5 Options for Your Basement Drainage System

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    Is your basement always damp? If so, it is time to consider waterproofing solutions.

    A wet basement may prevent you from enjoying the additional space in your house. It can also turn into a giant petri dish where unhealthy molds and fungi thrive.

    Since a basement is subject to leaking at some point, you must prepare adequately to deal with excess water.

    Having a reliable drainage system for your basement involves knowing what to choose. Read on to learn the 5 basement drainage system options to choose from.

    1. French Drain

    This is the most common drainage system homeowners use to drive water away from their basements. This method uses perforated pipes to remove any groundwater and surface water that might be on its way into your basement.

    A French drain can effectively redirect surface water and groundwater from your foundation. However, it has its own disadvantages. Some of the common problems with French drain systems include:

    Difficult to Install

    French drain installation can solve the wet basement problem. However, this requires digging around your home’s foundation, which leads to the destruction of shrubs, flower beds, walkways, decks, porches, buried gas pipes, electrical cables, and sewer pipes.


    The French drain pipe can also get clogged with silt, sediment, and other debris, causing water to overflow or seep into the basement. Unclogging pipes can be expensive and requires massive digging.

    It Is Expensive to Maintain

    After installing a French drain, laying soil against the foundation settles and becomes rigid. To keep your pipes effective, you need to re-grade after every 10 years.

    If unsuitable, other French drain alternatives can be a solution, like the surface drainages system, which also collects water flowing across the surface and directs it away from the foundation.

    2. Curtain Drains

    A curtain drain system is ideal if water stagnates in your yard.

    Though curtain drain servers serve the same purpose as French drains, they are built in an underground slanted trench. Thus, their main difference is location, but they both help divert water away from your basement.

    Curtain drains are always effective for homes that always experience water issues. If water usually collects in your yard when it rains, and you have nowhere to go, a curtain drain might be the perfect solution.

    But how do you know that you need curtain drains and not French drains?

    Consider curtains drain if your yard flood due to sitting water and a French drain if your home is at risk of flooding due to water flowing in the wrong direction during storms. However, you must consult a professional to determine whether your home requires above-the-ground or under-the-ground drainage.

    3. Exterior Drain Tiles

    This drainage system is effective when you want to cover all water sources in your home. That may include overflowing gutters, downspout extensions, and heavy rains.

    Like French drains, it redirects groundwater before it gets near your home. Furthermore, exterior basement waterproofing protects your basement wall from damage by preventing water leakage.

    Exterior drain tiles are installed at a shallow depth to help divert rainwater away from your basement wall. The drain consists of a perforated pipe covered by gravel. However, just like the French drain, it has its pros and cons.

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of an exterior drain.


    Soil drainage and exterior sealant are one. This helps in relieving lateral water pressure against the foundation. It also provides a perfect chance to install an exterior waterproofing membrane, which is beneficial when laying masonry foundations.

    During the installation of the exterior drain, you will continue to use your basement as usual. With no sump pump required, no indoor construction will be needed.


    The only disadvantage of the exterior drain is that excavation can be expensive and messy. A trench needs to be dug around your house. Thus, your exterior may be significantly disrupted and may require redoing.

    4. Interior Drain Tiles

    Contrary to exterior drain tiles, the interior drain system requires installing perforated pipes along the floor and inside the footing to redirect water to a sump pump.

    The pipes are surrounded by washed gravel and covered with filter paper. Furthermore, interior basement waterproofing systems focus on managing water already entering the basement to prevent further water damage.

    Here are the pros and cons of interior drain tile.


    It is the best solution for capturing rising groundwater, relieving hydrostatic pressure, and preventing concrete wall seepage. No other waterproofing solution will be needed when you install this drain system.

    No excavation is needed when installing the interior drain. Installation can be done at any time of the year without digging the yard.

    It also costs less compared to exterior drains.


    It is impractical for a finished basement since it requires removing existing concrete. Thus drain tiles are less feasible.

    During the installation, you will not be able to use your basement.

    It may be less effective for brick and stone foundations. Water may still penetrate through masonry foundations unless you install an exterior sealant.

    To improve unsuitable foundation drainage systems, you can consider options such as installing a basement waterproofing baseboard or a basement gutter system, which can also help collect water entering the basement.

    5. Sump Pumps

    A sump pump is ideal for homes located in an area prone to seasonal storms since it does its job even during power outages.

    It works by pumping water out of the pit and away from your home. It will keep your basement dry and prevent any flood issues. Sump pumps are of two types;

    The Submersible Sump Pumps

    It sits in a large ditch on your basement floor. A floater monitors the water level, triggering the motor to pump when needed.

    The only cons of installing these pumps are that they may require expensive excavation of your foundation. They are also not ideal for finished basements.

    Pedestal Sump Pumps

    It also requires a ditch to be dug in the foundation. However, the motor should be held above the trench. It does not require massive excavation. The only demerit is that it does not solve the primary source of the issue.

    Apart from the five drainage systems mentioned above, there are other solutions for foundation drainage systems, such as the basement waterproofing baseboard, which collects water that enters the basement, or the basement gutter system. There are also other alternatives to French drains, such as the surface drainage system, which collects water that flows across the surface and directs it away from the foundation.

    Choosing the right basement drainage system for your home has several factors to consider, such as the slope of your property, the soil surrounding your foundation, and the severity of the water problems you’re experiencing. It’s advisable to seek the guidance of a professional who can help you determine the most appropriate system for your home

    Choose a Suitable Basement Drainage System for Your Home

    You must make your basement drainage system your priority on your home maintenance list. A sound drainage system will significantly protect against structural damage to your basement walls and foundation. Don’t struggle with repair and maintenance; hire interior basement waterproofing service today.

    At Lux Foundation Solutions, we are the top-rated foundation contractors in Northern and Central Virginia. We provide cost-effective and innovative solutions that will suit your needs. Our goal is to provide the best waterproofing solutions for your walls and foundation.

    Contact us today to schedule an appointment.