Replacing Basement Drainage Channel

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Replacing your basement drainage channel is something none of us want to do. What choice do you have if your drainage system fails to stop your basement or crawlspace from flooding?

Basement Drainage Failure: Requires a Superior Replacement

Depending on linear footage and system features, some interior basement drainage systems can cost a lot of money. Imagine paying for a system twice. Nothing can be worse than paying for a faulty basement waterproofing system and, years later, replacing it with a superior method.

We have been in the business for more than two decades, and almost every other week, we have to perform a tear-out. That means removing an entire interior perimeter basement drain system installed by another company. We learn a lot from every system replacement we do.

There are a couple of systems (gutter and box-like designs) out there that are not well-designed. They are radical redesigns engineered to increase profit margins and give the perception of a quick installation with maximum water management capabilities. Nothing can be further from the truth.

After routinely ripping out many of these basement drainage channels over the years, we can tell you where they fail. The only positive thing we can say is that they look pretty before going under your floor, but who cares if you don’t see it after troweling cement over it?

9 Drainage Flaws found in Gutter & Box-like Drainage Systems

  1. WITHIN FLOOR DEPTH: Managing water in the depth of your floor is a terrible idea. Your cement floor is porous and absorbs water. Water escapes in the form of humidity. The humidity makes your basement feel damp.
  2. UPSELLING: They have to upsell to solve the humidity problem in the form of unique floor tile and an industrial dehumidifier.
  3. NO PITCH: We never found one of these systems pitched toward the sump pump basket. They are installed leveled. Water will enter and sit inside until your entire floor is soaking in water from beneath and filling the system drainage. The groundwater will creep to the sump basket until your entire floor is saturated.
  4. REQUIRED MAINTENANCE: The groundwater in the drainage pipes can eventually clog with iron ochre because of “no pitch.” That’s why several of these floor-depth designs have “clean-out” ports. You lift the lid and flush it with a power washer. Oh yes, there is an annual fee to do that as routine maintenance. It is more like flushing money down the toilet.
  5. NOT CUSTOMIZABLE: A cookie-cutter design means “one size fits all.” We can tell you that “one size fits all” is an impossibility in basement waterproofing. The most popular foundations are poured-concrete and block foundations; the least popular are stone and monopour. We can only see monopour foundations benefiting to some degree from these floor-depth drainage systems.
  6. BAD DESIGN: We know drainage systems need a way to move water to the sump basket. The floor-depth drainage canal has a lip before water can enter the system. This lip assures that water can sit inside of it and eventually move to the sump basket. We ran tests and found water bypasses the system by seeping water underneath it, over the foundation footer, and beneath the floor. The ground beneath your slab floor must fill with water before the drainage takes it away.
  7. NON-CODE COMPLIANT: These flawed systems also give back approximately one inch of your slab floor in mixed cement. Your floor was initially 3.5 to 6 inches thick. ICC code compliance states; you must put back the thickness of your slab floor to maintain your foundation’s stability. Engineers came up with this code for a reason, which brings us to the next point.
  8. INVISIBLE EROSION: Now that your floor is removed from the footer and away from the walls, a new problem begins, or an old problem remains. Groundwater will fill up underneath your floor and travel laterally to the drainage. Groundwater must find a way out. It will displace the backfilled soil beneath your floor and start the process of floor cracking.
  9. WEAKENING FOUNDATION: Removing the entire thickness of your slab floor from on top of your footing and away from your walls weakens the overall structural integrity of your home. Walls will crack, and doors and windows will jam throughout the house. Eventually, it could lead to a foundation shift, which will require foundation pinning.

One thing is for sure, floor-depth drainage (gutter and box-like designs) is ultimately a failure in creating a dry basement and sacrificing the overall stability of your home. Not only is it a feeble attempt to remove water from your basement floor, but your foundation is compromised.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying

  • Is it worth getting a basement drainage channel that is less intrusive and takes less time to install, or would you instead get it done using a reliable method approved by the army corps of engineers?
  • Why not manage groundwater 10 or 12 inches below your slab floor where it will not touch your floor, promote erosion, and form humidity?
  • How about getting a system that is customizable to any foundation?
  • What about a waterproofing system that requires zero maintenance, keeps slab floors bone dry, and maintains the integrity of your home by using a combination of engineer tabs and proprietary crystalline cement?
  • Why not a unique cement mixture that returns the entire thickness of your slab floor and makes it more robust than ever before?

American Dry Basement Systems offers this basement waterproofing system and more. It’s called the SuperDry System, and the best part is that it usually costs as much as the gutter or box-like systems. You get ten times the system around the same price.


Avoid getting your basement drainage channel replaced the first time without thorough research and comparison. You will make the right choice after discovering the truth about all the basement waterproofing systems on the market. It will be obvious which system will offer superior drainage and dry your basement.

Schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and quote at no cost.