Do I Need A Weeping Tile System?
Weeping tile systems are very popular in the Toronto Area as they are very effective at diverting water away from your foundation.
Why use the term Weeping Tile?
I wish somebody would embargo the term ‘weeping tile’ because perimeter drains are neither tiles, nor do they weep (in fact they do the opposite).
A Weeping Tile System can be installed on the interior or exterior of your foundation walls. Exterior Weeping Tiles will divert water away from your foundation, so water never gets a chance to enter. While, an Interior Weeping Tile system will divert water away from your home after it has entered the wall. Therefore, Interior Waterproofing is more of a water management system rather than a true waterproofing solution
Modern Weeping Tile Perimeter Drains
Perimeter drains lie at a point underground where water collects and makes a nuisance of itself. You will usually find them at the bottom basement walls (outside the home), where they prevent water from seeping through.
What is Weeping tile?
Weeping tiles are plastic pipes with longitudinal slits designed to siphon the groundwater away.
To reduce the build-up of dirt and clay on the inside of the perforated pipe, builders wrap the exterior of the pipe in ground-retaining cloth. Then they place ¾ clear gravel above their weeping tile to act as another filtered layer.
Digging up blocked drains is an expensive, time-consuming and messy business, so make sure you (or your contractor) use filtered weeping tile and ¾ clear gravel.
Remember: All gravel is different. ¾ clear gravel is the only stone you should be covering your weeping tile with. Once, you place a nice sized layer of ¾ gravel above your weepers, then you can proceed to lay your preferred material (Limestone Screening, dirt, mulch, etc.)
How to Know You Need Them
Setting hindsight aside for a moment, you’ll know you need a weeping tile perimeter drain if you see water seeping in through the bottom of your basement walls. It usually comes through the crack where the walls rest on the floor. If the wall shows signs of dampness higher up, then you most likely have a blocked pipe causing the water to pool.
The perimeter drain should be installed at the bottom of your exterior basement wall before the builder fills the space with rubble. The raw materials are fairly cheap and are quick and easy to lay down, so make sure you add weeping tile into your scope of work.
It is absolutely essential (the strongest words that I could find) to have a plan where the groundwater goes to after you collect it. If you are lucky, conditions will allow it to soak away naturally. If not, then you must leave a pit with a sump pump at the bottom.
A good long-term solution is to properly waterproof the exterior walls of your foundation along with installing an exterior weeping tile system.
What to Do if the System Doesn’t Work
If you find water seeping in from the walls of your basement, then either you do not have a weeping tile system, or it’s blocked. You have three options:
1. Live with the problem (bad idea, this can affect your property value)
2. Did up the garden and install a new perimeter drainage system
3. Chip out the floor against the walls, and install weeping tiles inside the room
There are pros and cons to both options 2 and 3. In theory, option 2 is the correct one, although there may be practical considerations that prevent it. If so, then 3 is really the only way to go. You’ll have to accept the fact that you will end up with less usable space and will also likely end up hiding your interior perimeter drain behind some paneling.
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