Foundation Drain Tile Installation

Foundation drain tile installation is a necessary step in order to prevent water from seeping into the basement, or underneath the foundation. This type of system can cost you a substantial amount of money, if you choose to hire a contractor to finish the task, but considering the fact that this is actually a fairly easy job, a homeowner that has some basic knowledge and skills should really consider taking a day or two and completing the job themselves.

Tools and Materials You'll Need:

  • Bobcat
  • Shovel
  • Pick
  • Drain tile (drain pipe)
  • Waterproofing material
  • Rock (small pea gravel mixture)

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Before beginning any type of project that involves digging, call an inspector to find out where the gas, power, phone and other such lines are located. Make sure that everything is accurately marked, and that as you are digging, you move any cables or lines as you reach them. Never disconnect these lines or pipes. Instead, prop them up where they are out of the way for your excavating task.

Step 2: Excavate the Area

Use a Bobcat, or similar type of equipment, and carefully dig the area out next to the foundation. Dig as close to the concrete as you can, without chipping or scarring it. Dig all the way down to the bottom edge, once again making sure that you do not cut any lines or pipes that are already installed. Finish this task with the pick and shovel, so that you have access to bare concrete.

Step 3: Insulate the Hole

After the hole is ready, place a layer of rock along the bottom, and then line it with waterproofing material. This keeps the footing upon which the tile will be laid stable, as well as preventing any soil or rock from backing up into the system through the drain holes that are present.

Step 4: Lay the Drain Tile

The drain pipe is then laid on top of the rock and waterproofing material. If the pipe has to be connected in sections by using joints, be sure to use plumbing cleaner and sealant on them, to ensure a tight fit.

Step 5: Layer more Rock

After the drain tile is in place, add about 6 inches of the rock mixture on top. This allows the water to drain effectively, while preventing any soil or rock from backing up into the system, which would cause the drain pipe to plug and no longer work effectively.

Step 6: Fill the Hole

Use the Bobcat and fill the hole back in with the soil that was removed in the first step. Take care to place the soil in slowly, to prevent the chance of crushing the pipe with the heavy equipment.

Installing a drain tile system is not a very complicated job, so any homeowner can accomplish the task. Be prepared to spend a few days on the job, though, and if you do not know how to run a Bobcat, take the time to learn how the pedals and controls work, before beginning the project.