Pros and Cons of Interior Drain Tile in a Milwaukee Home
Only a basement waterproofer like me could find interior drain tile interesting enough to write about it as often as I do. I don’t expect you to share my passion for this great product but I do want to share my knowledge because interior drain tile is one of the most effective ways to stop basement water seepage, in a Milwaukee home or any home, quickly and permanently.
So, What is Interior Drain Tile, Anyway?
Good question. First of all, it’s not tile at all; it’s pipe. Interior drain tile these days consists of corrugated plastic or PVC pipe, perforated with holes, that is encased in a “sock” made of filter fabric. It’s then installed in a bed of washed stone under your basement floor next to the footings. The pipe is connected to a sump basin where a sump pump expels the water from your basement to an open drain or storm sewer.
In much older homes the interior drain tile system may be constructed of terra cotta pipe.
This system captures water seepage that would otherwise enter your basement through the cove joint, the place where the foundation walls meet the basement floor. It also relieves the hydrostatic pressure that causes not only this type of seepage but water infiltration through cracks in your basement floor as well.
If you complete the system with a heavy-duty plastic liner on your basement walls, interior drain tile will also capture and eliminate water that seeps in from wall cracks, bad window wells or over the top of the foundation.
What’s so Great about Interior Drain Tile for the Milwaukee Homeowner?
There are loads of advantages to interior drain tile. These are my favorites:
- Comprehensive Solution – As I noted above, under many circumstances interior drain tile can be the Swiss Army Knife of basement waterproofing. Because it relieves hydrostatic pressure, interior drain tile prevents seepage from occurring at new points in your basement.
- Least Disruptive to the Exterior – There’s no tearing up the landscaping and ruining your driveway, deck or patio. All work to install interior drain tile is done inside the basement and while it is somewhat messy and inconvenient, it is a relatively quick installation and can be done without disturbing finished walls.
- Most Economical – Exterior waterproofing is very labor-intensive, especially with complete perimeter excavations, which results in higher costs. Interior work is done by a smaller crew in half the time and isn’t subject to weather delays.
- Protected from the Elements – Because of its placement below the concrete basement floor, interior drain tile isn’t subject to weather, soil conditions or the infiltration of tree roots that can cause damage.
So, Does That Mean it’s Perfect?
Nope. There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all solution to wet basements in Milwaukee and interior drain tile has a few disadvantages:
- Preparation Required: Installing interior drain tile won’t destroy your patio but it does require that the perimeter of your basement be cleared of furniture, built-ins and stored objects. If your basement is finished, carpet or flooring material must be removed.
- Noise and Dust: Your basement will be messy and you won’t be able to use it but installation normally takes only a day or two. The mess can be contained by partitioning off unaffected areas of the basement and turning off your HVAC system.
- Masonry Foundations: A brick or stone foundation, even with interior drain tile performing up to expectations, may eventually require an exterior waterproofing solution. However, in a Milwaukee home with a typical concrete block foundation, water that seeps through mortar joints will flow into the drain tile system through weep holes that are drilled in the bottom row of block at the time of installation.
All in all, interior drain tile is a proven solution to basement seepage problems. It’s cost-effective, comprehensive and can be installed in a fairly short time. My company, U.S. Waterproofing, has been installing interior drain tile in southeastern Wisconsin for more than 30 years and we’ll give you an honest appraisal of its benefits and drawbacks in your home, so why not ask for our free advice?
Questions about interior drain tile? Please ask them in the Comments box below.