Closeup of hands installing basement gutter

French Drain Systems

If you have water leaking into your basement, a perimeter drain could be the right option for you.

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Our interior basement drainage solutions will keep your home’s basement dry


At Complete Basement Systems, we offer a variety of interior drainage systems to help you keep your basement dry and clean. Our systems fit all types of foundations and floor slabs, and our experts will help you identify the best drain for your needs.

Click below to learn more about how we can help you. We offer free estimates on all basement drainage system installations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Cheyenne and nearby.

What is a French drain?

Crew installing BasementGutter interior french drain system
French drains are also known as:
  • Basement drains
  • Drain tile
  • Weeping tile
  • Footing drain
  • Perimeter drain

This might surprise you, but French drains don’t originate from France at all! In fact, the concept was designed by Henry Flagg French in Massachusetts in the mid-1800s. A French drain is not a specific item per se, but rather a name for the space between a basement wall and the concrete slab that allows water to drain outside of the home rather than pool on the floor. Unfortunately, traditional French drains clog easily and often struggle to thoroughly remove water.

Our basement drain systems take this drainage concept to the next level by using a wall flange that allows seepage to enter the drain and collects water off the walls to easily funnel it away from your foundation. Our drain systems also prevent debris from entering the drainage area and provide a clean finished appearance on your floor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Basement Waterproofing with an Interior Drain

An interior drain may be the best option for your basement. What should you know about the process of using an interior drain in your basement?

If you’re thinking about adding an interior drain to your basement, you should consider how it works first and foremost. It can be difficult to understand exactly what an interior drain is. Here’s a better way to understand what an interior drain can do to help you. 

  • Water Runoff 

First and foremost, an interior drain tackles water runoff. Water runoff typically occurs at the edges of the basement. Because of this, it’s easier for you to set up the process of removing the water. Additionally, water runoff around the edges of the basement allows you to maximize water removal in a way that isn’t extremely prominent. 

Water runoff also has to do with your basement grading, which describes how the basement floor tilts. For example, if your floor slopes toward the center, an interior drain around the edges of the basement won’t do very much. If your floor slopes toward the edges, however, an interior drain around the edges will be much more effective. 

  • Pumping the Water Out 

You also need a way to pump the water out. If you’re planning to pump the water out of your basement, the best way is to install a sump pump. The sump pump will also guard against issues with basement flooding because the interior drain around the edges is less likely to help with extremely serious flooding issues. 

An interior drain and a sump pump can work together. When you install the interior drain, you’ll want to install a sump pump at the same time if you don’t already have one. If you already have a sump pump, it’ll make it easier for you to install your interior drain. Either way, you have to remember that pumping the water out is a crucial element of having an interior drain.

There are many different types of interior drains out there and you must choose the right one for your unique needs. This is especially true because choosing the wrong interior drain might not address your problems. 

  • BasementGutter™ 

The BasementGutter™ below-floor interior drain system is great and it’s one that you might be able to utilize to great effect in your basement. It rests underneath your basement in a bed of drainage stone above the foundation footing. That way, it doesn’t have to contend with the mud zone, which often causes clogged drains. Plus, you don’t have to remove very much of the concrete slab. 

If you think this below-floor interior drain system will be a good option for your needs, you should talk to an expert about installing it. Even though you don’t have to remove much of the concrete slab, you’ll still have to remove some of it, which requires specialized tools. An expert will install the BasementGutter™ system appropriately. 

  • Grated Drainage Pipe 

If you have a door from the outside into your basement, you might want to consider a grated drainage pipe as well. A grated drainage pipe is essentially a drain that’s set in front of the door. Water that rushes in from the outside will go into the drain, making it much more difficult for you to have flooding problems from your door. 

This can be very beneficial for homes that regularly have problems with water rushing into the basement from the outside. However, to install the grated drainage pipe, you’ll need to dig into concrete, route the drainage to your sump pump, and ensure the grate works appropriately. That’s why it’s a much better idea to allow an expert to install the drainage pipe.

The waterproofing process is one of the best ways to avoid issues with things like condensation and high levels of humidity. However, just waterproofing won’t necessarily help with standing water issues. Here’s what you need to know about why basement waterproofing in and of itself isn’t necessarily going to be enough for you. 

  • Water Seepage 

It’s common for water seepage to occur around a basement because of how basements exist. Basements sit underneath the ground, which means they have to deal with significant amounts of water pressure all around them. Water seepage occurs when that water pressure presses in too much and comes into the basement, often from the bottom, which tends to be unmanageable even if you have waterproofing measures in place. 

Hydrostatic pressure is typically to blame for problems with water seepage. Basements have to deal with a lot of hydrostatic pressure and will deal with even more if there are problems with rain and flooding nearby. An interior drain will divert much of that pressure, allowing you to avoid many basement problems like cracks. 

  • General Preparations 

One of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy home is prepare for the worst. That way, if something bad does happen, you don’t have to worry as much about it. When you’re installing an interior drain system, you’re doing so to never have to worry about these issues again. It’s also important to remember that while waterproofing is useful, this tactic only helps with issues like condensation and high levels of humidity. Waterproofing doesn’t help with flooding issues. Flooding can come from the inside, like flooding from burst pipes, as well as from the outside, like flooding from excess rain.

For some people, DIY works perfectly well as a method of maintaining many elements of their home. However, it’s not a great option for the entire home. Here’s what you need to know about your options for installing an interior drain. 

  • DIY Approach 

DIY is not the answer to your interior drainage needs. Although DIY is great for a variety of elements, it can’t stand up to extremely serious concerns. An expert is going to need to step in at some point anyway because DIY fixes typically don’t last for a very long time. It’s a much better idea to get help from an expert early in the process. 

Remember, when you’re installing a DIY solution, you’re trusting that you have the necessary knowledge and experience to execute that solution. This probably isn’t the case for an interior drain. Because a basement that doesn’t have strong interior drainage could end up with serious structural problems, you must turn it over to the experts instead. 

  • Expert Help 

Rather than relying on your DIY expertise, you can instead choose to get expert help with installing an interior drain system. When you get professional help with installing this system, you’ll be able to equip your home with an interior drainage system properly. This can include choosing the right system, making sure it addresses your concerns, and installing it correctly. The best solution for most basement problems will be to talk to an expert. You can schedule a free inspection with Complete Basement Systems to learn more about your options. Whether you end up installing an interior drain or not, a basement repair expert will at least be able to talk to you about what will be best for your basement.

Which French drain system works best for you?

Different problems call for different tools to fix them. In the same way that we wouldn’t use a hammer to drive in a screw, we do not use the same drain system for every basement waterproofing job we complete.

Each of our drainage systems is designed to address a different, unique challenge that you may be facing. Some of these challenges involve the way your home has been designed, while others address unusual basement water issues, such as iron ochre. We offer a wide selection of French drain systems to choose from:

BasementGutter™ Below Floor Drain

For a typical basement, our BasementGutter™ system is the ideal choice for waterproofing. This French drain is designed to be installed below the floor slab, resting on top of the foundation footing. This keeps the drainage system out of the “mud zone”, where drains can clog. BasementGutter™ is installed with minimal invasion of the slab, and all concrete is restored after the installation.

The BasementGutter™ system collects water that seeps through basement walls and drains it to your sump pump. The system installs quickly and has a clean-finished appearance, meaning you don’t have to worry about having an unsightly drain around the basement. BasementGutter™ works for both block walls and poured concrete, ensuring that your basement remains dry in all situations. This product also comes with a written lifetime warranty.

BasementGutter™ IOS Iron Ochre Perimeter Drain

 If iron bacteria is present in your water, it will create a gelatinous, rust-colored substance known as iron ochre. This unpleasant material is notorious for smelling terrible, staining everything it touches, and clogging drainage systems. Our experts tackle this rare problem with our BasementGutter™ IOS Basement Drain.

This product is a modified version of our BasementGutter™ system that includes an extra-wide drain channel and larger drainage openings. To allow for easy drain system maintenance if clogged, the drain system also includes an exposed, removable lid. This system will protect your home from the nasty appearance and smell iron ochre brings while helping prevent any water from seeping into your basement.

Grated Drain Pipe

For many homeowners, preventing flooding from an outer entryway such as a hatchway, garage door, or doorway is a priority. In this case, we use the Grated Draining Pipe to span the opening and prevent water from flowing into your basement. The grated opening of this system is designed to accept water from the floor, where it’s then redirected to your perimeter drain and your sump pump.

This system comes with a removable lid to clear any debris that may enter the drain and is compatible with all our perimeter drain systems. The device lays smoothly across the floor to eliminate tripping hazards. We also recommend installing the drain inside the door to prevent debris from flooding in as well as to prevent freezing in the winter. The Grated Draining Pipe comes with a written lifetime warranty.


Let us install the drain system you need for your home!

No matter how your house was constructed or what kinds of problems you’re facing, our waterproofing products can provide a solution that’s ideal for you! Call your local basement waterproofing experts at Complete Basement Systems today to get started with a free estimate in the Greater Denver area including Littleton,  Thornton, Fort Collins, Westminster, Arvada, Boulder, Greeley, Pueblo or nearby.