It’s that time of year again. The rainy weather that comes with the warm summer months. The rain is great for gardens and lawns, but too much rain can create serious problems when it has nowhere particular to go. When the ground around your home becomes saturated, water ends up flowing wherever it has the least resistance. And that area of least resistance is often over soft ground that ends up eroding away. In some cases, water can enter through your foundation or basement walls, destroying your homes integrity nearly overnight. Stop water erosion and intrusion by installing a French drainage system around your home today.
What’s a French Drain?
A French drain may sound impressive, but in reality, it’s a fairly simple and straightforward drain system that can be employed just about anywhere that there is soil and the need to drain water away from the area. Most French drain systems consist of a corrugated plastic/PVC pipe that has a series of small holes in the top to allow water to enter the pipe so that it can flow through and out to the exit. A ground cloth or weed screen is used to cover the pipe to prevent future root growth in the drain. A layer of gravel, stone or other porous materials are used to cover the entire drainage system. The soil, grass and landscaping materials can then be set back into place.
Where Does the Water Go?
French drains typically allow water to percolate through the ground, enter the drain, then exit back into the ground; but this isn’t always the case. Some French drainage systems use an open drain grate to collect water in one end of the drain and a box drain to remove water at the other end. Box drains are often large concrete, plastic or PVC containers that are buried underground and filled with crushed gravel. They allow water to collect here before it percolates into the surrounding soils. These French drainage systems are best used where water stands or collects in pools.
Can I Install My Own French Drain?
Yes! French drains are one of the easiest DIY projects and only require a little excavation to make them work. Most French drains need to fall at a rate of about 1-2 inches of fall for every 1-2 feet of length to ensure that water flows in the direction you need. You can use a specialty level that will judge the correct fall of the drain trench/pipe so that water will flow where you want it; even uphill!
Whether you use a shovel and a little elbow grease to get the job done or you rent (or hire) excavation equipment to make the trench-be sure that you call all of your local utility companies to locate any underground utility lines before you dig. In most cases, this is a free service and can save you the hassle and expense of accidentally damaging underground utilities when installing your French drainage system.
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