Levittown & Trenton's Exterior Drain Tile Systems

Advantages & Disadvantages of Repairing your Wet Basement with an Exterior French Drain

Illustration of an exterior French drain system installed around the perimeter of a home
Cutaway of a French drain system installed on the outside of the concrete footing of a home foundation. A discharge line would also be included to send the water away from your home. Shown in this photo are the French drain itself (filled with water), a fill of stone, and the backfilled soil.

Many contractors will recommend installing a french drain system along the outside perimeter of your home to waterproof your basement.

To install an exterior French drain, the contractor will take the following steps:

  1. First, the entire perimeter of your home must be cleared. Gardens, steps, porches, etc., must be removed before the work can begin.
  2. Next, the contractor will dig out the perimeter of your home. Excavated dirt will be heaped around the house.
  3. The drain will be laid in a bed of stone along the bottom. The stone, and possibly a layer of filter fabric, are there to protect the drain from clogging.
  4. The excavated soil will be "backfilled" on top of the system. In a year, this soil will settle, and the contractor will need to return to fill in more soil.

At B.Q. Basement Systems, we do not recommend this type of drainage system installed in your home. Instead, we suggest installing an interior basement drain along the inside perimeter of your basement or crawl space. For a free waterproofing quote in PA & NJ, call or e-mail us today!

Preparing To Have an Exterior French Drain Installed

A home before a french drain installation You Will Need to Remove:
  • Trees
  • Shrubberies
  • Gardens
  • Porches
  • Steps
  • Sidewalks
  • Patios
  • Driveways
  • And More

You can expect the contractors to create huge heaps of excavated soil all around your home, creating a mess.

On top of that, the process is extremely expensive, costing $15,000 to $20,000 per installation. The installation time is twice as long or more than if you choose to have an interior system put in.

French Drains Failing in PA & NJ

clogged french drain
Found installed around a home - a clogged French drain system.

A recipe for failure is placing French drain or any exterior footing drain along the outside perimeter of your home. With an exterior drainage system it will eventually clog with dirt, roots, and debris; even when it is placed in a bed of gravel. A drainage system several feet below the surface of the ground will only spell disaster.

French drain systems have been installed on the outside of homes since the 1920s, and if they were the best way to dry a basement, B.Q. Basement Systems would be installing them, too.

To help control clogs sometimes a contractor will try to stop this by laying down a layer of filter fabric around the drain. In this case, instead of the drain clogging, the filter fabric becomes blocked and won't let water into the pipe. Freezing pipes and sloped lines are other problems that are fairly common to occur to French drain systems. The water under your basement floor is usually not collected by this type of exterior drainage system. Then, in this case, you'll still need to purchase a sump pump for inside your basement. Some contractors even connect the exterior drains to the sump pump inside. Now that's sure to clog!

What happens when your drainage system clogs? It will need to be excavated and you'll have to start over. Who wants that?

For a FREE waterproofing quote, call or e-mail us today!

We service the Eastern PA and Western NJ areas, including Pottstown, Trenton, Levittown, Newtown, Frenchtown, Red Hill, Doylestown, Bala Cynwyd, Quakertown, New Hope, Flemington, and nearby.

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

our service area

We serve the following areas

Our Locations:

BQ Basement Systems
525 Bethlehem Pike
Erdenheim, PA 19038