A French drain is designed to direct all of the rain that’s collected in your gutters under the ground so it can be funneled away from your home. It helps to drain all of the water away from your home so it doesn’t collect and cause damage. If you are searching for a way to keep the harmful effects of water from damaging your home, you likely have a few questions. Crown Remodeling developed this guide to help answer them.
What is a French drain?
A French drain consists of a trench that’s filled with rock or gravel. Alternatively, it can contain a perforated pipe. In many cases, a hollow pipe with perforation is used to quick release water that then seeps down through the gravel or rock.
When might you need a French drain?
One of the reasons that you might consider having a French drain installed is if you have major flooding in your yard or if there is water too close to your home. However, even minor flooding can be effectively addressed by the installation of a French drain.
How is a French drain installed?
Installing a French drain involves five steps. The first is digging a trench which can be done either by hand or with the aid of a trencher. While the actual depth and width of the trench for your home can vary, typically it measures five to eight inches wide. This trench is usually between 8 and 12 inches deep.
The next step is to determine the correct slope. While a 0.5 percent slope is the least that is recommended, most needs are best satisfied with a 1 or 2 percent grade.
Next, the trench is filled with material. This material can vary but might include lining the trench with clay, filling it with gravel and/or adding a perforated pipe. Crown Remodeling carefully evaluates your home and drainage issues to develop a solution that best addresses these problems.
On top of the gravel, several inches of coarse sand is laid. While the sand provides a medium in which grass can then take root, it must be coarse enough to allow water to drain through properly.
Lastly, the trench is seeded with new growth or it’s simply allowed to grow in from the nearby areas if you have grass that spreads.
What is the purpose of a French drain?
The primary purpose of a French drain is to limit or prevent damage to the foundations of buildings, such as your home, that is caused by either surface water, groundwater or both. They are also used in some areas as an alternative to storm sewers or open ditches along highways and streets, as a method of redistributing water in a septic drain field or to relieve ground water pressure behind retaining walls.
What other ways might a French drain be identified?
There are a number of other ways that people can use to identify a French drain. Some people might call it a French ditch, for example, or a land drain, a perimeter drain, a filter drain or a blind drain.
Where will it drain to?
Because the reason for using a French drain in the first place is to direct the water away from the foundation of a building, such as your house, the exit point of the trench needs to be in a place that has a good slope. A nearby ditch or another area that has been prepared for the proper drainage of water. Prior to a French drain being installed, Crown Remodeling will conduct a thorough assessment of your home and property to determine the best placement and the ideal place for it to exit.
How deep does it need to be?
In most cases, a French drain that is installed between 8 and 12 inches deep is sufficient to effectively drain the water away from your home.
Can it get clogged?
In order to reduce the likelihood of it getting clogged, a French drain can be lined with various materials. These include landscaping fabric, sand, and gravel. Other strategies, such as lining the bottom of the trench with a perforated pipe and/or clay can also help prevent clogging.
These steps help prevent roots and dirt from entering the pipe and damaging it though they are not fool-proof. Over time, bits of clay, dirt and other debris can collect within the pipe as well as the landscaping material and cause clogging issues.
Should you hire a professional to install a French drain?
When noting the steps for installing a French drain above, it might appear to be a relatively simple job. After all, it comprises primarily of digging a trench, laying down some material and covering the trench back up once again.
However, there is more involved in the process than this simplified version. Digging a trench by hand can be a long and tiresome process. If the right grade in the trench is not maintained, the French drain can be nearly useless. Choosing the right combination of materials is not something that should be approached in a hit-or-miss way.
Instead, hire an experienced professional like Crown Remodeling. Not only do we have the professional equipment that makes digging a suitable and well-graded trench easy, we use our expertise to determine the best materials to use inside the trench to provide the solutions you need to protect the integrity of your home. Contact us today if you have any further questions or to schedule an appointment.