Looking at the French Drain as a Solution
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.
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 various locations. These include a low-lying area of your property, a drainage ditch, a dry well, or the street.
When You Need a French Drain
When you have a problem with surface water, such as a soggy lawn or a driveway that washes out, if water is getting into your basement, and/or if you’re building a retaining wall on a hillside
If Water is Getting Into Your Basement
Install an interior French drain.
An interior French drain intercepts water as it enters your basement. It’s the surest method of keeping your basement dry and a better option than a footing drain. However, if you have a finished basement, you’ll have to remove interior walls in order to install the system. That shouldn’t be a problem if water is ruining your basement anyway. Crews cut a channel around the perimeter of your basement floor, chip out the concrete, and install perforated pipe all the way around. The water flows to a collection tank sunk into the floor, and a sump pump sends it out to the yard or a storm drain.
The channel is patched with a thin layer of concrete, except for a small gap at the edge to channel water down the wall into the drain.
If You’re Building a Retaining Wall on a Hillside
If you’re building a retaining wall, add a French drain behind the first course of stones or blocks.
Otherwise, water moving down the hill will build up behind the wall and undermine it. The pipe should rest on the same compacted gravel base or concrete footing that supports the wall.
For a professional free estimate call Basement Solutions at (610) 495-9111.