What is a Footer Drain, and Where Do I Need One?

Water has its benefits in a house, but once your foundation is laid, not so much. You have to do whatever it takes to keep it away from the home, and a footer drain –also known as a foundation drain is how most people keep moisture away from their foundations. If you have a below-grade living space or crawls space, for that matter, underground water, surface runoff, and freeze-thaw from snow pose a real threat to the integrity of your home. Since repairing cracked foundations or wet basements is not easy, let us see places that will need a footer drain around your home.

Crawl space

A crawl space is one of the most critical spaces of a building that needs exterior waterproofing. While it may be a useless space in some buildings, it plays a crucial role in the house’s air circulation and structural integrity. During a crawl space encapsulation, technicians will typically install a vapor barrier on the inside and add a foundation drain to prevent runoff and other water from entering the crawl space.

Gutter downspouts

It is counterproductive to install a gutter and then have them deposit the water they collect at the foundation’s base. Since most of the runoff water from a building comes from the roof, it is imperative that you install proper drainage—in this case, footer drainage, to go along with your other exterior waterproofing solutions. A footer drain will give all the water you collect a channel to follow hence taking it away from your foundation.


The importance of keeping moisture away from the house cannot be overstated, especially if the landscape around your building is not properly graded. As part of exterior waterproofing measures, you have to install a proper footer drainage channel to keep water constantly from the foot of the foundation. Mostly this is done by digging a trench and then covering it with a vapor barrier and filling it with rocks. Water will percolate through the rocks and follow the channel created by the vapor barrier, thereby protecting the foundation.

The bottom line is footer drains work, but only if they are installed by the right person. That’s why it’s always advisable to call in a professional. Looking to install a footer drain? Barrier Waterproofing Sytems is always ready to help you accomplish the task. Call us today at (615) 257-1060 for a free no-obligation price estimate.