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The High and Dry Blog

Toronto’s structural clarity in a sea of confusion.

What is a Weeping Tile and Do I Need One?

Your home is one of your biggest and most valuable investments. Some homes are positioned in areas where the groundwater is likely to build up in the soil which can cause the water table to rise.

What does this mean? It means that hydrostatic pressure can be created which pushes on the foundation walls and can force water through cracks. This water seeping in can lead to the cracks expanding and even more water entering your home. If your home is built at or below ground level you must ensure that water is not surrounding the home.

How can you prevent this? It is important to keep this investment safe and one way to do so is by ensuring that your weeping tile system is functioning properly and keeping your basement happy and dry.

What is a Weeping Tile?

Weeping tiles are pipes that go underground around the foundation wall of a home to carry water away. These plastic pipes are porous and positioned on an angle forcing water to travel down and away from the home. Weeping tiles have been used for many years and provided simplicity and reliability for homeowners. 

What Does a Weeping Tile Do?

Weeping tiles help keep your basement from getting wet! They carry water away from the foundation which helps reduce hydrostatic pressure and eliminate the possibility of cracks and leaks. Since the weeping tiles have holes in them, they stop water levels from rising above them. The water rises to the holes and then flows into them and travels down the pipe and away from the home. Not only does this system keep your home dry, it also is constructed with robust materials which means that they can last almost indefinitely!

Where Does the Water Go?

Weeping tile systems are generally connected to storm drains or to interior floor drains, or to a sump pump located inside your home. The sump pump then exhausts the water out and away from your foundation; either into a drywell or into the existing plumbing.

Is My Weeping Tile Working?

How your home drains water has a lot to do with the age of the home. If your home is newer the foundation drainage system may be constructed out of perforated plastic piping that is wrapped with filtercloth. The purpose of this it to collect water and move it away from the home while the cloth keeps out all of the silt and below grade debris. The issue with this is that often times the filtercloth is not properly installed with leads to the weeping tile system becoming filled with different materials, clogging the system which leads to eventual failure.

Homes that were built prior to the 1960s have a weeping tile system that is constructed from clay. The issue with this type of weeping tile is that over time the clay begins to disintegrate and crush which means that it will likely fail. The reason clay was previously used was that basements weren’t constructed to be used like we use them today. We need our basements to be livable which means that they have to be dry, safe, and comfortable. When we come across these older homes and notice leaks, our first concern is the clay weeping tiles and replacing them with new age plastic weeping tiles.

Do I Need to Replace My Weeping Tile?

Some companies will tell you that a new weeping tile system will fix all of your water issues. This is not always true. It is important to determine the nature and cause of the issues first. In our experience, once a weeping tile system has failed it will lead to other issues. That’s why if we’re working on your foundation wall and we have exposed the wall and the footings, no matter how great your weeping tile looks, we will replace it. We do this because we want to ensure that the gravel bed that surrounds the weeping tile system is properly installed which involves replacing the existing weeping tile. Since new weeping tile systems work so well and last so long, this works out as a positive for any homeowner!

What Kind of Weeping Tile System Do I Need?

Even though weeping tile systems are very important in keeping your basement dry, they are not the only variable. Different soils retain different amounts of water which is referred to as Soil Percolation Levels (SPL). For example, heavy clay soils retain water which can cause the water to be held above the weeping tile system, leading to hydrostatic pressure. This means pressure on your foundation walls that can lead to cracks and entries for water.

How Does My Foundation Type Affect My Home?

Different homes are constructed with different foundation types depending on the area they are built and the time period that they were built in. These differences can result in different ways that water can enter seep through the foundation and enter the basement.

Concrete Block Foundations

In homes that have concrete block foundations, these cracks can also transform into step cracks. These are cracks that follow the mortar lines which means more water entering the basement and eventually so much will enter that it will begin to pool.

Poured Concrete Foundations

In homes that have a poured concrete foundation, water can enter the basement in different ways. One of the common points of weakness in these foundations is the tie-rod holes. These holes are created during the forming process to hold the concrete forms level. Other areas of weakness include electrical conduits, utility ports, fireplaces, and more.

Why Choose GJ MacRae?

If you’re considering any basement repairs for your home, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at GJ MacRae. Our team of experts have been servicing the Greater Toronto Area for years and providing only the best repairs possible. We also offer our customers a 15-year transferable warranty because we take pride in the quality of the repairs that we offer. If you have any questions you can visit our website or call us today at (905) 824-2557!