Does a Sump Pump Need a Perimeter Drain?

Having a sump pump installed can help keep your home protected from unexpected weather, such as floods and tornadoes. But is it necessary to have a perimeter drain for your sump pump?

A sump pump does need a perimeter drain system to direct water away from the building and prevent excess moisture build-up. Sump pumps are crucial to waterproofing your home, and having a proper perimeter drain or weeping tile system installed helps your sump pump function efficiently.

Does A Sump Pump Need A Perimeter Drain

In this article, I’ll discuss the purpose of a perimeter drain. I’ll also share the steps for how to install a perimeter drain for a sump pump and provide tips on sump pump and perimeter drain maintenance.

What’s the Purpose of Perimeter Drains for Sump Pumps?

Sump pumps and perimeter drains go hand in hand; Perimeter drain systems consist of pipelines to direct excess water away from your home during floods and the wet season.

Your home is full of different drains, but unlike internal drain systems, the perimeter drainage system, also known as a french drain, is located just outside your home.

The purpose of perimeter drains for sump pumps is to collect the excess water and direct it through to the sump pump, which pumps it away from the building. Perimeter drain systems and sump pumps are the best way to waterproof your home, helping to preserve its value.

These systems can take a considerable amount of weight off your shoulders, especially if you live in an area known for high rainfall and flooding.

Most homes have perimeter systems already installed to collect and prevent extra moisture and water from seeping through your basement walls and crawl space.

The perimeter drain consists of thousands of tiny slits or holes which allow water to naturally seep through and be redirected away from the building via the sump pump.

How To Install Perimeter Drains

According to the SFGATE homeguides, perimeter drainage systems can be self-installed to save money, but be sure to contact a professional as soon as you notice warning signs like an unstable foundation.

It’s best to start installing in the dry season; never install a perimeter drain during spring, as you risk a mudslide.

To install perimeter drains, you will need:

  • Wire mesh screens
  • Gravel (in different sizes),
  • Drainage tubes and their fittings
  • Shovels

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, follow these simple steps:

  1. Dig a trench around your home six to ten inches below the footing of your foundation. Keep in mind, it only needs to be wide enough so you can move without restriction.
  2. Fill the bottom of your hole with about two to three inches of gravel. This will serve as the base of your drainage tube.
  3. Connect and lay out your drainage tubes in the hole. Ensure all pipes are level so water can flow freely.
  4. Run the drainage pipes away from the building. Ensure the lines are running downhill or decline so water can run away from the house.
  5. Cover the pipes with a mesh sock. This is to prevent soil from entering the system.
  6. Layer the hole with gravel with the most prominent pieces near the pipe. After layering the gravel, fill the rest of the hole with the dug-up dirt and soil.
  7. Test the perimeter drain. This is to ensure no blockages inside the pipelines.
  8. Cover the end with mesh. This helps to prevent debris and animals from getting in.

Related article: Does a Drain Need a Vent?

Sump Pump and Perimeter Drain Maintenance

Maintaining your sump pump and perimeter drain systems may sound like work, but the importance of cleaning your sump pump and drains cannot be stressed enough!

Over time, your sump pump and perimeter drain can become clogged with twigs, tree roots, dirt, and debris.

A clogged perimeter drain can lead to pipes bursting or the overflow of the sump pit.

According to John G. Plumbing, homeowners should clean their perimeter drain systems every two to three years.

One should clean the sump pump and pit once a year, although experts recommend cleaning the pump once every three to four months.

Removing excess debris, sticks, and dirt while working with the sump pit can prevent blockages that might lead to flooding.

Taking preventative measures to ensure that the sump pump and perimeter drainage systems work efficiently can avert flooding accidents and save money.


Knowing the importance of a perimeter drainage system and how they accompany a sump pump is crucial to ensuring that your home stays flood-free during the wet season.

Sump pumps are essential in waterproofing your home, and having a proper perimeter drain or weeping tile system installed helps your sump pump function efficiently.

Perimeter drain systems work to direct the water away from the building, preventing excess moisture build-up and helping preserve the value of one’s home.

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Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.