How To Remove Old Drain Tile And Replace It With New PVC Drain Tile

Construction & Contractors Articles

Basement flooding often occurs due to hydrostatic pressure, which is the force exerted by water contained in the soil surrounding the basement. That is why it is important to drain away this water as quickly as possible before it pushes through your basement walls or beneath the footer. While most homes with basements should have drainage systems next to the exterior walls, these systems are prone to deteriorate over time due to silt or root infiltration. That is why you should dig up the old drains and replace them with newer materials. Below is how you can do it:

Tools and materials needed

  • Shovel

  • Hoe

  • Box level

  • 4-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe

  • 4-inch Schedule 40 PVC elbow fittings

  • 4-inch Schedule 40 PVC tee fitting

  • Measuring tape

  • Small sledgehammer

  • PVC cement

  • Electric drill with ⅛-inch bit

  • ¾-inch gravel

  • Filter fabric

Step-by-step procedure

1. Locate buried cables, lines and other utilities - Be sure to contact your local "One Call" center by dialing 811 on your phone and schedule a time/date for them to check for underground wiring, gas lines, water and sewer pipes, and other utilities. They will mark the location of these utilities to prevent accidental damage or disruption of service and to protect you from possible electrocution or explosion.

2. Dig the trench around the exterior of the home - Once you have assembled the tools and materials and buried utility locations are clearly marked, you are ready to begin digging the trench. Step away approximately three feet from the house walls, and start digging toward the house. A traditional shovel will work, but you may wish to consider using a spade in order to dig more easily.

3. Remove the old drain tile - As you continue to dig downward, you will eventually find what is known as drain tile. Drain tile is actually a misnomer, since it refers to short, 4-inch diameter clay pipes. These small sections of pipe are installed end-to-end, with some type of fabric placed over the slightly open joints; this is designed to permit water to freely enter into the joints but slow down the entry of soil. Ultimately, despite the fabric screens, these drains will fail over time due to silt eventually filling the pipe sections.

Removing the drain tile is fairly simple and straightforward. It can be pulled out of the ground in one piece or, if necessary, broken up into to smaller fragments with a small sledgehammer.

4. Prepare the trench for the new pipe - After removing the old drain tile, the next step is to create a firm, level foundation for the new drain tile. Continue digging until you reach the bottom of the footer; the trench needs to be deep enough to permit the water to empty into the drain tile without overflowing into the basement.

Once you have reached the bottom of the trench, lay down a 6-to-12 inch layer of ¾-inch diameter gravel into the trench and spread it around using your shovel and a hoe. If necessary, check for level by using a box level to measure the trench inclination. Tamp the gravel lightly into position so it becomes a firm base for the new drain tile.

5. Install the new drain tile - The drain tile used in this project consists of 4-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe with holes drilled in the bottom of the pipe. To drill the holes, measure and draw a straight line along the entire length of the pipe using a long straightedge. Next, drill 1/8-inch holes in the pipe along the line; space the holes approximately one inch apart as you move down the pipe.

After drilling the drain holes, lay the newly drilled PVC pipe into the trench with its holes facing downward on top of the gravel. Next, use elbow fittings at the corners around the outside walls and be sure to cement them into place with PVC cement. Continue to lay the drain tile in the trench until you are finished.

6. Fill the trench with gravel - Once you have placed all the drain tile, pour an additional layer of gravel on top of the drain tile until it is as full as you like. The more gravel in place, the more effective it will be in filtering water and preventing clogs. However, be sure to place a bare minimum of 6 inches of gravel above the drain tile.

7. Add the filter fabric and backfill the trench - After placing the gravel, cover the top of it with filter fabric. This material will serve to keep fine particles of silt from rushing down through the rocks and solidifying inside the gravel and drain tile. Next, shovel the soil back into the trench and cover the filter fabric; be sure to use plenty of soil to form a slope downward from the house toward the yard to prevent water from pooling around the edge of the house.

For more assistance with removing old drain tile and replacing it, contact a company like Champion Waterproofing.

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22 June 2016

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