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Basement Drains 101: A Simple Guide for Busy Homeowners

Basement drains help move water out of the basement before they damage your belongings or cause dampness and mold growth

Dealing with rainy weather, high humidity, and leaky pipes isn’t just frustrating but can make it difficult for you to maintain a dry, clean, and safe basement. You never know what the weather in your area will throw your way in spring or winter or when a water pipe could leak. As a smart homeowner, you want to make sure you have an effective basement floor drain in place.

Basement floor drains can help avert moisture-related problems such as foundation settlement, hydrostatic pressure, and wall cracks. Here, we look at different types of residential basement floor drains, how these systems work, and why your basement needs one.


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What Is a Basement Floor Drain?

Basement Gutter during installation

It’s one of the three systems that help keep water out of the basement or move any water that gets into the basement before it causes significant damage. We usually install them on the subfloor and along the basement perimeter on the interior.

A basement floor drain can collect water from multiple sources such as:

  • leaking water heater
  • cove joint
  • dripping condensation line
  • basement dehumidifier

Types of Basement Drains

When waterproofing your basement, you have various drainage options.

Interior Floor Drains

Your first line of defense is an interior drainage system. It consists of a half-pipe with holes that collects water and takes it to your sump pit. From there, the water is pumped outside. This system will catch water from your floor, cove joint, and walls before they cause problems.

The pipe is set in a one-foot-wide trench on the subfloor along the interior basement perimeter before it’s covered with gravel to keep mud out. Our solution is compact and won’t become an eyesore as it stays concealed in the floor. Best of all, this device is clog-free and is serviceable all year round, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance issues.

Basement Floor Drain (Outlet for excess water)

A floor drain system is another common waterproofing fixture and stops water from leaking into the house. It’s usually installed at the lowest part of the basement during basement construction.

A trench is first dug on your basement subfloor, then drainage pipes are laid to channel water. Pipes are filled for improved security before they’re secured with drainage fabric. Finally, the open floor is closed. Installation costs depend on the amount of concrete to be broken out and the drain’s location.

Most area building codes require homeowners to install floor drains that channel water to a sump pit. The concrete floor has to slope gently so water can drain out through gravity.

Basement Sump Pump

Waterproofing crew installing sump pump

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, you’d better have a sump pump that will see you through a potential flood. Otherwise, floodwater can turn your basement into a water park and ruin your belongings.

A sump pump is a device that pumps out leaking water that has been collected by the interior drainage system. It’s connected to a drainage pipe that takes the water outside and safely away from your home.

How does the pump work? The pump has an actuator that automatically turns on the pipe once the water rises to a certain level in the sump pit.

It’s best to install high-volume sump pumps with integrated alarms that warn you when water levels rise precariously. If you can, get a battery backup, as it will come in handy when the power goes off.

Your local basement waterproofing experts can provide you with a durable, effective, and compact sump pump system for your basement like a SafeDri™ system. These professionals can help you choose the right size and configure it for your basement so it can protect you from floodwaters.

Why Do Basement Drains Matter?

Water can enter your basement in different ways: flooding through cove joints, condensation, or burst or leaky pipes. Without a proper basement drainage system, this water can lead to:

  • Wet belongings
  • Damage insulation
  • Mold growth
  • Increase humidity levels
  • More vermin and pests

The costs of water damage repairs and remediation can run into the thousands of dollars, not to mention the downtime and disruption that follows such occurrences.

We’re sure this isn’t something any homeowner would want their loved ones to experience.

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Effective Methods to Prevent Water from Entering Basement Drains

Downspout dumping water near the foundation.

There are things homeowners can do to keep water away from their foundations as much as possible.

First, homeowners should ensure that their gutters and downspouts are functioning properly.

The gutters should be free of debris and sloping downward towards the downspouts.

By doing so, homeowners can avoid water collecting around the foundation and entering the basement through the drains.

Another important step is to make sure that the ground around the foundation is sloping away from the home.

Ground sloping towards the house can result in water collecting around the foundation, which can lead to water seeping into the basement through the drains.

To address this, homeowners can add soil around the foundation to create a slope away from the home.

Call Groundworks for Basement Waterproofing Solutions

None of these drainage systems is meant to work alone. Combining interior drains with an effective sump pump system provides greater protection against basement water. Drain and sump pump installation is best left to waterproofing professionals, as they can handle the process flawlessly.

Would you like to install basement drains to bolster your waterproofing or fix an annoying moisture problem? Contact your local Groundworks waterproofing experts for a free waterproofing inspection and quote. These waterproofing teams will help you stay on top of moisture.