Use of a Weeping Tile System

weeping tile is a 4 inch porous pipe, also called a drain or perimeter tile or corrugated drain pipe used for underground water collection or discharge. It was named in the time period when terracotta (clay) were the typical material used for drain pipes. The weeping tile system was made up of short lengths of clay tube, laid end to end. Water would get into the tile through the gaps between the pieces of pipe and flow away. But there were many problems with this clay weeping tile system: They would crush and break over time and due to pressure. Tree roots also infiltrated the weeping tile often breaking or plugging it. Soil movement due to frost also shifted sections of the weeping tile so they no longer connect. Basically, old clay weeping tile systems stop working properly after a few decades.

The modern material is usually a plastic pipe with small slits or weep holes in it, designed to re-direct water away from the home. It is usually covered with a “sock” or net to prevent silt and soil from filling the tube over time. If this were to happen, it would eventually block it and render the weeping tile useless.

Weeping tile (4) Installing weeping tile and foundation wrap (9)

The concept for how a weeping tile system works is actually quite simple. The weeping tile is buried surrounded by coarse material (for example gravel) larger than the slits. The coarse material prevents excessive soil from falling through the slits into the weeping tile. The weeping tile are placed, holes side up, into a trench around the outside perimeter of the home or inside under the basement floor. As ground water rises, it flows through the holes in the weeping tile. The water then drains or follows the pipe’s incline into a solid pipe leading to a discharge away from the house or directly into a sump which is then removed by a sump pump.

It is often used for water drainage near basement foundations as a part of basement waterproofing often called a French drain. The weeping tile system can be used anywhere soil needs to be drained.