I have been getting more and more water in my basement in the last few years. Every time it snows and melts, water trickles in around one spot in the basement floor.

I had someone come out to take a look and when they ran a camera through my yard drainage system, we saw that the buried pvc pipe has holes in the sides of the pipe. The technician thinks that this is the cause of the leaking as the spot where it leaks is right by a downspout with a buried discharge pipe. The start of the system has water running through it, further down near where this issue the water slows to a trickle, and then after another downspout is connected to the drainage system the water really moves through the pipe again. The drain pipe goes out into the storm sewer.

This guy was originally coming out to estimate for an interior drain tile to be installed, so it seems like he is actually doing things in my best interest since this will be much cheaper and i could even do it myself.

My question is this: Does this sound like a good reason to replace the pipe with solid pvc with no holes? Would having holes on the sides of the buried pvc pipe really cause enough water to escape that it would eventually leak into my basement?

2 Answers 2


It's not clear what you are telling us. If the PVC is French Drain type, built with holes, then it's intended to allow water to flow in/out. If it is simply broken, then of course you should replace the broken length so it functions as designed.

To determine whether it is the source of the leak, do what plumbers do: dump water with some dye mixed in down the pipe and see if the colored water shows up in the basement. If not, it's more likely what you have is a high water table and a microcrack in the basement floor (which may be patchable with hydraulic cement).

And finally, I dunno where you live but the towns I've been in generally ban any on-property drain from feeding a storm drain. YOu might want to check out the local codes.

  • Thanks for the tip with the dye! The pvc is standard 4" white pvc pipe, it looks like holes were drilled on both sides of the pipe for the length of the installation. It isn't the black corrugated type that I saw online gets used for most french drains on the inside. Also my entire neighborhood has the same system installed, all ranches built in 1959 and the people I've had out didn't seem to mention it not being legal in my town. Jan 11, 2017 at 19:29
  • It's a French drain system by what you describe. In recent years it's more common to see that as black corrugated pipe, but that didn't exist prior. Are all your gutters clear? Does soil around your house always slope away from the foundation? Most people don't understand the importance of soil sloping away, it's also common for that problem to develop over time from settling. In other words you have a different drainage problem. If "someone" with a camera couldn't identify the purpose of PVC with holes on a drain system you need a different person.
    – Tyson
    Jan 11, 2017 at 20:10
  • The gutters are totally clear, that seems to be part of the problem: the gutters are draining right now, you can hear the water pouring down them from across the yard; we had 18 inches of snow last week and now its almost 50 degrees out (buffalo, ny). The buried pipe im talking about is outside and the gutters go into it, then out to the street. Isn't a french drain usually inside the house and gets pumped out? Jan 11, 2017 at 20:20
  • No French drains are generally designed to disperse water underground. You say this is a new problem in the last few years, which implies this system once worked for you. Before you throw money at replacing a French drain you need to figure out what has changed.
    – Tyson
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:07
  • And I bet the answer to that is something to do with exterior drainage and/or settling.
    – Tyson
    Jan 11, 2017 at 21:15

This is an older post but a French Drain with down facing perforated pipe is to collect (not receive) water 2'-3' underground and flow by gravity to daylight, a dry well or a storm sewer. The pipe should be surrounded by washed gravel and sometimes a filter cloth. It is not properly used for an underground roof gutter water dispersal. That should be solid pipe running the water away from your foundation to a storm water receiving solution. There are great French Drain videos on YouTube. French Drain Man and Apple Drain are recommended. If your perforated pipe was installed for water dispersal it probably failed. Maybe backed up to your foundation.

I agree Tracing Dye is very helpful. I just bought a gallon on line. Not stocked at HD Near me. Grading foundation wall soil is also important. Look at neighbors houses as they may run their roof water onto their lawns above you. A very wet Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 in Metro NY has raised the water table.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming! Apr 28, 2019 at 18:18

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