How to Install an Interior Drain Tile System

A basement may be plagued by standing water or persistent dampness as a result of seasonal flooding, a high water table, poor exterior drainage or other factors. Several exterior or interior drainage systems can be implemented to provide relief.

Although drain tile installation inside a basement, by its very nature, does not render the basement waterproof, a properly installed drain tile system will capture water and direct it below the basement floor to prevent water from entering the basement proper.


1. Break up the concrete slab around the perimeter where the drain will be placed. Make a trench, but avoid damaging the footing for the wall, which must remain intact so as to support the wall.

2. Dig a trench at least 6 inches wide and to about the same depth next to the footing. When excavating, bear in mind that the trench and the pipe that will be placed later must slope slightly toward a sump pump or other outlet, and must be higher than any inlet on the sump pit. Typically, only a change in elevation of 1/4 inch is necessary.

3. Drill a series of 3/8-inch-deep holes along the base of the wall using a rotary hammer if the wall is made of cinder blocks or is otherwise hollow.

4. Place about 2 inches of clean, coarse gravel in the trench, making sure that you retain the slight slope established at the trench bottom.

5. Place the drain tile in the trench, again checking to make sure it slopes toward the sump pump. Use an adapter, if necessary, to attach the drain tile to the sump pit.

6. Fill in the space on either side of the drain tile with gravel.

7. Install a flange that extends from the trench up the wall. The flange should be engineered to leave a small gap between the flange material and the wall so that water flows down the wall directly into the drain.

8. Fill in the remainder of the trench, up to the height where a concrete patch of the desired thickness can be placed and be flush with the existing floor surface.

9. Cover the excavated trench area with a concrete patch, packing it in with a trowel and smoothing the surface with a float.

10. Install panels over the basement walls, if desired. Use drive anchors rather than an adhesive so as to provide space for any moisture seeping through the wall to drain down to the flange. Use a panel made from a material that does not support mold growth, like fiberglass.

11. Direct the discharge pipe or hose from the sump pump far enough away from the house and other structures and make sure that the landscape slopes away from the house so that water cannot easily re-enter.

Note: Whether or not you go ahead with a project like this you will want to clean the perimeter drain every two or three years. We recommend you hire a drain tile Vancouver service that uses a hydro flush system to blow out dirt and blockages. Keeping the drains clean should be on your maintenance list of important things.

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