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History of Basement Waterproofing

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People have been trying to come up with an efficient way to waterproof basements or cellars since the 1800s. A big player in this field was Henry French, who invented the French drain, and wrote about that and drainage tiles in his book Farm Drainage. In those times, it was important to keep cellars dry because they were used to store food and keep it cool and fresh.

Waterproofing technology began with clay tiles on the interior foundation which drained out into the field. Over the years, basement waterproofing techniques continued to develop. More modern methods began with clay pipes which were placed under the floor and ran into the sewer system. This caused the sewers to back up because they couldn’t handle that much water, and it would flood back into the home. The clay pipes also were very likely to clog with mud and debris, which prevented them from draining any water out of the basement.

Eventually, with changes in general technology, waterproofers decided it was time to make a change in the industry. Up until now, the clay systems had not been very effective and this gave basement waterproofing the bad reputation of charging homeowners for products that were not effective. With the development of heavy duty plastics, such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), people began using these to make subfloor drainage pipes instead of clay. They also filled the area around the pipes with gravel to attempt to filter the water away from the dirt. Hence the name “pipe and gravel” systems. These worked a little better and were more durable, but they were still becoming clogged and draining into the sewers.

Finally, there was the evolution of the BasementGutter subfloor drainage system. This is a series of drains which sit directly on the concrete footer of the home’s foundation, so it cannot become clogged with dirt and debris from under the home. It also includes holes along the side and a wall flange to collect water from the floor, under the floor, and the walls. Waterproofers and city regulators also learned that water drained out of basement needed to be routed to the storm drains instead of the sewers. While some basement waterproofing companies choose to continue using the old pipe and gravel method, Ohio Basement Authority uses the latest BasementGutter technology. We want to provide our customers with the best basement waterproofing solution, so this is the obvious choice. From Henry French’s cellar drainage to clay pipes to PVC, BasementGutter is a great representation of the basement waterproofing industry and where it is headed — to great things, and to redefining our industry.

**Sources: Doug Secrest,

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