What Is Drain Tile System and How To Install It

Drain tile systems are an essential part of any construction and can help catch water before it enters your home. Although they’re not necessary for all constructions, having them is a good idea because you never know when heavy rainfall or snowmelt might cause terrible construction problems.

To learn more about drain tile and how it works, keep reading. This article will give you information on what drain tile is, show you how to install it, and provide a bunch of useful tips for ensuring that your job goes off without a hitch!

What Is A Drain Tile System?

drain tiles system
The diversion of water after rain.

A drain tile system is a porous pipe that is installed alongside your foundation to help prevent water from seeping through cracks or any other foundation or basement problem. The system leads to a sump pump or an escape for the water to drain away safely.

A Drain tile system can be installed around the outside of a home’s foundation or around the inside of the foundation beneath the floor slab. It is usually buried in the ground around the outside of the home’s foundation and sometimes around the inside.

Brief History Of A Drain Tile System

With the installation of drainage tiles, farmers are able to grow crops that would have previously been impossible. Tiles date back 2000 years in the agricultural industry and became widely used in the US in 1838. When farmer John Johnston installed clay tiles on his farm in Seneca County, New York, he was dubbed “The Father of Tile Drainage in the United States.

Henry French, author of “Farm Drainage” revolutionized tile drain systems by creating French drains in 1860. Drain tiles are found in many different regions, and often have different names. Some might call it French drain, while other terms might include footing tile, weeping tile, perimeter drains and perforated drains.

How Does Drain Tile Work?

Drain systems today consist of crush-resistant plastic (PVC) pipes that are perforated with holes. The pipe is laid in a trench alongside the house’s footer to allow groundwater in. Drain tile should be installed after laying the foundation of your new home.

After the drain tile is covered, gravel is placed on top so that water can flow through it. This gravel should be large enough not to enter the pipe while still being able to filter all water that enters the pipe

Then the tile is covered with a porous fabric that allows water in but keeps soil out. Lastly, the covered pipe is filled with soil to complete the system.

How A Drain Tile System Is Set Up

When a pipe tile system is added to a house, a series of pipes with perforations are placed around the base of your home’s foundation. These pipes with perforation are generally put a few inches down under the foundation or slab itself. The water runs down under the top level of the foundation and reduces seepage.

The pipes are all connected, and the water is drained at one single outlet. There’s gravel to cover the pipes, and then a screen material to keep any sediment out of the pipes. Dirt is piled on top of that to give the system a normal appearance.

Why Is A Drain Tile System Important?

If you have a concrete, CMU, or brick foundation, you likely need to install a drain tile system in order to meet local regulations.

However, If the foundation is installed on well-drained soil, it may pass the test and you may not need a drainage system. If this is the case, it won’t be necessary, but you may still want to add one just in case.

What Are The Pros And Cons?

PRO: Drain tile installation is relatively inexpensive, and can be done during initial construction. Access to the side of foundation footings and walls make for easier installation. You may also factor in expenses for the purchase of a drain tile and sump pump, because local code may require these, when you are estimating costs for a new house. And If done correctly, it can effectively divert water away from your basement foundation and walls.

CONS: If you decide to install a drain tile system and have an existing basement, be prepared for the expense of digging your exterior walls or using heavy machinery in your home. You would have to do the same for your interior walls which come with additional breakage to some of the floorings. Improper drain tile will give you more issues than solutions. They will tend to clog over time with ineffective filtering systems necessitating that you replace them, costing more money.

What If You Want To Install A Drain Tile In Your Existing Basement?

Whether you’re wondering if you could install a new drain tile in an existing basement or if you want to waterproof your current basement and add further security, the answer is yes.

However, be aware that there’s a significant cost and labor for installation into an existing basement. Installing exterior drain tile systems, especially, is quite extensive. You would need to dig around your home and this would mostly involve using a backhoe and help from professionals to position the drain tile properly.

If an exterior drain tile system is not an option for you, another one would be to use an interior drainage system. This will cost significantly less than the exterior drain tile system, but it will be much more expensive than the one put in place when your home is being constructed.

How To Install Your Drain Tile System

Before you choose to install a drainage system, you should weigh how much time and money it will take, and how difficult it is likely to be. You have three options when installing the drainage system, 1) in your basement, 2) outside your foundation, or 3) in your yard.

The installation process is the most important thing–make sure you put the mesh sock over your drainage pipe to prevent sand and soil from getting in and clogging the drain.

Dig A Trench

The installation process is the most important part of this project. As a first step, make sure you put the mesh sock over your drainage pipe to prevent sand and soil from getting in and clogging the drain. Next, dig to find soil that will work with the project. The trench might be longer than anticipated, but if it is, slope it so there’s a gradual descent.

Begin your trench at ground level and dig down one inch every ten feet. Make sure to slope at least one percent, or one inch every ten feet. You need these dimensions to create a proper drain.

Drywall Installation

Knock out the perforated circles on drywall. This is where a pipe will enter, along the sides of the drywall. Make sure to score it before you knock it out with a hammer. It may seem like you have to build it like furniture, but every part works together and then the lid goes on top of the round barrel followed by the drain pipe cover which allows access.

Afterward, attach a weed barrier to the hole and replace the drywall. Then attach pipes and start laying French drains in the trench.

Add Base Layer

To create a deep enough trench, add gravel to the base. Place at least two inches of gravel in the bottom of the ditch. Adding a weed barrier is also recommended. Different varieties of gravel will produce different textures, but any medium to small-sized variety is appropriate as long as it’s not porous and won’t break when you step on it. Sharp gravel is best avoided.

As for weed barriers, this is fairly easy. You can use any weed barrier made to go underground. Not one that will decompose but one that will be there for you without harming the environment. Most weed barriers will work.

Set The Pipes

After placing the tubes, cover them with a weed barrier before you bury them. Cover the pipes in dirt and attach the downspout to the main drain line. After gravel has been placed, cover it with soil.

Put the pipe in the tank where it is instructed. After this, fill in any areas with gravel to prevent dirt from moving freely, and then fill the remaining area with dirt. For French drains, the top layer should be filled with gravel. Gravel works just as well, as long as the pipe is covered with a weed barrier to keep the soil out of the perforated holes of the pipe. Make sure to also consider adding a cover.

Good Appearance

There are several ways to finish off a drain tile system. After filling the French drain with gravel to make a pretty creek bed, it will look like a magical woodland forest. You can also add sod to your lawn. This will work well if you don’t want to plant grass that will cover the drain. You can remove sod anytime to check on the drain or make pipe repairs.

Hire A Professional

Your best bet for installing a simple system is to hire a professional, who will complete the task in no time. Make sure you check reviews before hiring someone. It’s important that you do your research and find the right company or contractor. When getting contacts, ask for references and compare quotes before deciding on who to hire.

In Conclusion

Drain tiles prevent water from seeping into your home by providing the appropriate outlet. Drain tiles also keep water away from your lawn so that it can receive the necessary oxygen for healthy growth.

There are a few aspects you need to pay attention to if it’s time for soil nutrient cycling. Those are the chemical aspect, which includes your pH level and how it interacts with different nutrients. There’s also the biological aspect and your soil structure.

Drain tiles also keep water away from your lawn and garden and provide oxygen to your plants.

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