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Old 04-27-2013, 06:35 PM   #1
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Clogged exterior foundation drain tile


Had water seeping into one corner of my basement during heavy sustained ain. Unfinished basement, except for roughed in room, and paneling on the wall (that we'll probably need to remove anyway eventually), but water seemed to be seeping not from floor, but where concrete block meets the foundation. I do have a few rugs, but just laid, and not truly installed...

I built a plumbers putty wall about 3' x 3' square at the corner of the basement, by 1" high, and about every 4 hours, would wet vacuum the 1/4 inch of water that accumulated. Our fear has always been that if we were gone on vacation, we didn't want the huge pain of cleaning the basement and drying the water (happened once), so I decided to fix the problem the right way...Hence, excavating the exterior foundation at that corner.

On rainy days, I do get water in the sump pump pits (8-10 gal a minute on the heavy rains that give me problems).

I dug up a 12' along one side of the corner, and 7' along the other side. The drain tile (clay tile, house built in1977) was around 6-6.5' deep. I removed a 12" (14"?) section near the corner and the limestone surrounding it and it was completly clogged with sand.
There was no tar paper (or other coating) over the top of the tile or surrounding limestone, and the limestone was pretty dirty/mud mixed in as well. So, that answers why I'm getting some seepage at this spot in the basement... I will take out the remaining 12' of tile along the excavation, and hopefully notice sufficiently less clog as I continue (probably just wishful thinking)...

I did run a water hose running on full, and created a decent puddle at the corner that did not go down after 20 minutes. Of course, clogged drain tile. So, I inserted and worked the hose (still running) into the opening in the drain tile , and was able to wash out the sand/slight gravel mix so that it ran a little back to the pump. I don't know for sure how far the clogged tiles extend. I was able to insert the hose approx 15'.

So, I'm wondering if there are any ways to unclog the tile without excavating around the home? again the clog is loose. Can it be 'snaked?' Rodded?

Home is quad, with 21' x 21' basement. West side is under slab of the 'ground' level of the quad. Sump pump and pits are in south west corner, and the seepage (and where I escavated) is on the north east corner.

I'm Considering using the garden hose to continue to wash it out in the direction of the sump pit. (and keep emptying the sump pit when necessary, but realize that if the south/front xection of tile is only slightly clogged (25%), I would possibly be moving some of the clog to that section, and cause the front to be 50% clogged? while reducing some of the clogging in the 'bad' corner.. I'm not sure if I can build sufficient water pressure from a garde n hose to wash the clog through to the sump pit where I can clean it out...

Thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

If it became necessary to excavate three 21' walls to replace the tile, and refill, what would I expect to pay in NW Indiana?

Thanks for any suggestions...

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Old 04-27-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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Clogged exterior foundation drain tile


If it has become clogged due to a poor installation, dont you think it will just clog up again once you evacuate it? This might be a silly question, but have you graded your property so it falls away from your house? Proper grading, then Putting down heavy plastic with stone on top can do wonders to keep water away from your foundation. I have corrugated 4 inch pipe attached to my downspouts, moving water away from my foundation, and my sump pump hardly ever turns on.

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Old 04-27-2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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You can clean it out or have a sewer company out to do it for you. I too would be concerned about it filling in again. If it is cracked, you may have to use one of those membrane re-liner systems that cure in place. Or dig out busted sections and replace.

I too would be most concerned it is being expected to move so much water away from the house and would look into some grade adjustments. Also, do you have adequate gutters and downspouts carrying the water away from the house? Gutters are clean and kept so with gutter guards or something?

It sounds like your sump pump may be anemic for your needs too? Or you are not pumping the water far enough away that it doesn't flow right back at you?

You might find a consult with a civil engineer or grading contractor that would give you ideas on how to fix this once and for all cheaper than multiple band-aid approaches?
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jagans View Post
If it has become clogged due to a poor installation, dont you think it will just clog up again once you evacuate it? This might be a silly question, but have you graded your property so it falls away from your house? Proper grading, then Putting down heavy plastic with stone on top can do wonders to keep water away from your foundation. I have corrugated 4 inch pipe attached to my downspouts, moving water away from my foundation, and my sump pump hardly ever turns on.
Hi Jagans. I understand your point completely. I guess, first, that I'll know more when I remove some more of the tile in the 20' section that I escavated (i.e., is it completly plugged along the whole 20', or less plugged as I move from the problematic corner). I do think that the installation was incorrect but I don't believe that the entire drain is clogged around the house. IT it was, I don't think I would be getting 8-10 gal/minute water entering the pit during a heavy rain.

So, I was going to replace the old clay tile in the 1/3 of the perimeter that I escavated with plastic PVC that has a sleeve. And I was going to refill with new stone, and at a higher level. So, at least it shouldn't clog significantly at that point. In addition, I was going to ppowerwash the escavated section, paint with a rubberized coating for foundations, and then go over with the Platon membrane. I was going to cover the limestone with around 4-6" straw, and cover with dirt.

Hopefully I can get the draintile fairly clean first, and if so, proceed as I mentioned above.

After filling in most of the dirt, I was going (as you suggested) use the heavy landscaping plastic, and increase my grade away from the house.

Thanks!

Last edited by pb940072; 04-27-2013 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:32 PM   #5
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You can clean it out or have a sewer company out to do it for you. I too would be concerned about it filling in again. If it is cracked, you may have to use one of those membrane re-liner systems that cure in place. Or dig out busted sections and replace.

I too would be most concerned it is being expected to move so much water away from the house and would look into some grade adjustments. Also, do you have adequate gutters and downspouts carrying the water away from the house? Gutters are clean and kept so with gutter guards or something?

It sounds like your sump pump may be anemic for your needs too? Or you are not pumping the water far enough away that it doesn't flow right back at you?

You might find a consult with a civil engineer or grading contractor that would give you ideas on how to fix this once and for all cheaper than multiple band-aid approaches?
Hi sdsester,

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm hoping that the other portions of the drain tile can be washed out.

Re: sum pump, it runs about 1/4 of the time during a heavy rain, so I don't think that it is underpowered. The sump pumps directly into a town sewer.

I am consider increasing the grading. I'm on my roof 2-3 times a year, and have never got any accumulation on my gutters (fortunately). The gutters drain around 4' from the house right now, and there is some grading. Unfortunately, there was no covering over the old clay tiles at their installation to prevent them from clogging (though I don't believe that the entire srain is that way). I'm actually hoping that provided I can get the drains cleaned, that the fix I'm doing should be a long-term fix. Essentially, the home is 38 years old. The only real seapage problem is in the pne corner. So, since I'm replacing the drain tile with sleeved-pvc tile, and covering with limestone (deeper than original) and adding a lawer of straw, I'm hoping to stop further clogging of the drain tile in that area. And, I'm adding a rubberized coating on the wall, and the platon membrane for added insurance.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get the drains cleaned out.

Thanks again for your thoughts!
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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Clogged exterior foundation drain tile


You could possible have the exterior tile rodded/snaked out., but only to the next corner, as this style of tile is usually mitered in the corner. Not sure if a regular snake will work or not though, as the draintile should have ~1/4" gap between each one.

As for the repair, you method is pretty sound, just skip the "sock" fabric on the pipe, and I don't think you need the straw. IMPO it's more important to take full advantage of every cross-bleeder you can find in the footing while it's exposed. If they don't extend to the outside of the footing, I'd open them up so they do. Place the draintile NEXT to the footing to help lower the water table on this section of wall. If you'd like, you can place another tile on top of the footing, but it really won't do much but help deplete water from the rest of the house. Make sure to flush every cross-bleed with lots of water now as well. The more stone over the draintile the better..............
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
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I removed all exposed (and also glogged) clay drain tile, and cleaned up my trench a bit.

I fashioned an auger from a yard anchor (local home improvement shops sell them). Essentially, it is 15" long 1/2" dia. rod, with an eyelet (tiedown) on one end, and a single 360 degree turn of 'corkscrew' auger on the other end. My brother welded the eye securely to a 3/4" pipe coupling. We ground two grooved into the end of the pipe coupling to receive the eye and better secure it.

I then used 5' sections of 3/4 " pipe to turn the auger into the clog, and pull the offending sand/(soft)clay mix out. This method worked well for me. I had actually fashioned a 180 degree spray diverter for the end of the pipe to wash the pipe after removing the clog, but didn't use it, because I thought that my auger did that good of a job. (I fashioned he 180 deg. spray diverter, thinkong that I would wash out the pipe toward where I escavated and not the sump pit. One concern was that washing the sand/clay furher toward the pit would just clod the front of the house more that it is. Another thought was that I would just wash the clog debris past the 'T' section that enters the pit and wouldn't be able o remove it anyways.)

This allowed me to completly clean out two sides of my home (from the exposed corner). I could go completly to the corner. It did take about 2-3 hours, but I believe well worth it.

I then power washed the walls. The water would stand to about 1/2 the height of the drain tile, and then drained away to the sump pit. So, it would appear that I have around a 1/2 the height of the drain tile clog somewhere along the front (unexcavated) portion of my home. The front wall doesn't give me problems, and took 38 years to plug 1/2 way, so I think that I'll be OK for a while (5-10 years or more?) but time will tell. And, If I'm feeling ambitious next spring, maybe I'll dig it up and replace it...

I did completly replace all exposed clay drain tile with PVC, covered with a sleeve to stop dirt from entering. And, laid it next to the footer where the old one was removed. I very-slightly kept the corner (keddy-corner from my sump pump) of the drain tile higher (perhaps 1" per 8 foot). Covered the drain tile with limestone. I just finished applying the rubberized tar coating. When Dry, I'll attach the platon membrane (extending down below the footer to the drain tile), and add another 8-12" of lime stone.

I don't think that the straw will hurt, so I'll cover with 6-8" of that, and then dump the dirt in.

Last edited by pb940072; 04-29-2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:44 PM   #8
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Hindsight being 20/20, and to help those with a similar problem in the future...
Before I reinstalled the drain pipe and began covering the hole, I could've done a little washing along the front of my home by running a hose into the drain tile from my sump pit, and tried to guide it in the direction where I escavated. I would then (theoretically at least) be washing any clog debris where I escavated and could remove it there.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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I agree with everything you did on the outside, but did you take the time to find the cross-bleeders and give them the same kind of attention? They really are the fundamental link between the interior and exterior...........
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:45 PM   #10
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...did you take the time to find the cross-bleeders ..........
Hi, I'm not sure what the 'cross-bleeders' are. Would you be able to explain?

Thanks.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:24 AM   #11
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Cross-bleeders intersect through the footing to tie the interior & exterior tile together. Here, you'd likely be looking for a 3" dia. concrete tile at the top of the footing spaced between 8' and 20'. These are generally the most important part of the system that get's clogged.........

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Old 04-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
Cross-bleeders intersect through the footing to tie the interior & exterior tile together. Here, you'd likely be looking for a 3" dia. concrete tile at the top of the footing spaced between 8' and 20'. These are generally the most important part of the system that get's clogged.........

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Attachment 70105
Thanks. I'm not sure that I have an interior system (but would certainly stand to be corrected). When I removed the 12' of tile along the first wall and the 6' along the second wall, I saw no pipes entering toward an inner drain tile system. When would they have started installing the inner drain tile? (I of course do have one tile that enters the basement below the floor that feeds from the exterior drain tile into sump pit.)
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:30 PM   #13
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straw WILL hurt - use # 57 stone - more later - cooking ribs

ok, we're done w/dinner,,, straw will decompose & add more debris to the drainage system,,, what IS the drain mtl - orangeburg pipe, corrugated kdpe flexible pipe, OR perforated pvc ?

did you notice any sign of filter cloth ? when we install the systems, we line a 12" x 12" x 12" trench w/soil erosion cloth,,, using a sock'd pipe allows silt build-up too close to the pipe thereby stopping any drainage,,, we also install inspection stubs & cleanouts as part of the whole system,,, we have, on occasion, been able to clear the system by running a power snake thru it but that's only temporary,,, it WILL plug up again sometime !

Last edited by stadry; 04-30-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:07 AM   #14
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Hi Its really conc.

Thanks for the input.

There were no signs of any filter-cloth or another material (except stone) covering the clay tiles that were in there. I'm not sure that filter cloth was used in the mid-1970s however. I would have expected felt paper covering the clay drainage tile joints (over the top half of the clay tile) before the stone covered, but there was none. I think that is why they clogged.

I used 3/4 " limestone to cover the new PVC tile (I did use the sock) about 12-14" over the drain tile (and 3-4 inches under the tile also). I also treated/painted the wall with the rubberized coating, and went over that with the Platon airgap membrane. I extended the membrane over the footing about 1/2 the width of the drain tile.

At this point, I've already covered/reburied the fixes that I did, so I hope that they last for a while.

"straw will decompose & add more debris to the drainage system"

I thought about this a while (3-4 days during the project) before I proceeded. I believe that 40 or more years ago, it was common to place straw over the stone to allow the water to pass while stopping/slowing the dirt. I thought about whether the straw would just decompose. Interesting, that while I was digging, several times (3' or 4' deep) I would find a leaf that looked like it had just fallen off the tree in late fall. Sometimes an oak leaf, and other times maple leaves. So, my thought were that perhaps the straw would last longer than I expected. And, if it does decay, doesn't it just turn to dirt (my thoughts anyways).

I understand that the augering out the pipes along the two exposed sides might be temporary. I'm hoping for a longer temporary than a shorter one. I'm pretty confident that I removed the blockage along the 2 walls that I had access to (the two walls at the corner keddy-corner from the sump pit). I'm also pretty sure that the blockage along the front of the home is around 50% of the height of the drainage tile. My home is 38 years old, and I'm pretty sure that the blockage took 38 years to accumulate. I'm hoping that it will take a while more before the front section will become blocked too much to pass the water sufficiently.

I hadn't thought about installing a clean-out access. That would have been a good idea. Well, perhaps next time.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:09 AM   #15
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Oh, the drain material was clay tile, and I replaced it with rigid PVC (with holes in it) covered by the sock.

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