rock and Tsawwassen.

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