4 Types of Foundation Drainage [Pictures]

foundation drainage using a pump

A home’s foundation is only as good as its drainage system. Foundation drainage is vital for your home and foundation. Too much water can cause your foundation to lift. Too little water can cause your foundation to shift.

Thus, finding the proper slope and drainage solutions is essential for longevity and preventing issues in the future. Our guide will walk through the types of foundation drainage you can utilize, plus their pros and cons.

The Importance of Proper Foundation Drainage

Many homeowners need to understand the full magnitude of having proper foundation drainage. Without drainage, you risk so much future damage to your home’s foundation and could face costly leaks and fixes down the road. There are many reasons to ensure your foundation drains appropriately, but the main things it can do for you include the following:

  • Slowing or diminishing the amount of settlement
  • Reduces erosion
  • Prevents termites and other infestations
  • Prevents pooling of water

If any of the above happens, you may be dealing with expensive repairs or structural damage to your home. A lousy foundation drainage system can rot wood, crack walls, cause buckling or shifting, and cause many issues for you.

4 Types of Foundation Drainage Systems

There are a few different foundation drainage systems, each with specific benefits and purposes. The type of system you have can depend on your yard, your foundation, your budget, or the soil around your home. Know which will be ideal for your foundation before undertaking such a large project.

1) Sump Pit and Pump System

foundation drainage sump pit and pump

The sump pump system uses a large pit, usually located in the basement or crawlspace of your home, to collect water and then pump it away from the foundation. This is the most common type of foundation drainage system and can be installed relatively easily by any experienced plumbing contractor.


  • The sump pump is relatively easy to install and maintain.
  • It’s highly effective in removing water from your foundation.


  • If the power goes out, the pump won’t work (unless you have backup power).
  • In areas with high water tables, this type of system may need help to remove all the water from around the foundation.

2) French Drain

French drains are designed to carry water away from the foundation. They are usually constructed with a catch basin, piping, and gravel to allow maximum water absorption and drainage.


  • French drains can be designed to fit any yard or foundation shape.
  • They are highly effective in removing water from around your home.


  • French drains require a large amount of digging, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • It may require regular and frequent maintenance.

3) Grading Drainage

A grading drainage system utilizes the natural grade of your property, redirecting water away from the foundation. This system is usually constructed with a catch basin and piping to ensure maximum efficiency.


  • Grading systems are cost-effective solutions for preventing water buildup around foundations.
  • These systems can be installed relatively quickly.


  • These systems require a lot of planning and can be challenging to maintain if the grade of your property changes over time.

4) Footing Drainage

foundation drainage footing drain with gravel

A footing drainage system is designed to direct water away from the foundation and prevent it from pooling around the footings of your home. This system can be constructed with a series of trenches, catch basins, and piping to ensure proper drainage.


  • Footing drainage systems are highly effective for preventing water buildup around foundations.
  • These systems are relatively low-cost solutions for foundation drainage.


  • These systems require a lot of digging, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • If not appropriately maintained, the system may become clogged or malfunction.

Regardless of what type of system you choose, it is vital to have it inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that your foundation is protected from water damage.

Things to Consider Before Installing Your Foundation Drainage System

Determining what type of drainage system you need requires considering a few key components. To confirm your home’s foundation stays protected and water flows as it should keep these elements in mind while designing and building its drainage system.

1) Where the Pipes Need to Be Placed

The first step to installing a drainage system is determining where the pipes should be placed. The ideal location for your drains will depend on several factors, including your home’s foundation type, the slope of your yard, and any existing water features in your landscape.

2) Where You Have Trees or Other Landscaping

foundation drainage assessing yard layout

If you have trees or other landscaping features in your yard, you’ll need to be mindful of how the drainage system may affect them. In some cases, it may be necessary to adjust the placement of the pipes and catch basins to avoid disturbing established plants or roots.

3) Local Soil Composition

The local soil composition can significantly affect how well your drainage system functions. Sandy soils, for example, may require more catch basins to properly divert water away from the foundation. It’s important to be aware of the type of soil in your area before you begin installation.

4) Climate and Rainfall Totals

Your area’s climate and rainfall totals should also be considered when designing a drainage system. Rainfall can vary significantly from region to region, so it’s essential to consider the average precipitation and the type of weather patterns you experience before installing the system.

5) The Types of Material Used for the System

The type of material you use for your drainage system can also significantly impact its efficacy. PVC pipes and catch basins are often used, but other materials such as metal or concrete may be preferable depending on the situation.

6) Your Budget and Timeline

It’s also important to consider your budget and timeline when designing a drainage system. The cost of materials, labor, and installation will all be factored into the project’s final price, so it’s crucial to have an idea of what you can realistically afford before beginning construction. Fortunately, Perma Pier offers financing options for our services so you can afford the things you need without delay.

7) The Size of Your Home’s Foundation

foundation drainage size of home foundations

The size of your home’s foundation should also be considered when designing a drainage system. A larger home will require a more extensive drainage system with additional catch basins and piping to protect the foundation from water damage.

8) The Condition of Your Current Foundation

Finally, you should inspect your current foundation to confirm it is in good condition before beginning installation. If the foundation has any cracks or signs of water damage, these issues will need to be addressed before a drainage system can be installed.

By considering all of these factors when designing your home’s footing drainage system, you can ensure that your foundation stays safe and secure for years to come. Contact Perma Pier today for more information about installing a drainage system or to get started on your project. We will be happy to answer any questions and provide a free service estimate.

Perma Pier Foundation Drainage Solutions

The stability of your foundation depends on one thing: proper drainage. With time, water that pools around your foundation will migrate into the soils underneath and cause them to expand, causing lifting and damage.

To prevent this from happening, Perma Pier can help ensure you have a healthy slope and proper drainage around your home’s foundation. Our foundation maintenance solutions include drainage systems so you can stay protected. Get a free foundation evaluation with Perma Pier to get started!

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