My basement floods about twice a year (maybe 1/2" of water or so) after excessive rainfall or ice melt, and stays flooded for about a day before the water recedes. The basement is half above ground with about 4ft going underground - walls are made of cinder block. Installing an exterior french drain and waterproofing is unfeasible due to the house being surrounded on all sides with an asphalt driveway, front deck, back deck, propane tank and will be prohibitively expense. The surrounding ground is graded away from the foundation and the gutters are routed away down a hill as well.

I would like to install an interior french drain at the footer. Initially, I was planning on running it into the existing sump pump pit, however, I would prefer to not have to rely on a pump that can break, get clogged, stuck or not turn on due to a power outage (I know they make ones that have a 12v backup battery - but what if the outage lasts longer than the battery?). Not to mention the noise of the pump going off every few seconds.

Would there be anything wrong with having the "end" of my french drain dip under the footer and daylight outside? On one side the of the house is a downhill area (lower than the foundation) where I could daylight the pipe. If I do this properly and waterproof the walls - is there even a point in me having a sump pump?

1 Answer 1


"Dip under the footer" - don't do that. Or only do that after consulting with an engineer to provide a plan to do that without risking your foundation. You're better off drilling a hole through the foundation wall, and renting the core drill to drill the hole will cost less than the engineer...

"Not need a sump pump" - indeed, you should not if you have a properly sloped drain line to daylight. I think poorly of your builder if you have a sump pump and terrain suitable for a drain to daylight from the basement. Of course, the lack of an exterior drain to daylight does not reflect well on them either.

  • The house was built in 1986, I question a lot of things that "my" builder did, but I am not the original owner. I actually have 2 sump pits with sump pumps but they only collect and pump out some of the water that collects locally. Regarding drilling through the foundation wall - the perforated piping that would be collecting the water would be running at the footer level, so the exit pipe would need to be lower than that (if I want to use gravity vs pumps).
    – Yev
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 15:35

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