gutter downspout to basement drainage system

Sorry, this is a long one, a 2-parter. It’s a drainage question, so I thought the exterior message board would be the place for it (even though it’s about the basement).
Part 1:

We have a 75 year old home in Halifax, NS, Canada. We decided to waterproof our leaky basement, and had a contractor do the job. Unwisely, we chose the guy who gave the lower estimate. They took out a square foot of dirt (and corroded pipes, more about this in Part 2) from the inside perimeter of the foundation walls, laid a perforated drainage tile pipe, crushed stone, a dimpled waterproofing membrane, and cemented it over. We’re very unimpressed by the contractor, and we have little reason to be confident in their abilities, and we can see that they were careless about a lot of things. However we have had a major rainfall since they did the work, and the basement is dry. I understand that this is a common way of waterproofing older basements. My first question is: is this an idiot-proof method? Right now it seems to be working fine. We did not inspect the job before they put concrete over it. If they did a bad job of it (say, for instance, they didn’t dig the trench deep enough in some spots, or they left a gap in the drainage tile pipe), would it be immediately apparent during the first bad rainstorm, or might it break down 20 years down the road? Rather than face disaster down the road when the basement is finished, should we break up the cement and inspect the job if we’re not confident in it?

Part 2:

My second concern has to do with our gutter downspouts draining into this system.

I don’t know if it is unique to Halifax, but for most homes in the city the gutter downspouts don’t empty onto our lawns, but come down and enter into the basement and drain into the sewer system. The downspouts enter into the basement at 2 feet above ground level, becoming 6 feet above the basement floor level, travel down into pipes under the basement floor and eventually into the sewage system. In our case, we had downspouts coming in at the four corners of the house; all of the underfloor pipes were corroded and leaking.

We decided for aesthetic reasons to maintain the downspouts coming into the basement, rather than rerouting them to drain onto the lawn. The contractor is confident in their solution, saying that the drainage system will have no problem taking in the rain water. We have some concerns with it.

I’ve attached a photo and a diagram of what’s going on. The original metal pipe coming down to the basement floor was broken off when they put in the trench. They attached over it a larger piece of PVC pipe, which drains into the crushed rock. Three of the four downspouts look like this - they do not yet have concrete over the crushed rock - but one is covered over with concrete and thus inaccessible.

What I’m worried about is when or if leaves drain down the pipe. Before this, the leaves probably would have been pushed through to the sewer no problem. Now they would get stopped at the crushed rock, form a barrier and start flooding upwards. Even if we were to extend the downspout through the crushed rock to connect into the drainage tile pipe, leaves would eventually clog that too, wouldn’t they? Another possibility is to put a screen in up higher to catch the leaves. But isn’t that calling for disaster, if leave clog the flow of water there? And, in this case, would dirt and small debris coming through the screen also get caught in the crushed rock and start clogging?

It would be less than ideal to have to perform routine maintenance on this, but we could leave it how they have it, and every year or two detach the PVC pipe and clean out anything that’s there (in the fourth corner that’s inaccessible, we’d have to break up the cement to do this).

Right now I’m leaning towards the most extreme solution that would solve both my part 1 and part 2: to break up the concrete they laid over their work, check everything over, and lay in proper pipes, alongside the drainage tile pipe, that would connect the downspouts to the sewage.


Thanks you very much.

downspout photo.JPG

The roof drainage into the underfloor drain tile could result in future water intrusion into the basement, whether the downspout enters the tile directly or via the crushed rock. The crushed rock does increase the likelyhood due to, as you have stated, the possibility of debris clogging the end of the downspout. Assuming that your local code permits it, and the ground slopes away from the foundation, I think diverting the downspouts to surface discharge is a good idea, but I would like to see other comments on this as well.


you hired a company that sold `n installed an Inside water-diverting drain tile system.

Inside drain tile systems put in under the floor and baseboard systems put in above the floor do NOT stop/prevent water-moisture from entering basements through ‘outside’ openings.Most people`s problems are on the Outside!

What Inside systems will do is, keep most/all of the water off the bsmt floor and direct it to a sump or floor drain along the inside perimeter,either under the floor or above the floor.

Like i`ve redundantly said…Most basements leak-seep due to direct openings on the Outside…these openings include cracks,pathways around service lines where the lines enter through a basement wall and other below ground openings in basement walls, and Above ground openings such as open mortar joints,cracked-porous bricks,openings around basement windows, around doors, flashings, where a central a/c hose enters the house etc etc…

-Federal Response he says “I would say 90% of moisture problems in houses are related to moisture coming in from the outside”

Been waterproofing basements for 28 years and so have a handful of others who will tell people the same thing including R L Stremersch Waterproofing, Downriver Waterproofing, Capizzo Construction, Clark Waterproofing… decades of Exterior Waterproofing with NO BBB customer complaints versus…many companies who ONLY or rather do Inside Systems who have accumulated 10,25,50++ BBB complaints just within the last 36 Months.

These Inside Cos either dont want to do Exterior Waterproofing cuz its very-labor intensive, and or dont know HOW or dont have experienced labor to do such work or, are NOT Insured to do Exterior Waterproofing.

And so many of the Inside Co`s come up with tons of BS, they LOVE to knock Exterior waterproofing, come up with all kinds of lies/myths/misleading stuff to BS homeowners into what THEY Only do…inside systems.

Inside systems don`t stop water-moisture from entering,they allow water to continue to enter so this certainly INCREASES the likelihood of mold,efflorescence,radon,insects, cracks widening due to Outside soil pressure and roots from trees and at times, wall(s) bowing in due to same outside pressure against bsmt wall.

The building envelope …the roof, siding-bricks, the basement walls…let me ask, when someone has a leaky roof, do they fix the leak on the inside or Outside? When people have water coming through bricks,windows…do they fix `em on the inside or outside? Well, same goes for basement walls.

If one doesn`t fix/repair the roof etc on the outside…whats going to happen to the wood? can insects and other vermin enter? Will MOLD begin to grow? And with basements, since RADON is IN the soil, that too can enter from the soil through cracks and other openings in basement walls, floors etc.

6th para…

Radon, how does it enter YOUR house?

Termites and other insects, how-where do they enter?

Mold…people can try and clean mold all they like but they NEED to stop/prevent the water-moisture source

Outside soil pressure, lateral-hydrostatic soil pressure…,0,1372834.story?coll=chi-classifiednewconstruct-hed

Fraud,consumer complaints,false claims on rebates,misrepresentation,poor and faulty workmanship,unsatisfactory repairs,warranty issues…

Building inspector under fire…good he deserves to be…basement windows put in wrong,shifting foundations, cracks in walls,mold etc…

G Carlin… are you interested in what other states put on their license plates? Like…Florida and Georgia put the counties, in case these people forget where they live overnight.
New Jersey…The Garden State…if your growing smoke-stacks yes! Maybe they should put… “Kiss her where it smells, take her to New Jersey”.
Indianas says... "Wander"....sure, just get out and get hit by a greyhound bus! Pennsylvanias is kinda cutsie, it says… "Youve got a Friend in Pennsylvania"....well, most of the people who look at these dang things LIVE in Pennsylvania, of course they have a friend or 2. New Hampshires is prolly the most dramatic, it says…“Live free or DIE!!!” Well, i`m certainly not going to move there! I get just a lil nervous when they mention ‘death’ right on the license plate.
Idaho says… “Famous potato”… i guess those are the 2 extremes in thought. Somewhere between… “Live free or Die” and “Famous Potato”…the truth lies. Probably a lil closer to…Famous Potato, but thats just one fellows opinion.
bumper sticker… “Honk if yer horn is broken”…that outta hold the average American for a little while.