29 Oct 2015

French Drain Installation

French-drainThe French have been generous in their many contributions to the world, from hot air balloons and sewing machines to bikinis and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few. However, two things called “French” have no real French origin: French fries and French drains.

The French drain is named after its first public promoter, a judge and farmer from Concord, Massachusetts, named Henry French, who wrote about the idea in an 1859 book about farm drainage systems.

The idea is simple. Water always flows downhill and by the easiest route possible. Taking advantage of this, a trench is created and lined with gravel with a pipe seated at the bottom to direct the water easily away from the wet area and into a drainage ditch, low-lying area, dry well, or the street.

There is a variety of French drainage methods based on your particular needs.

If your problem is surface water, a shallow French drain running horizontally and uphill from the wet spot serves as an intercept and directs water away from the soggy area.

If water is getting into your basement, a deep French drain dug to the level of the footers around the perimeter of the house will direct water away from foundation walls. The slope has to be taken into consideration in this instance. If there is not enough slope to drain the water away from the house, then it might have to be piped into a basin in the basement, where a sump pump can then pump it to a storm drainage system.

Another French drainage system for a wet basement is to dig a channel around the inside perimeter of the foundation walls and install perforated pipe within the channel, then covering the channel with a thin layer of concrete and leaving a small gap to catch any water running down the walls. The pipe diverts the water to a catch basin where the sump pump directs it into the storm drainage system or the yard.

While the concept of the French drainage system is easy to understand, how to meet your property’s unique needs might not be. To make sure that you get the French drain installation best suited to your needs, contact us for a consultation.