Drain Tile Replacement and Repair

Many of our restoration projects on older homes require the replacement of the drain tile and rain leader systems due to the age of the home. However, a number of clients come to us or are referred to us because they have water seeping into their basements that is causing damage to the drywall, flooring and wall assemblies in their finished basement or Vancouver half basement. In most cases the existing drain tile, which consists of 12” lengths of clay pipe, is either mostly clogged or completely filled with mud. Even some of the drain tile systems installed in the 80’s and 90’s used Big-O pipe, which has now been abandoned as a system because it would often collapse under the weight of the ground above it and clog. In comparison, all modern, residential drain tile systems use extremely tough and durable white PVC pipe. The corners in these systems tend to fail first, while the straight section may still be mostly or partially clear. Often a section or sections of pipe over time will break and collapse under the weight of the ground and clog the system. Certain types of trees can also clog up drain tile systems with their roots. Another common problem has to do with the original installation. Often the original installer used soil or some other compactible materials underneath some of the pipes to add the required slope. Over time the soil or compactible material compacted under the weight of the ground above the pipes and a section or sections of your drain tile now have no slope or even worse are sloping in the opposite direction and have a negative slope. These dips or areas of negative slope fill with mud and debris and clog the system. On a few occasions we have also seen a systems that have been clogged by a young child dropping large stones, a baseball, or other objects into an open drain tile while dad was trying to replace the down pipes from the roof gutters. If you have a clogged or failing drain tile system there are really three options open to you. They are listed below in order of cheapest and least effective to more expensive and most effective.

  1. Hire a plumbing company that uses a high pressure water jet and a camera to flush your drain tile system out.  In our experience this option sometimes works but often has to be repeated every few years. This option will not fix a collapsed pipe and the tool used often has difficulty going around corners. This will not correct issues with negative slope over the long term.
  2. Repair of the broken, blocked, or clogged sections, if they can be found.  Have a camera inspection done and attempt to locate the broken sections. The broken or blocked sections will need to be dug up by hand or with an excavator and then repaired. Sometimes the camera inspection will reveal the sections that need to be repaired, other times the system will be too badly damaged for the camera to get very far or once you have fixed one section you may find another section behind that first section that needs to be repaired that the camera could not reach until you repaired the first section blocking the path/view. This option really has to be weighed against the costs of completely replacing the drain tile system. The cost of replacing the whole system is often cheaper in the long run than making a series of repairs.
  3. Complete replacement of the drain tile system. This is the most effective option and gives your home a completely new system which uses modern more durable materials and redesigned systems that should last far longer than the original system did.

New Modern Drain Tile Systems include:

  1. A larger sump.  The sump also contains a back flow preventer that stops the city storm sewer from backing up into your drain tile system.   The outlet from the sump is connected to the city storm and/or sewer system.    The old system may or may not have had a sump. Sumps are now required by all municipalities to act as a catch basin for dirt and leaves to reduce the amount of solid waste that enters city’s storm sewer system. The size of sump required has been greatly increased in recent years and now the average sump is 3 feet wide by 4-6 feet deep.
  2. A drain tile system that runs around the perimeter of your home.  The system uses four inch perforated PVC  pipe which is glued together at all the joints. The pipe is surrounded by drain rock and industrial strength fabric is placed over the drain rock to slow the rate at which the drain rock will fill up with dirt.
  3. A separate rain-leader system that is connected directly to the sump.  This separate system prevents rainwater from the roof gutters from entering the drain tile system. This system uses solid 4″ PVC pipe which is glued together at all the joints.
  4.  Water Proofing Dimp Board or material. Plastic dimp board, adds a space between the wet ground and the exterior concrete walls of your basement.   The space allows gravity to pull the water directly down to the drain tile before it has a chance to make contact with your concrete wall.  Like the rainscreen system used underneath siding on modern buildings,  it is effectively a gravity trap.  The plastic dimple board is visible in the photo to the right.

Some of these items have definitely added more cost to the replacement of a drain tile system.  However, the largest cost is digging up the entire perimeter of the home. When we install a new drain tile system around a home in Vancouver or any area that has basements it becomes even more important that all pipes have the correct slopes to drain the water away from the foundation.

If you are contemplating adding an addition to your home or have another renovation project that carries drain tile concerns, please rest easy in the knowledge that we can look after your entire project including the drain tile system.

Please feel free to fill out the request a consultation form on our website or give us a call to discuss your new renovation project at: 604-277-5572. We will be happy to meet with you and discuss these options with you in more detail.

Other Drain Tile Services

Drain Tile replacement
Drain tile Cleaning
Basement Flooding Protection
Basement Gravel
Rain leader system installation
Basement Waterproofing
Drain Tile Installation
Garage Pad
Weeping Tile
Interior Drain tile replacement
Weeping Tile Maintenance
Drain tile Prep
Excavation of foundation
Drain tile Contractors
Exterior Drain Tile Systems
Water Flow
Drain Tile inspection
Paint on membranes
French Drain
Installation of dimple board
Location of clogged sections
Damp Proofing
Outside Perimeter Drains
Drain Tile repair

Request a Consultation

We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your renovation or new construction project. Please feel free to give us as little or as much information as you choose.