Live Near Seismic Activity? Reinforce An Exterior Drain Tile With Wall Bracing

17 March 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


If you live in an area that floods easily from rain or melting snow, you may want to place an exterior drain tile system around your basement to keep water out of it. But if your location faces or has the potential to face seismic activity, you need to protect and secure the basement's walls against any possible damages that occur from earthquakes and tremors. Both methods ensure the future stability of your home. Here's why you should reinforce your exterior drain tile with wall bracing.

What Does an Exterior Drain Tile Do?

When unpredictable weather, such as severe snowstorms and summer storms strike, your unprotected basement can quickly go under water. An exterior drain tile system strengthens the lower half of your basement by drawing water away from it. 

A drain tile or French drain system creates an underground passageway around the home to keep excessive water from soaking beneath your basement's foundation. Contractors install a single, perforated pipeline inside the drainage system to redirect excess water to another locations, such as the municipal sewage system in the street. If you have a garden to maintain, you may wish to redirect the water to it instead.

Additionally, contractors place the system a few feet away from the basement's foundation and cover it with gravel to help reroute the water properly. Placing the drain tile away from the building keeps it from accidentally leaking water during excessively rainy days. The placement also makes it easier for the drain tile to pull or draw in water as it runs from the basement's exterior walls.

Your contractors may install a special covering over the piping to keep small dirt particles and pieces of gravel out of it. You don't want these contaminants to block the flow of water inside the line, or it may back up into the basement.

However, an exterior drain tile can't act alone in protecting your basement — especially if you live in places like California or Oregon.

How Does Wall Bracing Reinforce Your Exterior Drain Tile Placement?

Although most seismic activity happens in the Pacific region of the United States, a number of earth tremors occur in the Midwest and Eastern regions as well. They occur along the fault lines or volcanoes in these locations. Keep in mind that most volcanoes lie deep within mountains, so you might not know there's one in your state unless you live somewhere near mountains.

If a volcano in your state, or even several states away, becomes active and the ground around it shifts slightly, the walls of your basement can also shift or crack in places. The action may disrupt the functions of the drain tile. Wall bracing is a very useful and valuable service that protects your drain tile system, as well as stabilizes your basement's walls.

Wall bracing involves placing stabilizers, such as concrete blocks or wooden beams, between the basement's walls to hold or keep them upright. If the interior walls of the basement lack stability from water damage, the contractors may replace the walls' original paneling with new material.

Contractors may also place stabilizers between the ceiling and flooring of the basement to support a basement weakened from previous water damage. The added protection keeps the walls upright when the earth shakes around or beneath your home.

What Areas of the Basement Should You Brace First?

Although your contractor can brace the interior or exterior walls of the basement, it's a good idea to reinforce the outer walls first. The outer walls encounter weather changes, such as high winds, flying debris and wet conditions, that weaken them over time. Strong weather may push or pull pieces of foundation away from the basement, which leaves the inside of the room vulnerable to water and wind damage.

Additionally, tremors and earthquakes can break down the exterior walls as the ground gives way around or near the home. If pieces of the walls' foundation fall into the exterior drain tile, they may crush or burst open the pipeline. The line may collapse and leak water and mud into the basement, which weakens the flooring. After adding support to the outer walls, the contractors may reinforce the inside of the basement at a later date.

What Other Services Should You Consider?

When you contact your contractor, ask him or her about other services that may strengthen your home during seismic activity and other severe natural occurrences. These services may include damping. Damping uses fluid or some type of shock-absorbent material to reduce the effects of earthquakes, tremors and excessive winds on the walls and ceiling of your basement. It's something to consider if you live in a very active area.

Protecting your home and its occupants is a must. If you want to keep your home stable, contact a contractor today for more information about exterior drain tile services and wall bracing. You can also click here for more info