WHY INSTALL FRENCH DRAINS

It’s important to install French drains around foundations because a French drain can prevent water from causing foundation damage. This is often a problem in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. When water enters or gets beneath your foundation it can leads to foundation cracks, heaving and many other issues.

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Water always flows downhill, and by the easiest route possible. That’s the basic concept behind a French drain, a slightly sloped trench filled with round gravel and a pipe that diverts water away from your house.

By the way, the name doesn’t come from the country. It’s from Henry French, a judge and farmer in Concord, Massachusetts, who promoted the idea in an 1859 book about farm drainage.

How a French Drain Works

French drains provide an easy channel for water to flow through. Water runs into a gravel-filled trench, then into perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench.

Water travels freely through the pipe, which empties a safe distance from the house.

The trench bottom should be sloped about 1 inch for every 8 feet in the direction you want water to flow. Depending on your situation, the water can be diverted to:

A low-lying area of your property

A drainage ditch

A dry well

The street

A French drain system can be the ideal solution for Toronto area homeowners who are dealing with a wet basement and/or soggy yard. Water naturally flows downhill and always takes the easiest route it possibly can. This concept is basically what’s behind a French drain system as it’s a trench which is sloped slightly and filled with a pipe and round gravel which diverts the water away from the building. The concept was invented by a 19th-century American named Henry French and is still an effective system today.

The French drains gives water an easy avenue to flow through. It runs into the gravel-filled trench and then flows into a perforated pipe which is sits at the bottom of the trench. The water can travel quite freely through this pipe and its emptied from the home at a safe distance. In general, the bottom of the trench should slope approximately one inch for each eight feet in the direction you’d like the water to flow. The water can then be emptied to a drainage ditch, a low-lying section of the property, the street or a dry well etc.

Soggy Property

Those who are dealing with surface water and soggy areas of their property can benefit from a French drain system as can those who suffer from wet basements. When it comes to soggy areas, the French drain, which is also known as a curtain drain, runs horizontally across the property and uphill from the area which you’d like to dry out. The drain doesn’t necessarily need to be deep as most of them are about two feet in depth and approximately 1.5 feet across. If the drain has to pass through treed areas or shrubbery a solid pipe can be used to make sure roots don’t grow into it and clog it.

Wet Basement

With a wet basement, a deep French drain is a good option. This system is also known as a footing drain. It is located at footing level and runs around the home’s perimeter. This enables it to catch the water before it’s able to flow into the basement. These systems are easy to install during the construction of a building, but can also be added later if necessary. If the basement is tall then the foundation footing may be quite a few feet down. In some instances, landscaping, walkways and decks may have to be taken out to install the drain. If there isn’t enough slope for the system to be effective the water may need to be sent via a sump pump to the storm drain system.