Properly waterproofing your basement is a great way to protect the biggest investment of your life from water damage and flooding. Depending upon what area of the country you live in, making sure your home’s foundation is protected against water intrusion could be vital for staving off an inevitable emergency. In areas that have a higher than average yearly precipitation, saturated soil can cause significant hydrostatic pressure on your basement’s walls that will eventually cause cracks, leakages or even severe flooding. The process of basement waterproofing uses systems like drains to collect water before it comes in contact with your foundation and move it away from your home.
Footer drains work on a very simple premise, and while the technology used to manufacture them has advanced in recent decades, they have been in use for much of the last century. Footer drains are long pipes installed around the foundation of your home with holes or other ways to allow water to enter them. When the water enters the footer drains, it is lead away from your basement foundation to either a sump pump crock, the main city sewer, or another location. Keep in mind, however, that many cities have now made it illegal to have drains dump into their sewer systems, since they have to pay money to chemically treat all water that is processed through their waste water treatment plants.
If your home’s drains are working properly, then rainwater should be piped away from your home before it has a chance to exert hydrostatic pressure on your basement walls. While this should solve many of your basement leaking and flooding problems, there are of course extreme situations in which your footer drains could be overwhelmed with water. In this case, it might be a good idea to have a battery powered sump pump which will turn on and remove excess water during uncommonly rainy periods. Even modern plastic PVC footer drains with high capacity for water removal may not be able to redirect huge amounts of water in a very short period of time.
The concept familiar to builders for much of the last century, although they had less effective materials available to them that were more prone to clogs and breakages. Clay tile was often the material of choice for footer drains in the earlier part of last century, and homes that are still relying on these types of footer drains may find that they are beginning to age to a point that they are now ineffective. Breaks and clogs in antiquated clay tile footer drains often require that the foundation of a home be completely excavated in order to install more modern materials.
If your drains aren’t redirecting enough water away from your home’s foundation, however, it might not necessarily mean that you need to have a complete basement waterproofing job performed. In many cases, your footer drains may still be serviceable, but have become clogged or blocked by dirt, roots or other obstructions over the years. In these cases, simply using a high pressure water jetting system to clear blockages may solve your problems. If you refer to a basement waterproofing company for consultation of how to repair your footer drains, always have them check to see if jetting your existing drains is the most inexpensive option.