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Old 08-05-2010, 01:47 PM   #1
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Drain Tile Recommendation:

Question is about the structure of a 50 year old single family home (55 feet X 30 feet area) with a basement and ground floor in Park Ridge area. We want to
dig out the periphery of the entire house, reach the foundation from exterior and install drain tile and connect that to a sump pit to divert ground water.

Two contractors said that exposing foundation by digging out the entire periphery is very risky and may cause crack on the foundation. They propose to install
drain tiles from inside.

Others think allowing ground water to enter inside the foundation (interior drain tile) is a very bad idea. Suggest installation of external drain tile is the most
advisable and not likely to cause any crack.

Each plumbers and contractor has a different opinion. Some one suggested to consult a Structural Engineer. Hence I am reaching out to you my questions are:

1. Installation of which drain tile system is more recommended, External or internal?

2. Installation of external drain tile, could that cause crack on the foundation?

Your response will be much appreciated. In case you do not feel competent, can you please refer some one else?


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Old 08-05-2010, 02:57 PM   #2
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I have no idea where the "Park Ridge" area is (country, state, climate, etc.). This has a bearing on the problem and solution.

Do you have complete access to all sides of the basement or frost wall area from the exterior? This is important since water can travel long distances horizontally if a frost wall blocks some drainage path - then it can flow down to a footing at a lower elevation.

First, what kind or water problem do you think you have? A high water table that is usually stable or affected slowly (days, months, years by rain) or a problem that shows up soon after the rain/melting event (hours or days)?

I can't see where excavating the outside of the foundation wall down to the footing depth will cause the cracks in the "foundation". This also provides an opportunity to waterproof the exterior and use a proper backfill that will drain and allow the tile to do its job. If the contractor backfills improperly he would be responsible for cracks or movement due to the backfilling.

If you do not have complete access to the perimeter, interior drain tile can be a better solution because this will lower the water table and decrease any hydrostatic pressure under a slab. Since the slab also provides lateral restraint to a foundation wall it is usually good to leave a few spaced "bridges" and dig under them to provide lateral support until the tile is installed and the slab sections are replaced. - I did this method on my house on weekends with some labor by a few 10-12 year old kids. I had a contractor saw the slab cutouts and the rest was all my labor when time was available and kids were available to haul out concrete pieces and haul in rock for the drain tile system.

Use pvc pipe if at all possible and not the cheap corrugated junk.

This is just a shot in the dark without enough information.



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Old 08-05-2010, 04:35 PM   #3
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Drain Tile Recommendation

Thanks for your response. Park Ridge is in Chicagoland area Zip: 60068.

Our main concern is whether digging all around the exterior may damage the foundation wall. Your answer is: it should not. Some of the plumbers said it would. Common sense states it should not.

Once again thanks for your response.
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