Installing Exterior Drain Tile

Improper drainage around a home can lead to real problems for a foundation. As the soil around a foundation becomes saturated, it can put pressure on the foundation, which can cause cracking. Furthermore, water can seep through a foundation and cause problems for the interior of a home. In order to keep water away from your foundation, you can use exterior drain tile or PVC pipe to direct runoff and groundwater away from your foundation.

Step One: Digging a Trench

To direct water away from your home, you should build a French drain. The first step in the process is to dig a trench along the exterior of a home. This trench should have a slope of at least 1% so that the water in the trench will run in the direction you want it to run rather than simply pooling up.

To get the right slope in your trench, drive a stake at both ends of your trench, run a string between the two stakes and use a level to make sure that the string is level. Next, measure the length of your trench and multiply this number by .01. Thus, if you have a trench that is fifty feet long, you multiply by .01 to get .5. Multiply this number by 12 inches. In a fifty foot trench, the lower end of your trench should be six inches lower than the upper end. 

Step 2: Creating the Drain

Once you have your trench in place, your work is not done. You will first need to lay a perforated pipe in the bottom of your trench. In years past, people used a piece of clay tile called an exterior drain tile instead of the perforated PVC pipe, but there is no need for the tile if you have access to PVC pipe. Once you have your drain in place, fill the trench with gravel. You now have a French drain that will keep water away from your foundation. 

If you have a problem with runoff and ground water, you can usually take care of the problem on your own. While digging a French drain is tough work, you really don't need special tools or training to dig a hole, lay down a section of perforated pipe and cover it with gravel. Thus, it is well within the range of a do-it-yourselfer to protect a home from the dangers of excess water. 

For more information, or if you would like professional assistance, contact Rite-Way Waterproofing or a similar company.