How to Install French Drains Properly

French drain installation is the process of channeling storm water runoff away from homes in low-lying areas and providing a septic system for the community. A French drain generally consists of an underground pipe perforated by large holes with washers that has already been sunk into the earth. In some cases, perforations are positioned perpendicular to the slope. This perforation provides the water vapor to be directed away from homes, while preventing storm water runoff from being pooling in local basements and wastewaters.

French drainage has a number of benefits. The installation process is relatively less expensive than alternative options in terms of initial construction costs and maintenance expenses over time. In most states, French drains are recognized as systems that do not require sewer line replacement. This means that in most jurisdictions, there is no need to apply for permits and comply with storm water regulations in order to install a French drain system.

There are several different types of French drains available for selected applications. Some of the most popular French drain installation options include trench drain installation, boxelder and vertical pipes. Depending upon the location and size of the property, the options provided will determine the ultimate cost of the project. For instance, French drains are often combined with footers and gutter guard systems to increase storm water runoff protection. In addition to additional drainage materials, French drains often include a sloped roof construction, such as a pitched roof, to reduce the amount of water that collects on the roof.

As an example of French drain installation in a yard, a trench drain installation would be installed around the perimeter of the yard. This trench would be eight to twelve feet deep, depending upon the property, width and grade. Once the trench is drained and the soil filled back up, a second trench, approximately four feet deeper, would be installed for footers and gutters. The height of the second trench is based upon the existing grading of the property.

French drains can also be used as a basement waterproofing solution. Generally, French drains are installed on the outside of a basement, rather than on the inside. Basements that have an open floor plan, such as one with an attached garage or room underneath, can be considered for French drains, rather than a traditional foundation. However, regardless of whether a basement is waterproofed with a French drain or with a traditional foundation, it is important to make sure that a basement waterproofing system includes French drains, as French drains allow for increased water runoff from the outside to the inside of a basement, which significantly reduces the amount of moisture that is retained within the basement.

When using a French drain, there are some things to consider in advance. First, a perforated pipe must be dug at least one foot into the soil, either through the top of the foundation or through a gravel bed. Digging this required distance will help the French drain system remain efficient and effective. Second, a PVC waterproofing membrane must be installed inside the French drain, as this membrane helps prevent moisture from entering the French drain and entering the walls of the basement.

After the French drain has been installed, it is important to fill the excavated area with a heavy layer of earth to help with water runoff. Then, after the soil has settled, a top concrete slab, about six to eight inches thick, should be poured onto the soil and leveled with a picket. A second, heavier concrete slab should be poured on top of the first, to ensure adequate footing. Finally, a perforated metal channel, approximately one foot inside of the soil and connected to the bottom of the French drain system, should be installed on the concrete slab to help guide the path of water flow.

Properly installing French drains is a very important step in basement waterproofing. This is why it is recommended that basement owners make an investment in this project. Not only will a French drain to help to alleviate flooding problems in your basement, but it will also help to conserve energy and water. This will help you save money on your utilities and increase the value of your home.