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How to Install Foundation Drainage

foundation drainage installation preparation with weep hole drilling

If you are filled with dread every time it rains because you fear flooding in your basement or elsewhere on your property, you could benefit from proper foundation drainage.

This article explains the best way to address and install foundation drainage: professionally installed interior systems. We also cover popular but less effective methods.

Installing interior foundation drainage systems can be complex, so we want to make the process as easy as possible.

For lasting results, we encourage you to contact local basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts like Ohio Basement Systems for a FREE inspection.

A Look at Interior Drainage Systems

installing foundation drainage in a basement with interior drainage and a sump pump

Exterior solutions—from gutters and downspouts to footing drains and curtain drains—are commonly installed to handle foundation waterproofing.

We’ll explain those later, but our team recommends interior waterproofing, hands down. These methods are the most effective ways to tackle leaking water at the source.

Most homes in Northern Ohio have basements, so that’s what we describe below. However, we also offer similar solutions for crawl space waterproofing and encapsulation.

Your basement will benefit from the BasementGutter™ interior drain and a sump pump. These systems are designed to work together to catch and remove water from your basement.

Here’s a look at our installation process:

1. Prep & Excavation

  • Identify the lowest point of the basement for the optimal sump pump location.
  • Excavate the basement floor to create a pit for the sump liner.
  • Excavate the basement perimeter, creating a trench for the interior drainage system.
  • Drill weep holes in the bottom basement walls for water movement. 

2. Installation

  • Place the interior drainage channels in the trench, ensuring proper positioning and alignment.
  • Connect the interior drains to the sump basin, allowing water to flow into the basin for collection.
  • Position the sump pumps and associated components within the sump liner according to the installation requirements.
  • Install interior sump pump discharge pipes to direct the collected water away from the basement area.

3. Set Up Discharge Lines and Electrical

  • Extend the discharge pipes through the basement wall, creating an exit point for the water.
  • Connect exterior discharge pipes, extensions, and any necessary anti-freeze discharge line attachments.
  • Establish an electrical connection between the sump pump system and the control panel.
  • If necessary, incorporate a battery backup system for continuous operation during power outages.

4. Finishing Touches

  • Test the drainage and pump systems to ensure proper functionality.
  • Secure an airtight lid over the sump basin to prevent moisture and odors from entering the basement.
  • Pour fresh cement to restore the basement floor, ensuring a smooth and seamless finish.

For comprehensive basement waterproofing, you can pair these systems with our wall vapor barrier and basement dehumidifier. You can further discuss this with your Ohio Basement Systems inspector.

Pair these 4 Methods with Interior Waterproofing

Interior drainage is not the only way to waterproof your foundation, but it is by far the most successful.

For complete protection inside and outside your home, we recommend pairing interior basement waterproofing solutions with exterior counterparts.

Let’s explore four other popular techniques you may have heard of or even seen around your home.

1. Gutters and Downspouts

installing exterior foundation drainage solutions like downspouts and grading

Proper management of rainwater runoff from the roof is a crucial step in preventing foundation damage.

A well-maintained, clog-free gutter system prevents water from overflowing and spilling directly next to the foundation.

Additionally, downspouts channel water away from your home’s perimeter, ensuring it does not accumulate and compromise the foundation’s integrity.

These systems also rely on properly sloped soil, which is next on our list.

2. Foundation Soil Grading

Over time, the excavated soil around the foundation settles and can slant downward (a negative grade), allowing water to collect in these low-lying areas and seep into your basement.

You need positively graded soil that does slope down, but away from your foundation. Landscapers can assist by ensuring the soil’s slope has a minimum decline of six inches for every 10 feet away from the foundation.

3. Exterior Drainage Systems

Many homes are constructed with exterior footing drains to intercept water from the soil surrounding the foundation and prevent excessive hydrostatic pressure and basement leaks.

While these drains are effective when functioning properly, they are susceptible to damage and failure over time. As they are buried in a trench, the surrounding soil can crush and clog them, rendering them inoperable.

Although exterior footing drains may be part of building requirements, it’s crucial to ensure your home’s protection by implementing additional drainage solutions like the interior methods we mentioned earlier.

4. Curtain Drains

Even if you adjust your soil grading, directing water away from the foundation can pose a significant challenge if your home is located at the bottom of a hill. Curtain drains installed along the edge of the incline can provide an effective solution.

This involves placing perforated pipe in a trench dug near the foundation. The pipe is covered with gravel or stone, and the area is filled in.

As with other exterior solutions, it’s important to combine curtain drains with other (interior) measures for optimal effectiveness.

Ohio Basement Systems inspector meeting with a homeowner

Solve Your Foundation Drainage Issues Today!

Addressing water issues around your foundation can be a challenging endeavor, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Our seasoned team of professionals takes the guesswork out of the process.

By partnering with Ohio Basement Systems, you can have peace of mind knowing that your foundation’s integrity and your home’s well-being are in capable hands. Don’t let water issues persist. Take the first step towards a lasting solution by contacting us for a free inspection today.


You may need foundation drainage solutions if you notice water pooling around the foundation, moisture stains or efflorescence on basement walls, musty odors, cracks in the foundation or basement floor, and humidity or mold issues in the basement. If you see any of these signs, it’s an indication that water is seeping into your foundation area and needs to be addressed right away.

Perusing the aisles of a big-box store for a DIY solution is not the answer. These are temporary “quick fixes” that can become complicated and expensive. To find the right basement drainage system for your home, it’s crucial for a basement waterproofing professional—like Ohio Basement Systems—to assess your home and recommend appropriate solutions. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and estimate. 

Yes, proper foundation drainage is crucial, even for homes without basements. Homes with crawl spaces or slab foundations are still susceptible to water intrusion, which can lead to structural damage, mold growth, and other issues. Ohio Basement Systems offers specialized solutions like crawl space encapsulation with drainage systems and sump pumps to protect these types of foundations.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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