WaterGuard vs. Drain Tile

Old 03-20-05, 01:14 PM
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WaterGuard vs. Drain Tile

I'm trying to decide between 2 bids for waterproofing my basement from recommended waterproofers in my area. One is for a drain tile installed in the basement floor in the areas that I've experienced water. The other is for "WaterGuard" from "Basement Systems" which is a plastic gutter to be buried in the basement floor, and around the entire perimeter of the basement.

Does anybody have any experiences with the "WaterGuard" system, either good or bad? This system ends up costing about double, though they will also install about 3 times as much. Both estimates call for a sump pump.
Old 03-21-05, 07:10 AM
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Everyone has their own opinions on drain tile systems. When you have an existing home there are various systems that one can use. Which one is better than the other is sometimes debatable but the evidence in how well they work is how dry is their basement?

I think anytime you install a drain tile system, you are definitely decreasing the chances of problems so that you can enjoy the lower level. The application of sealers is fine but only if you have taken care of the infiltrating water that can be at times so powerful that it will come through the sealer. For some, the site conditions may mean that you have a high water table while for others the soil condition may act like a sponge and stay only at a certain level. What is important is to take care of issues that “might” be causing the problems to begin with. This may mean extensions on downspouts, improved grading, eliminating allot of shrubbery that can cause voids below the top soil and collect water as examples. Whatever the case may be, the need for a system that can relieve this pressure is essential.

Interior Applications for Existing Homes

The WaterGuard system is one example of a system that is less intrusive in installation versus the traditional drain tile that would be used in a new home construction. Both provide the means to direct the incoming water to a sump basket to be pumped out to the exterior. Both require the need to drill weep holes in the bottom block or poured wall.

However the main difference is that the WaterGuard system is easier to install as it sits on the footing. It has no holes from the interior surface because this would prevent it from getting it to the sump basket. The minimum removal of existing concrete is less and once installed it can be easily covered with concrete, but the thickness of this replacement concrete is approx. half of the original thickness. It may cost less to install but you must decide to what degree of security you want against water infiltration.

The traditional drain tile is installed along the inside of the footing. This is then covered with pea gravel. 4” Drain tile today is not only perforated but also completely covered in a fiber mesh to avoid clogs from mud. Previously, in years gone by, this was just a perforated plastic pipe and you could apply a sheet of mesh over it, if done correctly. Bear in mind, what once was is not no more. It’s hard to dismiss myths or old ways when technology has made great improvements. The installation of this method places the tile at a lower level which means that any water that would or could come up under the slab, and this does happen, would be collected and then directed to the sump basket for discharge. The good thing is that this method does allow for the original concrete floor thickness to be installed. So yes this is more expensive but IMHO, a better option. This is an example of an exterior application -


I do stress that trying to install any type of drain tile system is one that should encompass the entire perimeter. Doing just one portion and then finishing your lower level may be like throwing money out the window. The water may stop where you know you have a problem but what happens when it starts in another area? The purpose of drain tile is to relieve the pressure, collect it and direct it to a sump pump so it can get pumped out to an area that will not allow this excess water to return. Installing just a portion is a waste of money. That saying, “Do it right the first time or don’t do it all” would apply here.

Last issue is to install an emergency “back up sump pump” I wrote this sometime back and it may be helpful to you.

I guess if I were you I would not even consider a "Battery Back Up Sump Pump". Reason you may be asking is that it is not a guarantee that they will work when needed. As with most homeowners, we don't always check on things when we are supposed to. If it is out of sight, it definitely is out of mind!

I would recommend a good water powered sump pump backup like the Guardian, normally available through a plumber since they don't sell these over the counter through a plumbing distributor. They are not cheap, runs about $450 - $500 but this must be plumbed into a 3/4" line, and installed before going to any fixtures or tees. Labor on these can be $350 plus. The water pressure from the city powers this and does quite well - for every gallon of water used, 2 gallons is pumped out. It requires a 1 1/2 PVC pipe for discharge. It does come with a Backflow Preventer for the water inlet pipe but you will need to get a check valve for the 1 1/2" PVC line. It can lift the water up to 15 feet at 407 GPH. At 10' it is 580 GPH. It does have an adjustable float that is placed adjusted just above your existing sump pump. So when the power does come back on, yours would kick on and the back up automatically shuts down. Simple and very effective.

I am an advocate of this type and have installed many, especially after a client calls and says their battery back up failed. What usually happens is the batteries fail or if wired in on its own circuit, the power goes out, breaker trips and it doesn't recharge. Other cases, the batteries have just failed. If you don't check on it, you will have problems. At least the water pressure is more of a guarantee than the battery backups. I stress this is just used as an Emergency Back Up. I want to point out that those with "wells" would be wise to have the "Battery Back Up" unit.

Hope this helps!
Old 10-19-11, 07:46 AM
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I have an issue with my downstairs. It's not a deep basement. the portion that is underground leaks only during large rain storms and as far as I can tell only when the gutter's overflow. REcently I noticed another spot on the other end of the downstairs where gutters are not an issue. Mid Atlantic wants to install their Drain Tile Patent system. Is this over kill?
Old 10-20-11, 10:18 AM
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I gotta tell you that the water backup pumps mess up too!
My cousin's water backup pump failed to shut off after the power was restored and since the outlet for the pump was far from the home it was 2 days before he realized it was still running. The water bill was over $1200 plus the cost of having the switch replaced that was bad. He was told after the new install to run the pump every 3 or 4 month to keep the valve working properly. So it is not a put it in and forget it type thing. They told him to unplug the regular sump pump and to fill the sump with water either from a bucket (or several buckets) or a hose until the backup kicks on then keep it running for 5 minutes then make sure it shuts off. Remember they said to do this every 3 or 4 months!!
As far as a partial or full drain in the basement I would go for the full...what would be the problem if it starts leaking where the partial was NOT at??

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