Questions & Answers

Frequently asked drainage, waterproofing and drainage repair questions

On an average day we get dozens of calls from people asking questions. So we decided to compile some of the most common ones here, along with our answers. Let us know if you have a question you think would fit here.

How much do drainage repairs?

There are a variety of things to consider when researching the costs of home drainage. Things like: complexity of your drainage issue, depth of excavation required, accessibility to the site, types of materials needed, and concrete and landscape requirements. That’s why it’s risky to make assumptions — you need to know what’s going to be done before you calculate a budget. Complicating this process is the fact that much of what you need to find out is buried underground. That’s why it’s always wise to start with a drain camera inspection. It will give you a good idea of the condition of your drain system.

You may have heard that drainage replacements cost upwards of $20K-$30K. The truth is that yours could cost much less if a drainage section or foundation repair (instead of a complete drain tile replacement) is all that is required. If you need to ballpark a budget before making a decision, contact us to set up a free on-site consultation. Don’t worry, we’re not going to pressure you into hiring us or making a quick decision. If information is all that you want, we’re happy to exchange some of our time for yours. We just ask that you consider us (like this customer did) when the time comes to do the work.

I'm on a budget. How can we save on costs?

We always try to present you with options to meet your budget constraints. If there are things you can do that will cut back our work, we will suggest them. Sometimes we can do the drainage or landscape project in phases, which helps you manage cash flow according to your own schedule. We can also sometimes offer financing options (depending on the scope of work) and accept credit card payment subject to a 2% merchant surcharge.

Do you offer financing?

Depending on the scope of work, payment options may be available. We do currently accept cheque, Visa, MasterCard. Credit cards are subject to a 2% merchant surcharge.

How long will this drainage take?

A typical perimeter drain replacement takes from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of terrain, the landscape requirements, the complexity of access to the site. Contact us at 1-888-638-3025 to get an estimate.

Why is my basement wet (or leaky, damp, musty)?

Clogged, deteriorated, or improperly installed drainage systems are the most common causes of basement leaks. We’ve seen drainage systems less than 2 years old fail due to improper installation. The install is just as important as the materials used. Other factors such as eroded or cracked concrete or brick foundations can become quick entry points for water. Remember, water always takes the path of least resistance. Our modern method of basement waterproofing provides an unbeatable triple layer of protection.

Which is best, interior or exterior drainage tile systems?

Contractors with extensive drainage experience — including Mike Holmes — always recommend the exterior drainage method when the building site allows it. Why? An interior drainage system does not stop the water from entering your home, which can lead to erosion of your foundation. An interior approach is designed to control the water once it enters the home and often relies on a sump pump redirecting the excess water back to the exterior. In contrast, an exterior drainage system is designed to keep the water away from your foundation and from entering your home. Interior systems are generally only recommended on homes where the foundation is poured on bedrock and the option of installing a system on the exterior is not possible. If in doubt, book a consultation with us to discuss the pros and cons of each approach.

I've heard I need to replace my old weeping tile with two pipes. Why?

Most older perimeter drainage systems consist of a single 4″ (sometimes a 3″) pipe that is responsible for removing all of the roof water as well as the ground water away from your home’s foundation. The roof water alone is enough to overload this kind of drainage system. New municipal standards and BC building codes require two pipes to be installed. One is a solid PVC pipe which is responsible for removing all the water that comes from the roof via your downspouts and a second pipe which is 4″ perforated PVC responsible for removing any ground and table water from the home’s slab and foundation. These two pipes connect into a single line which is then connected to the city storm drains.

Can we avoid ripping up my front yard, driveway, sidewalk?

If there is a way to excavate without damaging patios, sidewalks and driveways, we will do it. We always try to fix your problem with as little invasive work as possible.

What are your credentials?

Here’s what we’re not: we’re not general contractors or plumbers subcontracting drainage work to specialists. Because we are those specialists. By hiring us directly, you can cut out all the overhead that a plumber or general contractor would cost. We also do not have a sales team to pay commission to. When you call us, you will be talking to the people doing the work, which aligns our interest with yours, since you’ll be seeing us on site everyday. We are members of the Better Business Bureau (you can see our rating here). We have over 25 years of combined drainage and landscaping experience. If you’d like to talk to our clients, we’re be happy to put you in touch. You can also come out to any of our job sites and watch us work and meet our crew.

What kind of warranty do you offer?

On full perimeter drainage systems we offer a 10 year transferable workmanship warranty, and a lifetime warranty* as long as you own your home. It’s the best in the industry — because we believe that standing behind your work is the best indicator of how confident you are your people, your practices, and your work. *Periodic inspections are required.

What's better -- interlocking pavers or concrete?

It really comes down to your personal preference. But with recent moves by many Island municipalities (including Victoria) to start breaking out the cost of storm water as a separate utility, pavers and interlocking bricks can be configured into a highly permeable rainwater solution. They also offer a more natural look and feel, while being very durable and flexible. Concrete, on the other hand, offers strength and a uniform, smooth surface, and can be installed in various styles, ranging from stamped patterns to broom finishes.

What the difference between trench and trenchless drains?

Excavated trenches are required for all perimeter drain systems. Trenchless systems are only applicable to sewer or water lines. This approach uses a machine to pull a pipe through your old pipe (but even these jobs require digging out the exit and entry areas). Why can’t trenchless be used for stormwater systems? Because perimeter drains need a properly graded slope surrounded by drain rock and drain cloth, which just can’t be done with trenchless technology.

Will my insurance cover my water flooding damage?

Your insurance company will most likely cover the interior damage of a backed up sewer or damaged water line. Some companies will even cover all flooding the FIRST time it happens, but after that you are on your own. We have yet to see an insurance company cover the cost of the exterior drainage work, much like they won’t buy you a new roof if your old one leaks. That’s why it’s crucial for you to consult with your insurance agent about the specifics of your policy before something happens.

What is hydro-jetting and drain-snaking?

Hydro jetting/flushing is the extraction of mud and debris with a high pressure water jet fed through the drain tiles. This high pressure scours the pipes and extracts the loosened debris into an open pit/basin. Generally, holes are required to be dug as this service must be done on tiles horizontally. Please consult us prior to booking this hydro-jetting service. If your drainage system is brittle or cracked, the high pressure can blow the tiles apart causing a solid block.

I have my drains regularly roto-rooted. Does this protect me from basement water infiltration?

NO. Many people spend hundreds annually to have their drains roto-rooted or augered and still have issues with flooding or leakages. There are two problems with this approach: First, the roto-rooter tool (a high-powered auger) is only designed to remove small root systems from the drain tiles. Second, this method masks other potential problems with your drainage system, such as: clogs due to mud and debris (the most common factor in failed drainage systems on Vancouver Island), failures due to misaligned drainage tiles, and water floods because tiles have cracked or eroded away. Only a drain camera will tell you this information, which is why we always recommend a camera inspection prior to any drain cleaning.