when to call a drainage specialist

Do You Need A Drainage Contractor Or Plumber?

Updated: April 4, 2022

If you are like most homeowners, you probably couldn’t really tell the difference between a plumber and a drainage contractor. It’s a common misconception that the two professionals are the same, and many get surprised to learn that these are actually different professions. Even if they’re experts in their fields, it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to do the other’s job well, too. This is why you must know their differences so that you can maximize their abilities.

Here’s how you’ll know whether to look for plumbers or drainage contractors in Michigan:

Know what drainage contractors and plumbers focus on

What differentiates a drainage contractor from a plumber is the focus of their work. Think of it this way––drainage contractors take care of water going out of the property while plumbers handle problems with water going in. 

Homeowners usually turn to plumbers in case of an emergency in the house, as they are trained for the installation and repair of indoor fixtures like:

  • Faucets
  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Shower drains
  • Hot water dispensers
  • Food disposals
  • Water filtration

On the other hand, drainage contractors are those who handle problems with external issues. If you have an issue with your sewer system that could affect not only your household but also the adjoining properties, you should call a drainage expert at once. You should also contact this professional if the problem is related to the removal of wastewater, even if the signs of the problem manifest indoors, like slow-draining sinks and tubs or a foul smell coming from the sink. 

Know Who to Call for Preventive Measures

In general, you will want to call a plumber when there’s already a problem. Rarely do you call one for an inspection of your pipes, as that’s more of a drainage contractor’s job. They can do surveys and thorough investigations to see if there’s any potential issue with your property’s drainage. Then, they will address those to keep them from getting more serious. 

Professional drainage contractors can detect areas where problems could arise, whether it’s a bad connection to sewer pipes or some cracks on the lines that could lead to costly damages. Typically, they use cameras that are specifically designed for drainage checking. A CCTV drain survey can help determine if there’s a partially collapsed drain or other severe problems. 

It’s always important to work with professionally-licensed plumbers and drainage contractors. Unfortunately, some companies sacrifice durability and a job well done. The cement covering a French drain in a basement, for instance, is required to be at least 4” thick. There are contractors out there who only spread ½” to 1” of cement, which is not up to code and will result in issues later on. Choosing the right contractor to work with and ensuring past clients have been happy with their work will help you prevent problems in the future.

When Do You Call a Plumber?

You should call a plumber if you experience any of these situations:

  • A tap is leaking
  • The toilet, bath, shower, or sink needs to be repaired or replaced
  • You need to install new faucets
  • The radiator is leaky
  • The interior pipework needs fixing
    plumbers vs. drainage contractors

When Do You Call a Drainage Contractor?

Hiring the services of a drainage contractor will be best if you notice these situations:

  • Your drains are slow-flowing or blocked
  • There’s a flood caused by burst pipework outside your house
  • There’s a blocked or faulty sewer line
  • You need disposal of wastewater
  • You need a CCTV camera survey done in your drainage
  • When you need waterproofing, landscaping, and drainage services (some drainage contractors offer complete services)

when to call a drainage expert


It’s not hard to determine which professional you should call when you know what tasks they perform. Hopefully, this article helped you understand the differences between the jobs that plumbers and drainage contractors do. By knowing who to call, you can be sure that the problems you are experiencing will be addressed by someone who is trained to do so!

Sir Williams Drainage and Waterproofing Solutions can provide you with expert services for all your drainage concerns. We have been the go-to drainage and waterproofing contractor in Belleville for over 40 years! Contact us today to learn more about our services!

Sir Williams Gardens in Michigan can help you with your interior or exterior flooding issues.

We provide drainage, waterproofing, and landscaping services in the following towns:

  • Plymouth, MI
  • Canton, MI
  • Northville, MI
  • Novi, MI
  • Livonia, MI
  • Salem, MI
  • Farmington, MI
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Ypsilanti, MI
  • Westland, MI
  • Van Buren TWP, MI