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Interior vs Exterior Footing Drain System for Basements

exterior drainage system

Drainage systems are an essential part of basement waterproofing. Its sole purpose is to direct water away from your home safely. However, there are many types of drainage systems available today. Regardless, they fall into 2 major categories: interior & exterior. But which drainage type is best for your home?

Let's discuss as we dive deeper into the pros & cons of interior vs. exterior drainage systems for homes.

Pros & Cons of Interior vs. Exterior Drainage Systems

Interior Drainage Systems Pros

    • Effective water management: Interior drainage systems collect and channel water that enters the basement, directing it to a sump pump.
    • Versatility: Interior drainage systems can be installed in both finished and unfinished basements.
    • Active water damage protection: Interior drainage system does not let water pool in the basement.
    • Clog-free: Interior drainage systems do not clog as exterior drains do. This makes them a more efficient & long-lasting solution. 

Interior Drainage Systems Cons

White Stone Footing Drain

    • Undersized sump pump installation: Improper planning & installation of an undersized sump pump can cause drainage problems in the future.
    • Maintenance: Regular maintenance or supervision is necessary to ensure they are functioning properly.
    • Does not stop water seepage: Water still seeps inside the basement, but is soon collected by the drains before they cause any harm.

Exterior Drainage Systems Pros

Exterior Footing Drain

    • Effective water diversion: Exterior drains are installed around the perimeter of the foundation, diverting water away before they get inside the basement.
    • Water damage prevention: Exterior footing drains relieve the hydrostatic pressure created by groundwater. This saves the foundation wall from structural damage like cracks.

Exterior Drainage Systems Cons

Installing an Exterior Footing Drain

    • Damage to landscape: Installation of exterior drainage requires excavating soil around the foundation, causing damage to your home’s landscape.
    • Expensive: The labor involved in excavating soil, installing the drain, and backfilling the soil is expensive compared to interior drainage.
    • Frequent clogs: Sludge, debris, & sediment gets inside the drains, especially during heavy rains, and clogs the drainage system.
    • Difficult to repair or make changes: Any repair work would require the soil to be dug out, damaging your landscape all over again.

Interior & Exterior Drainage: Which Is the Best for You?

Both interior & exterior drainage systems have their own advantages & disadvantages. However, interior drainage solutions are a more modern approach to drainage problems than exterior drainage. The exception of frequent clogging & disruption makes interior drainage superior to exterior drains.

However, a professional inspection is a must to determine the best drainage approach for your home depending on its geological location. We recommend consulting a specialist before making a purchase. You may also schedule an appointment with our certified basement experts here at Ox Foundation Solutions, available throughout Alabama. Call us at (205) 839-7950 to learn more.