When you first decide to owner-build, it’s easy to focus on the “fun” aesthetic choices. You get to pick your flooring! Choose the countertops! Then six months later you find yourself manufacturing custom foundation drain pipe in your parents’ garage at 1am, vaguely wondering what happened. To be honest, the farther along I’ve gotten in this project the less I’ve thought about the “fun” stuff. If push comes to shove you can always change your countertops or repaint walls. But your foundation drain? Yeah, you gotta figure that out now and you really have one good chance to get it right.
Foundation drains help drain water away from foundations. Pretty self-explanatory. Liquid water rises up into holes in the underside of the drain pipe, which runs to a pump, drainage field or to daylight. Instead of using the flimsy-feeling corrugated black pipe sold at big box stores, I decided to build my own out of rugged ABS schedule 20 rigid pipe. ABS isn’t often used for foundation drains in cold climates because it can be susceptible to frost damage, but I have a few things working for me: my foundation walls are well-insulated so the footings (and pipe) should stay warmer, and the pipe is surrounded by well-drained sewer rock covered in heavy-duty filter fabric. Using ABS also allowed me to make a daylight cleanout, so I can snake the pipe if it ever clogs. If you’re curious to hear how it works out, ask me in five or ten (or twenty) years.
Photos taken October 12-21, 2019. Posted December 16, 2019.
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