3 Reasons Why a Plumber Shouldn’t Install Drain Tile


3 Reasons Why a Plumber Shouldn’t Install Drain Tile

Finding the right professional to improve or repair your home can be a confusing process.

Some choices are easy:  Need a new roof?  Call a roofer.  Want to plant some bushes?  Call a landscaper.  Living room walls looking drab and faded?  Call a painter.

Some aren’t so readily apparent:  When a garage door spring breaks do you call a handyman, a general contractor or do you need a specialist in garage doors?  How about a broken window?  Replacing a mailbox?  Installing an attic fan?

What about a water problem?  Call a plumber, right?  Not necessarily.  If the water problem is in the basement and it’s not directly related to a pipe or a fixture, a plumber won’t be much help and you’ll need a basement waterproofing contractor instead.

Let’s look at a typical example.

3 Reasons to Call a Basement Waterproofing Contractor Instead of a Plumber

One very common basement water problem is seepage through the cove joint, which is the minuscule opening between the basement floor and wall.  Water is forced in here by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation that occurs when heavy rainfall or snow melt causes the water table to rise.

The cove joint cannot be sealed because the external hydrostatic pressure is strong enough to force out any sealants applied there, including hydraulic cement.  Instead, the problem is fixed by installing interior drain tile -- corrugated, perforated plastic pipe buried in gravel below the basement floor -- to relieve the water pressure and convey the water out of the house.

So, if it involves pipe and water, why wouldn’t a plumber do it?

1. Training – Plumbers are highly skilled tradespeople who must qualify for a professional license to practice their trade, which is managing water that enters and leaves the house in a controlled fashion.  They are not, however, trained to work on basement seepage because it just isn’t their job.

A basement waterproofing contractor, on the other hand, specializes in seepage and their technicians and installers are trained to diagnose and permanently repair basement water problems.  They can’t fix your sink but they can sure keep your basement dry with properly installed drain tile.

2. Experience – Plumbers are smart people and they could probably figure out how to put in some interior drain tile but most would decline to do so because of their lack of experience.  Because it takes more than just digging a hole and dropping in some pipe and gravel, homeowners will benefit from the design and installation experience that only a basement waterproofing contractor has.

3. Technology and Materials – In the plumbing world, things have certainly evolved over the years.  PVC pipe, flexible water supply lines, tankless water heaters and countless other improvements for homeowners have kept plumbers on top of their game in materials and technology for the past few decades.

Although the improvements aren’t as visible to an outside observer, the basement waterproofing world has changed, too, from the days of injecting a clay slurry into the ground to stop leaking cracks.  Today, basement waterproofing contractors make use of high-tech materials and improved processes to reduce the cost and inconvenience of keeping a basement dry and healthy.

At U.S. Waterproofing, we can’t fix your clogged sink drain or install a new shower but we can ensure that your basement will stay dry when we fix your seepage problem.  We’ve been in business since 1957 helping more than 300,000 homeowners around the Chicago area with their basement water problems and we can help with yours as well.  Why not ask for our free advice?


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