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What is Perimeter Drainage?


After heavy rain and melting snow, water accumulates around the perimeter of the house, causing rising damp or even flooding basements. Insurance companies do not cover this damage, as they view it as caused by negligence and lack of upkeep. Ideally, the water should be directed away from your external walls, thus merely waterproofing the wall is not a viable option. In wet, rainy areas like Vancouver, or if you have a high water table, the most cost-effective solution is weeping tile. The water should be directed to the main sewer and not to the boundary of the property. This is illegal and could result in a really unhappy neighbour and even a lawsuit.

In order to drain water away from the foundations and basement of your house, a trench is dug around the perimeter of the building and a perforated pipe, generally made of PVC or ABS plastic, is installed. This acts as a perimeter drainage system and attracts accumulated rain water, or rising groundwater, drawing it away from the building. In the past, clay tiles were laid as a water diversion, thus the old-fashioned name “weeping tile” is still used. These may have deteriorated with time and should be replaced with the PVC pipe version, or maybe just replace the sections that are damaged.


Drainage System Blockages & Issues


Perimeter drainage systems do work, as long as they’re maintained. The perforations in the PVC pipe are literally thousands of small slits that attract water into the pipe and thus drain the water away. Often the pipe is enclosed in a permeable mesh, then a layer of gravel or small stones covers it to prevent mud and soil entering the pipe. Finally, the trench is backfilled with soil. The pipes drain away from the house to the sewer system, which preferably would have been pre-checked using a sewer inspection camera.

Generally, the system will last for years. The old tile systems lasted FOR years too, but in time become blocked with roots and soil, causing damage and collapse. However, a new PVC weeping tile system may become blocked by soil after a while, enabling water to seep into the basement. You could dig up the whole drainage system and attempt to find the blockage, or it’s time for a perimeter drainage inspection.


How Does a Sewer Camera Inspection Work?


Out of sight is out of mind, until disaster strikes and the basement floor is covered in mud and water. To prevent this happening, schedule a specialist company to come in and, using a perimeter drainage snake camera, scope out the inside of the PVC pipes and locate exactly where the problem lies. It may just be a case of cleaning out the pipes or could be a collapse, but at least you’ll know what you are up against.

To look for signs of trouble, a small video or sewer camera is threaded into the pipe and the results are shown on a TV monitor. The technician doing the plumbing scope pipe inspection is a highly trained drainage specialist and will easily spot where problems occur on the monitor. You can watch the screen the entire time, and you will also see what has caused the obstruction, and why. Our technician, with a trained eye, will also see old water damage and sources of future damage.

It is always a good idea to have a sewer camera inspection, or perimeter drainage scoping using a plumbing camera or rigid seesnake before you purchase a new residence, especially an older house. After the video inspection camera has done its job, our drainage specialist will put together a written report, which will describe your drainage system, perimeter drainage and sewer drainage, and the stage of its lifecycle it’s in. He will also give you a diagram of the network, with the location of any problems and a detailed report of the maintenance or repair work he recommends. If necessary, he’ll give you a full detailed quote about perimeter drainage replacement including excavation costs and timelines.