Protecting Concrete Foundations From Moisture

Drains should be placed around all concrete structures in order to retain the earth and to enclose the habitable space below grade. The extent to which drainage is needed is based on the type of soil surrounding your foundation. If your soil is a mixture of sand and gravel, it will not require drainage. However, most soil consists of clay. 

Dryness Concerns

While drainage is often a problem, there are cases when you may have too much drainage. Water differential on different layers of your soil can cause damage to your foundation. In these cases, it may be necessary to water your property in order to protect your foundation. 


The ground surface must slope away from the concrete foundation. Also, it is important that the soil is properly compacted because the soil will otherwise cause water to flow back to the foundation of your home. 


Perimeter drains are an important part of controlling the drainage near your concrete foundation. A flared end section is a very visually appealing structure through which water can enter and exit. Another very visually appealing option is a head-wall. Flexible corrugated plastic pipes are sometimes used, but it is important to make sure that the pipe is not crushed by back-filling. Overall, though, it is better to use a rigid perforated pipe. These drains will lead to drain pipes that must be positioned in the right location. It is not necessary that the tile be sloping, but low spots need to be avoided in order to prevent low spots, which would otherwise fill up with silt. 

Drainage Boards And Basins

Depending on how wet the area is, it might be necessary to use a drainage board. This allows for water to drain more quickly to the perimeter drain. This ensures that hydro-static pressure does not build up next to the wall. Other useful addition is a catch basin, which traps water and debris.

It is much easier and less expensive to do concrete construction that can drain effectively in the first place than it is to wait until afterward to perform repairs. For this reason, you should work with a construction contractor who understands the type of soil you have and the challenges that will result from this type of soil. Contractors who have experience with drainage issues will also know whether you will need a particular area drain, box culvert, grade ring or dry well.