Clay Footer Drain Tiles – a Danger For Basement Waterproofing

One of the most fundamental elements of any good drainage system for protecting your home’s foundation walls from water damage are footer drains, which act as conduits to move excess groundwater away from your basement. Footer drains are not a new modern concept, and have been around for many years. Still, the materials used to construct drains today are superior to those used years ago, which deteriorate and become ineffective over the years. Traditionally, basement waterproofing footer drains were made using clay tile, which worked well at the time. But if your house is several decades old, these clay footer tiles may be losing their effectiveness.

The problem with clay tile pipes and drains is that they can deteriorate over time, and develop cracks, breaks and slips that allows sediment and tree roots into the system. When enough roots and dirt have clogged a clay drain, it can become completely blocked and no longer allow the conveyance of water out away from your foundation. And if this happens, it’s only a matter of time until excess groundwater builds up around your basement walls and begins to cause problems like water damage, mold, mildew, cracking and leaking. Any of these can end up being much more expensive to fix than simply fixing your current clay footer drain tiles.

That’s not to suggest that you will necessarily have to replace your clay drains with modern PVC pipe drains in order to solve your basement waterproofing problem. on the contrary, in many cases your clay drains can be serviced by simply tapping into one corner of the drainage system and cleaning the drain itself. This is possible with either a drain snake auger or a high-pressure water jetting system, which can blast obstructions out of the drain and allow water to flow freely through it again.

If, however, your clay footer tiles are severely cracked, broken or slipped out of place, it may be necessary to replace some or all of your foundation drainage system. This can involve an extensive amount of work, since a complete excavation of your foundation is necessary to reach the footer drains themselves. And if your basement walls have been significantly damaged by hydrostatic pressure already, it may be necessary to also replace the blocks themselves, as well. As you can tell, it’s better to service your existing clay footer to work properly before the damage becomes irreversible.

The advantage of having modern, perforated PVC pipe footer drains is that the materials are vastly more durable than clay and last longer without the need to clean them out as often. While newly constructed homes are now built using modern drainage materials, older homes that were built before PVC pipe may have to be serviced more often to ensure that there is no flooding or water damage in your basement. By having your clay footer drain tiles serviced regularly by professional drain cleaners, you can ensure that costly water damage and flooding issues won’t be in your future.