Ayers Dictionary: Common (and Complicated) Waterproofing Terms

Monday, July 15th, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann

Ayers Dictionary: Common (and Complicated) Waterproofing Terms - Image 1

When it comes to problems in your home, things can get complicated in the blink of an eye. There’s a ton of terminology that you have no reason to know until it related to you. While our System Design Specialists are great at breaking down problems and solutions so you understand and feel confident in your choices, sometimes it helps to have a cheat sheet.

For the next few weeks, we'll be explaining some often used and unnecessarily complicated terms you'll run into as you search out solutions for your basement, crawl space, or foundation problems.

Below are five waterproofing terms you might come across on our website, at your inspection, or, if you’re like me, when you frantically google “WHY IS BASEMENT WET” at 3am.


Hydrostatic Pressure: This is just a fancy term for water pressure. When the soil around and under your foundation gets too wet, pressure builds up and the water tries to escape to a lower pressure area - even if your foundation is in the way. If you have water seeping through your walls or up through your floor without a noticeable entry point (like a window or crack), it’s likely the work of hydrostatic pressure.


French Drain (or Full Perimeter French Drain System): A French drain system is one that is installed below your basement floor, on top of the foundation slab, to collect water and route it to a sump pump - like our WaterGuard system. You might think it originated in France, but it was actually popularized in Massachusetts in the 1800s...by a man named Henry Flagg French. French drains are our recommended system because they don’t clog like exterior drains, and placing them below the floor means they collect all of the incoming water.


Head (or #-foot head): You'll run into lots of numbers around sump pump specs. Pump A will pump x gallons of water at an 8-foot head, pump B will pump y gallons at a 10-foot head, and so on. The head is basically just the height of your basement ceiling - and the height of the discharge line. Discharge lines are what takes the water from the sump pump outside, and they're generally installed to run up a wall and out at the ceiling. So if you have 8-foot ceilings, you'll want to look at the numbers for an 8-foot head, and so on. 


Feed Line: This has nothing to do with fishing. Feed Line, sometimes called Cross Tile, is a drainage product primarily used in large or very uneven basements. It’s installed across rooms, from one section of WaterGuard to another, to more efficiently move water to a sump pump. If your basement has multiple low points or is just massive, you likely will have feed line installed with your drainage system. Think of it as adding off-ramps to a congested superhighway.


Inorganic/Anti-microbial: You’ll hear these words used a lot when talking about our wall coverings. All of our wall systems, like CleanSpace and Brightwall, are created to be used in wet spaces without causing more problems. That means they won’t grow mold or mildew, and won’t break down in the presence of water. Traditional wall coverings, like wood paneling or drywall, are made of organic materials (like paper) that feed and grow mold in damp environments.


These are just a few commonly used terms to get you started - but remember, if you’re having problems with a wet basement, the easiest thing to do is call us to set up a free inspection. One of our highly trained system design specialists will be with you every step of the way to explain what’s causing your problem, and how we’ll provide a permanent solution.


our service area

We serve the following areas

  • Algonac
  • Allen Park
  • Carleton
  • Casco
  • Center Line
  • Clinton Township
  • Dearborn
  • Detroit
  • East China
  • Eastpointe
  • Ecorse
  • Erie
  • Fair Haven
  • Flat Rock
  • Fraser
  • Grosse Ile
  • Grosse Pointe
  • Hamtramck
  • Harper Woods
  • Harrison Township
  • Harsens Island
  • Highland Park
  • Ida
  • La Salle
  • Lambertville
  • Lincoln Park
  • Luna Pier
  • Marine City
  • Marysville
  • Melvindale
  • Monroe
  • Mount Clemens
  • New Baltimore
  • New Boston
  • Newport
  • Port Huron
  • River Rouge
  • Riverview
  • Rockwood
  • Roseville
  • Saint Clair
  • Saint Clair Shores
  • Samaria
  • South Rockwood
  • Southgate
  • Taylor
  • Temperance
  • Trenton
  • Warren
  • Wyandotte
Our Locations:

Ayers Basement Systems
2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
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