Drain tile systems for basements

A drain tile system is used to keep water away from your home’s foundation. It’s build around the exterior of the foundation. Water will flow freely and must go somewhere.

The drain tile system is actually made out of perforated pipes, gravel and drain pipes combined with a trench dug along the foundation of the house. You can either use a shovel and hand hoe or rent a back hoe for the trench.

Tools and Materials

  • Gravel
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Drain title
  • Sealant
  • Filter paper


First of all you must measure the perimeter of the house and get everything you need including elbows, T shapes and waterproof sealants. The sealant has to work properly with the type of material you will use for the drain.

Trench digging

The trench must be at least 18 inches deep. Make sure you know the location of any gas lines and other important pipes or utility lines before you start digging. You may need permission from local authorities to build you drain so that it diverts into the city sewer canals or pipes. You can also just allow the water to follow a natural route, or slope the area so that the water will flow downhill into a sump pump or anywhere else you want.

Installing filter paper

Filtration paper must be placed at the bottom of the trench drain. It will help prevent the drain from clogging because it doesn’t let soil and sediments to enter the drain tile.

Laying the drain tile

Follow the producer’s instructions and place the drain tile on top of the filtration paper. After that, seal the joints with the proper waterproof sealant.

Laying the gravel

The gravel must not stop the water flow. Place it in such a way that it doesn’t act like a barrier for the water. Place about 6 inches of gravel on top of the drain tile.

Covering the gravel

You should cover the gravel with filtration paper or at least tar paper, to create another barrier that prevents clogging with debris. Lay down soil on top of the filtration or tar paper if needed.

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