Homes have drain tile systems (sometimes called "French drains") installed around them to help direct water away from the foundation, which keeps water from intruding into the basement and causing problems with moisture damage, mold, and mildew. There are two primary types of drain tile systems — interior and exterior. Exterior drain tile systems are often (but not always) installed during the construction of a new home. Interior drain tile systems are usually installed in existing homes to remediate a problem with water intrusion into the foundation, basement or crawlspace.
How a drain tile system works
Drain tile systems utilize pipes (ceramic or plastic) with holes punched in it, set in a gravel bed around the foundation. The water enters the pipe and is directed to central line by gravity and off to a drainage area. A sump pump may be necessary to move the water away from the home and into the yard, public drainage system, or a natural drainage area.
Exterior drain tile systems
Exterior drain tile systems are installed around the foundation or footer of the home, and are usually installed in new construction. They are the most effective method of addressing water intrusion problems in basements, but can be quite costly to add to existing construction because of the need to excavate around the foundation to install the system.
Interior drain tile systems
Interior drain tile systems are a cost effective method of redirecting water away from the foundation, though they are not nearly as good an option as an exterior system. In interior drain systems, a portion of the foundation floor is removed and the gravel bed and pipe is laid in its place.
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