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Choosing the Right Drainage System for Walkout Basements

Learn how to choose the right drainage system for walkout basements and prevent water damage from occurring.

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Choosing the Right Drainage System for Walkout Basements

A walkout basement is a desirable feature in many homes. It provides additional living space and direct access to the outdoors. However, walkout basements are more susceptible to water damage due to their below-grade location and exposure to exterior elements. One important aspect of preventing water damage in walkout basements is selecting the right drainage system.

The Importance of Proper Drainage

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Proper drainage is crucial for preventing water buildup around the foundation of a walkout basement. Without adequate drainage, water can seep into the basement through foundation cracks, window wells, and other entry points. This can lead to a range of issues, including mold growth, structural damage, and the potential loss of belongings.

Types of Drainage Systems

There are various drainage systems available for walkout basements. Here are a few commonly used options:

1. Exterior French Drains

Exterior French drains are installed around the perimeter of the basement. They consist of a perforated pipe that is surrounded by gravel and covered with filter fabric. The drains collect and redirect water away from the foundation, preventing it from seeping into the basement.

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2. Interior French Drains

Interior French drains are installed inside the basement along the perimeter or in problem areas prone to water intrusion. These drains are placed below the floor level and channel water to a sump pump for removal. Interior French drains are typically used in combination with other waterproofing methods.

3. Sump Pump Systems

A sump pump system consists of a sump pit, a submersible pump, and a discharge pipe. The sump pit collects water from the interior French drain or other drainage system and pumps it away from the basement. Sump pumps are especially beneficial in walkout basements where groundwater is more likely to accumulate.

4. Curtain Drains

Curtain drains, also known as intercept drains, are installed uphill from the basement to divert surface water away from the foundation. These drains are typically trenches filled with gravel or perforated pipes covered with filter fabric. Curtain drains redirect water around the basement, preventing it from reaching the foundation walls.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a drainage system for a walkout basement, consider the following factors:

1. Grade of the Property

Assess the slope of the property to determine how water naturally drains away from the house. Proper grading can help prevent water from pooling near the foundation and entering the basement.

2. Soil Type

Some soil types have better natural drainage properties than others. Clay soils, for example, can retain water and increase the risk of water infiltration. Understanding the soil composition can help determine the most effective drainage solution.

3. Waterproofing Measures

In addition to a drainage system, it’s important to consider other waterproofing measures to protect the basement from water damage. These may include sealing foundation cracks, applying waterproof coatings, and improving landscape grading.


Choosing the right drainage system is essential for preventing water damage in walkout basements. By considering factors such as property grade, soil type, and additional waterproofing measures, homeowners can ensure their basements remain dry and free from water-related issues. If you need professional assistance with basement water damage restoration or any other water damage restoration services, contact Service Water Restoration Pros at 949-209-1582.

What are the common causes of water damage in walkout basements?

Common causes of water damage in walkout basements include poor drainage, foundation cracks, window well leaks, and heavy rainfall. These factors can lead to water intrusion and potential damage if not addressed properly.

Are all drainage systems suitable for walkout basements?

Not all drainage systems are suitable for walkout basements. It’s important to choose a system that addresses the specific needs of a walkout basement, considering factors such as exterior exposure, groundwater levels, and surrounding landscaping.

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