GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Foundation Drainage

tman8612 | Posted in General Questions on

Hello – I have a house that recently had its basement flooded due to intense rains. Throughout the winter and typical rainstorms the basement stays dry – it’s just the massive rain storms where we have had issues. The house was built in the 70’s with a block foundation and has an old tarpaper perimeter drain which has totally collapsed/failed. The house is also on a steep hill (full ht basement one side, walk-out on the other) so the water running down really hits one side of the house hard. 
I am wondering if a berm paired with external drain pit with a sump pump along the back side of the house would be a viable alternate to a full blown perimeter drain install? Has anyone dealt with something like this? Ideally, I would install a perimeter drain that wraps the 3 sides of the house, but access to one side is not feasible with an excavator. Thanks in advance!

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. walta100 | | #1

    Replacing the exterior footing drain would be ideal but it would destroy whatever landscaping you have be expensive and operating equipment so close to the foundation is risky.

    Before I did anything I would see if I could get the original drains inspected with a camera and reopened and I would pay for several opinions before I condemned the drains. I see no reason to believe ALL of the tile has collapsed maybe one section or it is full of roots.

    Anything you can do to divert water away from the home is a good idea.

    Installing an interior drain with a sub pump is always possible so long as you understand the risk the it could rain while the power is out and things would get ugly.


  2. Expert Member


    The problem is you won't know if it works, only if it doesn't - and that knowledge may come soon, or some time down the road.

    We know perimeter drains, coupled with measures like dimple mats or coatings, are effective remediation measures. Re-grading and exterior sump pits don't offer any certainty.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |