St. Charles IL is a thriving city located on the banks of the Fox River. It is divided between Kane and DuPage Counties, with the majority of the city lying in the former, about 40 miles west of Chicago.
St. Charles has grown substantially from its agricultural roots and now boasts a population of more than 33,000. Home sales there have rebounded well from the 2009 recession and the city counts more than 11,000 homes within its boundaries even though the city is mostly “built out” with little new construction.
More than half of the homes in St. Charles are at least 35 years old and these homeowners have begun to experience the maintenance and repair issues that are common to older homes. Some of these problems, especially basement seepage, can occur in newer homes as well and many homeowners have experienced water in the basement.
The term “drain tile” is often confusing to homeowners because it’s not tile at all – it’s plastic pipe. The name comes from its origin when farmers used terra cotta roofing tiles, set one on top of another, to create subsoil drainage systems for agricultural land. The name just stuck.
Basements can be protected from seepage by installing drain tile on the interior or exterior of the foundation. In either installation, perforated pipe is laid next to the foundation footings in a bed of washed gravel. The pipe leads to a sump basin on one or both ends. Water pressure in the soil around or below the foundation is relieved by the pipe, which carries the water to a sump pump for discharge.
The source of water in the basement determines whether interior or exterior drain tile is recommended. If water is seeping into the basement through the cove joint between wall and floor or through cracks in the floor, interior drain tile is called for. If seepage is coming through the wall because of deteriorated mortar joints or porous masonry units or concrete, then exterior drain tile is recommended.
Installing interior drain tile begins with removing a strip of concrete around the perimeter of the basement floor and excavating down to the bottom of the foundation footings. Washed gravel is added to a depth of several inches before flexible, corrugated, perforated pipe, which is wrapped in a sock of filtration fabric, is laid on top. In a full-perimeter installation, the pipe is connected at both ends to the sump pit and then more washed gravel is added and the concrete floor is replaced.
When a rising water table creates hydrostatic pressure is created under the foundation, water that would otherwise seep into the basement through the cove joint or cracks in the floor goes into the drain tile and is conducted to the sump pump.
A basement waterproofing contractor will often install exterior drain tile when a waterproofing membrane is to be applied to an exterior foundation wall but it can also be done as a solo project. The excavation for the membrane is dug deep enough to expose the foundation footings and the bottom is filled with washed gravel. Perforated, rigid PVC pipe, strong enough to withstand soil exposure and exterior pressures, is installed and connected to a sump basin before being covered with more washed gravel. The excavation is then backfilled.
Similar to its interior cousin, exterior drain tile alleviates ground water pressure and transports the water to a sump pump so it will not be forced through or over the foundation wall.
Regardless of whether interior or exterior drain tile is the solution for a wet basement in a St. Charles home, the homeowner who is experiencing basement seepage will need the help of a basement waterproofing contractor. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been installing drain tile for decades and have laid down literally miles of it for thousands of the more than 300,000 satisfied customers we have served since 1957. So, why not ask for our free advice?
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