In case you don’t know, foundation repair with piers is probably the most common type of basement renovation project. In its basic form, a piers project involves connecting two existing foundation structures (basement walls, for example) with one piece of metal. At the time when foundation repair with piers is often required, one of two things may happen. Either, a leaky foundation is caused by soil in the basement or by water seeping in through a crack in the basement walls.
The problem, of course, is that foundation cracks can frequently form due to poor construction work or materials, even when the foundation is dry. It can often be difficult to find the cause of a foundation crack. So, if the crack is caused by water seeping in through a crack in the basement walls, the building inspector may need to open the walls and inspect the foundations.
The easiest way to find out if a crack or other leak is the cause of the problem is to install a drainage pipe in the crack. Drainage pipes are commonly used to establish the lines of drainage in basements. Basement drainage can be connected to sewer mains or to sewage tunnels, depending on the type of foundation repair with piers. If the repair with piers connects the basement walls to a toilet drain, it’s possible that drainage can be used to solve the problem.
If you suspect a crack in the basement walls is the cause of the leak, drain and assess the potential to eliminate or to prevent a clogged sewage drain. If the crack is located in the basement walls, seal the area. Alternatively, you can use non-absorbent material to absorb the extra water. If it’s possible to use non-absorbent material, the drainage pipe may not need to be installed. If not, connect the drain pipe to the rest of the foundation.
Another option is to install a sewage disposal pipe to connect the sewer drainage and to connect it to the rest of the basement. Since sewer drainage can be connected to a sewage tunnel, it’s not always possible to find the cause of a crack in the basement walls. If the sewer drainage pipe is attached to the sewer tunnel, however, this pipe can be useful to ensure the cause of the crack is identified.
If drain pipe or drainage pipes can’t be installed, it may be necessary to have a local contractor to perform the repair. To determine whether the connection to the sewer is to be done through the wall or through the sewer connection, or whether both connections are necessary, examine the workmanship of the pipe with a flashlight. It should be clear whether the pipe is installed on its own, or if the material connecting the pipe is pressed into the ground, sometimes called infilling. If the pipe is sewn or glued into the ground, the job is much more complicated. In that case, don’t assume it’s a drain pipe or drainage pipe.
Now that you know the difference between foundation repair with piers and drain pipes, you can do the right work to repair a leaky foundation. And, it can save you money when fixing your own basement, if you know the difference.