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Guide to Basement Waterproofing for Charlotte Homeowners

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Feeling moist and drippy? If your basement walls are wet, a French drain system — also called an interior drain system— can expel that boggy feeling.

A French Drain Keeps Your Basement Dry

French drains arose to drain farmland and are usually recognized as an innovation, named after the man who universalized their use, not after a nation of origin. Both were first constructed of terra cotta roofing tilework set on top of the other to form a thick pipe that allotted water infiltration from the surfaces. This is why the method is known commonly now as “drain tile.”

When used in residential architecture, the French drain sits beside the foundation’s footings and forms a space to ease the pressure generated by water underground. The water flows into the pipe instead and is taken off upon a pump or by gravity.

An internal installation is advised when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation pushes water into the basement by the cove joint between wall and floor or through cracks in the base. A rise in the water table forms this pressure, usually caused by massive rains. An internal French drain is connected by removing a strip of cement floor around the edge and digging a shallow channel to the base of the footings. A bed of coated gravel is poured, and a perforated, corrugated plastic tube, covered by a dimple board,” is placed on top and attached to a sump basin. More gravel covers the line, and the concrete floor is replaced.


French drains are a traditional and efficient basement waterproofing method to keep basements dry by directing water away from the foundation. Other aliases for French drains are drain tile, footing drain, curtain drain, weeping tile, perimeter drain, and sub-surface pipe.

Oh yes, to inform you, a French drain has nothing to do with France. The title of the creator was a 19th century American called Henry French.

What exactly is a French drain system?

A French drain is a conventional basement waterproofing resolution involving either perforated pipe or bending corrugated pipe in a shallow creek along with gravel. The perforated tube channels excess water in the soil under and around your home’s basement into a gathering pit called a basin. From there, it’s directed away from the foundation via by using a sump pump.

A French drain can either be fixed in your home’s interior, under the basement floor or outside the home, concealed in the soil along the foundation footing. Both are very efficient solutions for a wet basement.

French drains don’t restrict water from getting into your basement. Instead, they take water below and around your home and channel it outside, away from the foundation before it can discover its way under. Depending on how you plan to utilize your basement, the channel with the perforated pipe might be covered with concrete, a grate, or not at all.

Installing a French drain in a current house is a significant development project. If it’s placed inside, under the basement floor, it will include using a jackhammer to dig up the foundation for the channel. However, heavy digging down to the footer will occur if the French drain is placed outside, along the foundation’s border. Therefore, we don’t promote either as a DIY project.

If you’re considering fitting a French drain in your foundation, you now know that there’s more to holding a basement dry than just sealing fissures and plugging holes. In other words, water going inside your basement is just part of the obstacle. There’s also the difficulty of managing the hydrostatic pressure.


When the water rises in the soil outside your basement wall or under the basement slab and doesn’t have a way to dump off, hydrostatic pressure will build up exert force on the walls and the basement slab. If that goes on long enough, the walls will start to bend inward and which could result in other damages. Hydrostatic pressure can also force water through a basement wall or basement slab. Therefore, a proper drainage arrangement not only holds your basement dry it also protects your home’s fundamental integrity by limiting hydrostatic pressure from building up in the first place.

There are two sorts of sump pumps: submersible and pedestal.

Submersible sump pumps go into the collecting pit, known as the sump pump basin, under the basement floor. Once the water in the pocket reaches a specific level, the pump turns on and gets rid of it. The smaller the collecting pit, the more often the pump has to work.

Pedestal sump pumps rest on a pole over the collection pit and hover like a toilet tank. When the water in the hole rises, so does the float. The pump turns on and delivers the water to the surface if the float rises to a specific point.

What Does It Cost to Install a Basement French drain?

The cost of installing a French drain in the basement of a current home depends on several factors, including your geographic area, the linear footage of drainage needed, and whether the basement is a finished basement or unfinished. Hence, we can’t give you even a ballpark total.

The simple way to know the cost of installing a basement French drain system is to talk to a professional foundation repair contractor to investigate and evaluate. Most contractors will examine for free and will be capable of telling you if a French drain is a resolution that will serve all of you.

Difference Between a Floor Drain and a French Drain

A French drain helps to submerge the water in the soil beneath and around your foundation before it has an opportunity to make its move into your basement. In reverse, a basement floor drain gets rid of water that forces, for example, spill out of your washing machine or washing sink. That is why basement floors are sloped lightly. If your laundry machine overflows, the water moves under the basement floor drain or in the sewer or into a collection pit where a sump pump later gets rid of it.

Exterior French drain basement waterproofing?

An exterior French drain along your foundation’s footing is a different basement waterproofing solution. Placing an external French drain requires heavy digging to expose the ground’s foundation wall(s) below. Once that’s done, the contractor uses a waterproofing product to the coat the basement wall, accompanied by a drainage board. Finally, a channel is dug beside the footing, and later the perforated tube is placed in it and covered with clean gravel. The final step includes replacing the excavated soil, preferably with 95% gravel and finishing with positive grading.

Advantages of an External French Foundation Drain

An outside footing drain is one of the inevitable wet basement solutions. Regrettably, it’s also one of the costliest. Yet, this system requires careful excavation to expose your basement walls and footings. In addition, it enables you to utilize a waterproof coating or layer to the exterior surfaces of your walls for added strength.

To install an exterior footing drain, a waterproofing contractor channels around the outside of your foundation with a backhoe. The contractor uses waterproofing product to coat your basement walls and then installs a French drain system next to the foundation footing. The hole is filled with gravel to improve drainage.

If your lot is sloped, the drainage will move by gravity to an outlet point or a storm drain arrangement. Otherwise, you’ll need an external sump pump to remove the water away from your home.


  • Waterproofs basement walls from the exterior
  • Boundless excavation assures good drainage close to the foundation
  • Eliminates water before it can penetrate the basement

Schedule a Free Basement Waterproofing Consultation

Ready to say goodbye to basement water issues? Look no further than HydroHelp911 for expert basement waterproofing services. Our team will assess your needs and provide a custom-tailored solution to waterproof your basement. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today or give us a call at 704-741-9737 if you have questions.

Frequently asked questions:

How should water flowing between my foundation walls and floor be repaired?

Installing an edge French Drain System is the only proper repair for this condition. A French drain will hold the water table below your foundation floor and block any further leaking. All French Drain piping should terminate into a sump pit and should drain by gravity.

Can I seal up water that is penetrating my basement between the floor and the foundation walls?

No. Many have tried. This can only be rectified with the installation of a French Drain System.

Can I stop water from getting under my basement floor/slab of the exterior?

You cannot restrict water from accumulating from under your basement floor! It is the level of the water in the ground in your area. This water table is also at the corresponding level under your neighbor’s basements. If installed an exterior or interior drain system, the water level under your basement floor would still be as high as the bottom of the drain system piping.

Whether retaining your basement dry means a French drain needs to be installed on the interior or the exterior, one reality remains – only a qualified basement waterproofing contractor has the expertise and capability to install it properly.

For more information on our Basement Waterproofing, Foundation Repair, and Crawl Space Drainage Systems, call us toll-free at 704-741-9737.

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