French drains are excavated ditches lined with heavy grading stone or other material and excavated at ground level, often several feet below grade. A French drain is a channel filled with soil or rock or containing a narrow perforated pipe which diverts surface water away from an affected area and directs it elsewhere. Drainage systems were originally used to divert sewage, but they can be used for any purpose. They are usually located on properties that are in need of repair because of subsidence, aging, or other problem.
When installing a French drain, the French drain pipe must be installed inside an underground trench. Digging a French drain is much like excavating a building foundation. The depth of excavated soil depends on the depth of the hole that was made in the soil. Digging a French drain requires professional equipment that can cost a lot of money.
French drains are put in place with the help of steel clips that fasten the pipe to the earth’s surface. The French drain system has two slopes to choose from; a steep pitch or a flat slope. A French drain should have a minimum depth of four feet, and it should be about forty-five inches wide, while having the minimum height of twelve inches. If a French drain has a shallow slope, then there is the possibility of a wet floor when water from the storm drains eventually make their way to the main sewer line.
To dig a French drain, you must make sure that the trench is dug at a rate of a quarter inch per foot. The depth of the French drain trench should be between three and five feet. After digging the trench, the next step is to set up the framework. This includes attaching a steel reinforcement piece at the bottom of the trench to support it. A French drain can be collapsed by heavy rains, so it is very important that it is firmly supported and cannot be blown over by high winds.
Once the framework is in place, you can begin to excavate the trench. After the French drain is complete, another layer of gravel should be laid along its length. You should also check to see that the gravel does not skip across the drainage pipes. Another consideration when preparing French drains for water problems is the movement of soil. If you find that the gravel moves too quickly in some areas, then you may want to thin the gravel a bit by adding a second layer of gravel.
There are many problems that can occur if a French drain is not maintained. For example, French drains are ideal for eliminating surface and vertical water problems in the yard but they are not very efficient for eliminating groundwater pollution. Some homeowners mistakenly believe that French drains eliminate all water pollution in the yard, but the opposite is true. Even though French drains eliminate surface water pollution in the yard, they do not treat the ground properly to regulate the amount of dissolved solids in the soil. As a result, there is the possibility of running-off. If this happens, the only way to remedy the problem is to add more topsoil to the area.
If the French Drains are made of steel mesh, then they will be more effective than PVC pipe, but both of these materials will create a lot of noise. Another problem with French drains is that if dirt gets stuck in the mesh, then it becomes very difficult to remove this dirt. It is much easier to break through woven mesh. In addition, once a French drain becomes blocked or plugged, it can become almost impossible to open it back up again.
Many homeowners are choosing to install French drains because of their advantages over conventional trench drains. The main benefit of a French drain is that they are effective at removing sediment and are very economical. Another advantage is that they do not cause surface erosion and they don’t pose a significant environmental risk. If you are concerned about protecting your groundwater, then French Drains should be considered.