My home was built in 1948. It's having a lot of bowing and shearing issues and I need to put steel beams up in the basement. An interior drain system has also been recommended but I'm reluctant - and the structural engineer that came out said I should try regrading/downspout control first before doing a full interior drain.

I came across a clay pipe feeding into the sewage drain in my basement floor. A few months back we had heavy rain fall as the ground was thawing and tons of water was coming from this clay pipe. I'm assuming it's part of some kind of perimeter drain.

Is it possible that this perimeter drain is on the inside of the foundation - as in where the steel beam installation would hit/damage it? Or is it likely part of an exterior perimeter drain that is fed into the sewage line? If it is on the interior of the footing - would I then have to have it all removed and an interior drain system put in its place before the beams are installed?

Thanks for advice/insights

  • 3
    First step: find the drain, in fact find all of them. If you miss one and plan everything only to find one you missed, it will be an expensive mistake.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 4:11
  • 1
    "Is it possible?" Yes, it's possible. The only way to know for sure is to go on an archeological exploration and find out. We can't do that for you, so you'll have to do that (or contract to do that) yourself. "Is it where your steel beam installation would hit/damage it?" We can't know - you haven't even given us a drawing or pics or any sort of construction plans. You've hired an SE, have him do the analysis for you, that's what you're paying him for.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 11:31
  • The engineer was out months before I even noticed the pipe so it would be another hefty fee to have him come out again - if that's something he even typically does but I will ask him. I have no idea how drains were commonly built in 1948 so that's why I didn't even know if it was possible it could be an interior drain or not. Seems like it is unfortunately possible so I will have to move forward with having it inspected. Thanks! Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Old houses often had rain and perimeter drain tied into each other and then into the sewer. These older homes often have interior sumps that then gravity drain out to the sewer.

I'd start with separating the rain drain. In my area you use solid pvc and that is emptied into an external sump which then gravity feeds to the storm or sewer.

If you are already doing severe modifications to the basement interior perimeter drain isn't a bad way to go. I did exterior rain and interior perimeter to avoid digging the outside of the house.

Are you in a climate that gets a lot of rain?

  • Feels like we get a lot of rain to me - in central Ohio, USA. Was hoping to avoid cost of interior drain/sump pump but it is what it is. Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 5:41
  • We're neighbors - I'm in IN. I'm pretty shocked that you don't have a sump and pump of some sort.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 11:31
  • Not only me - no one has a sump pump on my street that I know of. (atleast no easily visible pipes coming out of foundation/going into ground) I know for sure the neighbors immediately around me don't have sump pumps. Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 13:26

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