To prevent possible water-infiltration problems, the vast majority of homes built after the 1950s have a foundation drain, also called a French drain or weeping tile. Its purpose is to capture the water that accumulates near the walls of a home’s foundation through a perforated pipe and to drain it well away from the building or toward a sewer.
Unfortunately, over the years, particles of sand or soil and small roots can become embedded in the pipe, blocking its perforations and impeding proper drainage around your home. Improper installation of the drain, broken sections and soil type are a few of the other factors that can affect the smooth operation of your system.
Inspect your basement
A noticeable increase in moisture in the basement is the first sign that your foundation drain may not be functioning properly. You should also watch for the appearance of mold on the floor and lower walls, and for whitish rings on the concrete. Water infiltration at the base of the foundation or through cracks in the concrete slab may also be due to problems with the drain, although it may come from other sources such as a crack in the foundation wall or a defect in a window, door or balcony.
When in doubt, call a professional!
To know for sure what is interfering with the proper functioning of your foundation drain and what repairs are needed, it’s best to call in a specialized contractor. Under the right conditions, they should be able to run a camera through your pipe to clearly identify the source of the problem. As a last resort, they may need to bring in heavy equipment to carry out an excavation in order to make a final diagnosis and propose the best way to get the system back in working order.
Of course, the failure of a foundation drain and the ensuing water infiltration is never good news. But by quickly taking control of the situation, it is possible to limit any damage to your basement. So this spring, heed a little advice: Inspect your walls and concrete floors to make sure everything is in order … and enjoy the season knowing your home is safe and dry!