We are building a new "green" home in Utah. Can a foundation drain contribute to home health?

Our home is on a slope with fairly rocky ground. The contractor and architect are at odds as to the necessity of the foundation drain. What can you tell us that will help us make the final decision?


Greg Fitzpatrick

Answered by Greg Fitzpatrick

Orland, ME

Greg Fitzpatrick, Inc General Contractor

January 28, 2010

In our area, building code dictates that foundation perimeter drains are mandatory on new construction, but even if they were not required, I could not imagine building a new home without a perimeter drain

In addition to protecting the footing and foundation walls from destabilization from water drainage, the perforated pipe installed in crushed stone utilized for the drain system is an ideal way to incorporate a passive vent system to eliminate potentially dangerous soil gases, like Radon from entering the building envelope.  (Learn more about Radon at this EPA website.)  

  • We also typically tie gutter downspouts and basement floor drains to the gravity based system as well.
  • Our systems rely on backfilling the foundation excavation with clean sand to ensure any water will drain through the sand and enter the drain rather than stand against the foundation walls where potential problems could occur.
  • A sloped site will be ideal to lead drainage water away from the house through a well designed system.

Tagged In: home air quality, residential foundation

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