What are Weeping Tiles?

weeping tile diagram profile view

Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned homeowner, you may have wondered what’s keeping the water beneath your home from coming into your basement? Most people don’t give this question a second thought, but the process that protects your home from water seepage is extremely important and directly attributable to weeping tiles.

What are Weeping Tiles?

Weeping tiles are porous 4-inch pipes used to discharge underground water by providing a drainage point that drains water accumulated at the base of your homes foundation. The water is then ejected into the storm sewer beneath your street or into a Sump Pump liner installed under your basement floor.

Once upon a time terracotta tiles were used for drain pipes, but modern products are made of plastic pipes with weep holes. These weep holes are designed to redirect water away from the home. Henry Flagg French of Massachusetts was the developer of the weeping tile system. He wrote a book about the subject in 1859.

How Does Weeping Tile Work?

In a trench dug around the outside perimeter of a newly built home, the plastic pipes are placed, holes side up. They can also be placed under the basement floor inside the house.

When the ground water level begins to rise, the water flows through the holes into the pipe and follows the pipe’s incline to discharge the water away from the house. If a sump pump has been installed, then the water flows through the pipes into the sump pump where it is pumped away.

Although exterior weeping tiles work in a similar manner to interior weeping tiles, the exterior weeping tile system gets ahead of the water buildup and removes the water before it has a chance to seep into your foundations wall. The only time an interior weeping tile system is the alternative choice is when, for whatever reason, the exterior of the foundation cannot be dug out and waterproofed properly. This system installs the weeping tiles under the basement floor where water is directed to a sump pump, through the pipes and to an exterior storm sewer.

After the exterior weeping tile system is dug out and the pipes put in place, they are covered with a long open “sock” or overlapping socks made from rot-proof permeable material. This material prevents the earth from clogging up the holes.

The space is then backfilled with the soil that was previously dug out. The perimeter is tamped down as the wall is built up to ground level and then covered with a sloping hard-standing to lead the water away from the foundation.

How to Fix a Faulty Weeping Tile System

Water will always find its way down into the ground and reach the outside of a basement wall. If it’s not working its way down through the backfill, then it’s seeping between the strata; therefore, it’s imperative that the exterior weeping tile system be installed properly the first time or it will have to be dug up and redone.

The most common problem seen in older homes is that the open socks or holes of “clay” pipes have become clogged. The only remedy for a clogged up older system is to dig out the foundation again and replace it with the new plastic pipes and cover with the rot-proof permeable material.

If this all sounds like a bit much to work on yourself then have no fear, as the professionals at Conterra Plumbing have lots of experience fixing a home’s Weeping Tiles when they run into an issue. Contact Us when you need our assistance. We also offer Weeping Tile Replacement as a service.