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Lots of older home repairs or renovations, especially in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, are going to include the replacement or repair of the drain tile system.

This system is designed to collect and redirect water seepage away from the house. Depending on the location and age of your home or building, drain tiles can be installed either on on the interior perimeter of the foundation or along the exterior as a house is being built. If the drain tiles become blocked or clogged, your crawl space or basement can incur water damage or even flood.

The problem living in an area that was once a rain forest is that there is a lot of rain, which affects our buildings and their durability. Over time, nature finds a way to take over and clog drain tile systems. Trees and their roots grow into (or create) cracks, soil and other organic material becomes more compact so the slope lessens, becomes flat, or even eventually causes a negative slope, which is a huge problem if left unchecked. These areas of neutral or reverse slope can fill with mud and debris, clogging the system and creating backflow and flooding.

Drain pipes damaged by tree roots needing replacement

Whether you are doing renovations or repairs, or you notice leaks in the basement, it is a good idea to start with the drain tile system.

If you have a clogged or failing drain tile system, there are a few things to be aware of, and you have a few options moving forward.

At first, you may be convinced that all you need is some high pressure water to blast out the drain tile system. This might sound like the most affordable option, but it rarely solves the actual problem, especially if there is a section of collapsed pipe or a section with a negative slope. You may see an improvement in the short term, which can take some of the pressure off while you prepare to do a more major fix.

The next best thing to do is repair the section that is clogged, collapsed or broken. You will likely need to hire professionals for this, who can come in and send a camera through the system to properly diagnose the flooding and standing water issues.

Providing there are only a couple of trouble spots, this might be all you need to move forward. However, you might not know the extent of the problem until you start fixing one section at a time.

If there is a suspicion that there are multiple trouble spots, an overhaul might be in order. While this might seem like a big deal in the moment, a new drainage system or full drain system replacement will use new, modern materials that are highly durable. Again, depending on the age of your home and the diagnostics from the drainage repair company, this might be the most cost effective in the long run.

In Vancouver, keeping water and moisture away from our homes is a constant battle, but improvements in techniques and materials is making a difference. The important thing is to be proactive. If you notice a leak in your basement, and you suspect it is from your drain tile system, call us right away. Better to start fixing the problem now, rather than letting it grow into a disaster. Get a Drain Cleaning or Repair Quote today.

If you are having water problems around your house or a building you own, it can be a very stressful situation. Maybe you’ve noticed water pooling around the perimeter of the building or that the basement walls are starting to show signs of moisture build up. Cracks or noticeable changes in the concrete foundation are a telltale sign that you need to take a closer look.

When you notice mystery puddles or damp walls, you might really start to panic with thoughts of major renovations or repairs, and the price tag that comes along with that.

But before you get ahead of yourself, it’s best to investigate. The problem might be with your drainage system, and the issue and the fix will depend on what kind of drain your house is using.

The two main kinds of drains are the French drain (weeping tile drains are a type of French drains) and the Trench drain. The main difference between them is that a French drain captures and removes water that has seeped into the ground, while trench drains remove surface water before it can saturate the ground.

Is one better than the other? Let’s take a closer look at each system.

French Drain System

The French drain was invented back in the 1800s and popularized in North America by Henry Flagg French. He was a busy man— as president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, assistant secretary of the treasury, judge, lawyer, and agriculturalist.

The drain he developed begins with a trench containing a perforated pipe, which takes in ground water and redirects it away from the building. The trench is covered with rock or gravel. A weeping tile is a type of French drain, and protects a building from hydrostatic pressure. The pipe is usually installed much deeper in the ground in order to protect the foundation of a structure.

French drain repair

French drains are installed around the perimeter of the building’s exterior, or they are put in place underneath the basement floor in new builds. When heavy rainfall or snow melt begins, the moisture is drawn away from the property, rather than seeping into the walls and foundation.

Though new systems should be problem free for at least 10 years, it’s a good idea to perform regular inspections. Clogging can lead to flooded basements and other problems.

Trench Drain System

Trench drains, on the other hand, divert water away from the surface, usually over a long expanse. They are fairly basic, and mostly consist of a trench with a grate on top. They are often installed within a paved area, or around large-scale commercial buildings.

Since trench drains are above the surface, they are simple to maintain. They should also be inspected annually and cleared of any clogs or debris.

Neither drain is “better” than the other, they simply have different purposes. Your home likely has a French drain installed around the perimeter. If you own a commercial building, you may also have a trench drain system, especially around any paved area. Depending on the landscape you may need both!

In either case, if you have noticed any kind of moisture build up, the first thing you should do is call in drainage experts in order to do an Drain inspection, assessment and repairs. The problem may not be as bad as you imagine, but the sooner you deal with it, the better it will be.

In Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, we all know how important drainage is. The West Coast is the wettest place in the country, and it it’s extremely important that a home’s drains are functioning properly all year long.

This includes the perimeter drain around your home. Never heard of it? No problem. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about this important drainage system and how it works.

What is a perimeter drain system?

The perimeter drain is an underground drainage system designed to attract the water in the surrounding soil that has accumulated from heavy rains, rising groundwater or melting snow. The perimeter drain prevents the water from seeping into your basement and all houses are built with them.

How does perimeter drainage work?

These days, the perimeter drain is made of a plastic or PVC perforated pipe. The pipe is installed underground and runs the perimeter of a home or building. The perforated pipe is covered by fine mesh so that water is able to enter the pipe, but dirt and debris are not.

The pipe is covered with layers of gravel from less dense to more, so that water is able to filter through the soil and travel toward the pipe. From there, it is carried away from your home.

Why is a functional drainage system crucial?

You know how basements often have a bit of a damp feel to them? Especially unfinished ones or basements with concrete walls and floors? That’s because the water underground is slowly on the move, drip by drip, and water eventually seeps into everything. The perimeter drain will help prevent water from pooling around or in your home, causing countless problems in the long run (like black mould).

How do you maintain a Vancouver drainage system

Over time, perimeter drains will need some attention because they will become blocked with debris, dirt and roots. Older homes may not have PVC pipes but rather a clay or concrete system might need more attention because these older systems can break or collapse.

As with all elements of home ownership, it is best to be proactive and ensure that you are keeping up with inspections and maintenance.

For perimeter drain maintenance, pay close attention after the West Coast winter or if there is heavy rainfall in the summer. If you see water stains on your basement walls or mystery puddles forming around your home’s foundation, take steps to address it. If you have never had an inspection done on your home’s perimeter drain, it’s a good idea to get one.

If you suspect that there may be a problem with your perimeter drain, it’s important to fix it. Leaving it will make the problems much worse, and quickly.

Should you panic? No! Perimeter drains, even older ones, are designed to withstand many decades of functioning. But the more you know about it, the better.

If you have never had an inspection done on this system, or if you don’t know anything about it, it’s a good idea to call in a professional. They will perform a inspection by sending a camera through the drain system and report back if any maintenance is needed.

A clogged or even collapsing system does not necessarily mean a total overhaul. Your system may need to be flushed or a small drain pipe section replaced.

If you have any questions about the drainage system in your home, give us a call!