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Basement Water Problems in Downingtown

French Drain Installaton

Moving Water Before It Enters Your Home

French Drain Installation

If you’re considering installing French drains, you’re probably already facing some basement waterproofing and drainage issues. Now you need to know, if a French drain can solve your problem and whether it is cost effective for your [city] home.

If you live in [CITY], your home’s most important drain may not be located in a sink or tub. It may not be a plumbing drain at all. In most homes in [county] with a basement the French drain may be the one you need to concern yourself with most. A simple, gravity-fed drain leading to a pump to remove water from your basement can protect your home from severe water damage and flooding.

What Exactly is a French Drain

A French drain (curtain drain, weeping tile, perimeter drain) is simply a gravel-filled trench with slotted pvc piping used to direct groundwater away from areas and to an area where it can be collected (sump pit, dry well, storm drain, swale) and it can be dealt with accordingly.

When properly installed, French drains direct groundwater through the drain while protecting your home’s basement from flooding. The gravel around the pipe acts as a filter, preventing debris from entering the pipe and drainage system. French drains are different in that they collect water along the whole length of the drain instead of just one area. This arrangement makes them perfect for draining water from an entire basement perimeter.

Subsurface drainage systems have been in use for centuries, taking many forms, but are essentially similar in design and function to the traditional French drain system. The first French drains were simply ditches filled with gravel. While many people assume the name French drain originated in France, it actually is attributed to Henry Flagg French, who popularlized them in his book Farm Drainage, published in 1859. He utilized pieces o of roofing tile to build his drains before perforated pipe was around.

How Does a French Drain Work?

Water always seeks out the lowest point, via the easiest path, so it easily finds pockets in loose soil. The French drain works because we are providing a relatively easy, sunken channle that allows the water to collect and flow along a smooth surface (the perforated pipe). Gravity does the work, so properly sloped pipes are essential to a proper installation. The water flows down through the gravel ant then along the smooth surface of the pipe to the sump pit where it is daylighted (evacuated from your basement to your yard, storm drain, dry well or swale)

French Drain Pipe Construction

One of the most common pipe materials used to create a French drain is plastic because of its durability. There are two frequently chosen pipe variations: corrugated and PVC. Both are lightweight, but corrugated pipe can be flexible, while PVC is stronger and more rigid. Regardless of what the pipe is made of, it must be slotted or perforated at regular intervals to allow water to enter and flow through the system.

Always consider the dimensions required to produce a proper French drain system. For the majority of residential applications we use a 4-inch perforated pipe. If you have an extreme amount of water or very heavy soil saturation, we could spec a larger-diameter pipe. Commercial and agricultural systems usually require a larger pipe.

French Drain Cost

Installation of a French drain during home construction is the least expensive time. Before the basement floor is poured and everything is wide open, pipes can be laid and a pit set. Retro-fitting a French drain is more expensive and the costs are driven by materials used, material needing to be removed (existing concrete), aggregate, fabric, sump pit, sump pump and discharge line (along with need to cut through basement wall). French drain installation generally runs between $ 85 to $ 150 per linear foot with the higher end including demolition of walls, moving hvac units, water heaters etc.

The French drain installation cost estimate also factors in labor. Many velieeDrainage experts are available for hire and charge varying amounts for their work, but even a DIY project can be examined in terms of cost and benefit.

French Drain Applications

In {[CITY] French drains are used largely by residential, commercial and municipal property owners dealing with drainage problems that cause damage to their homes, buildings, property, create issues in parking lots and driveways. When water rolls downward, it will collect against walls, curbs and low lying areas where it will eventually degrade the material. When freezing occurs, it can cause hairline cracke wich will become worse over time. Water standing, will slowly create a path where it will seep into a below-grade room, basement, crawlspace or even a garage.

A French drain will solve drainage issues in:

  • Building foundations, basements, and crawlspaces
  • Lawns and landscaped areas
  • Sports fields, playing fields, and playgrounds
  • Hardscape patios and driveways
  • Retaining walls
  • Any area subject to surface or subsurface saturation

The typical way to plan your French drain is examine where the water is entering or pooling after a heavy rain. Your soil type can add to the issue, clay soil especially holds water well, and can contribute to clogging a French drain. The clay has fine particles that fill in the spaces between the gravel and prevents the water from running freely. For areas like [CITY[ with high clay amounts, fabric wrapping the drain pipe is essential to keep out the ultra fine particles that will eventually accumulate.

We are here to help you make an informed decision about whether this method will serve your needs.

French Drain Design

There are many factors to consider when designing and installing a French drain. Slope is essential. When we pump the water outside, we will need a downhill course steep enough to keep water running along to its intended destination. We recommend a 2 percent minimum slope for every 100 feet of length.

Other elements to consider include:

  • French drain depth: About 8 inches to 2 feet deep should be sufficient for many water-diverting projects, though related systems, such as those built around foundations and sub-ground living spaces, as well as the bases of retaining walls, may be deeper.
  • French drain aggregate: The size of the gravel used can vary from pea gravel to larger pieces of river rock. If aggregate of different sizes is used, smaller pieces usually go closer to the pipe, while larger pieces sit closer to and on the surface.
  • French drain pipe length: This is covered above, and really depends on a project’s specific elements. Of course, the pipe should be long enough to carry water from the underground areas where it collects to an end point, where it daylights.
  • French drain flow: Slope is a big factor in maintaining a free flow of water, as is the aggregate placement and surrounding fabric to prevent debris from clogging the pipe.

French Drain Installation

Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing a French drain on your property.

  • Determine the best location. Determining the best location depends on where the problem areas are located, nearby elevation, and the condition of the soil. Use the design tips above to help with siting to ensure proper slope, depth, and more. When it comes to the soil, sandy soil located in an out-of-the way area is preferred, but your installer will find the best solution based on your property’s unique features.
  • Prepare to dig the French drain. It’s your French drain, but it doesn’t affect only you. City codes must be considered, and you need to be aware of how your newfound drainage solution will affect your neighbors. This is also an ideal time to contact the local utility company to have any underground lines marked before digging begins. Once you start digging your drain depth will need to be anywhere from eight inches to two feet, depending on your needs and available options.
  • Measure the grading. This process begins by pounding two stakes into the ground to mark the dimensions of the trench. A taut string is tied between them, allowing for easy grade measurements as the digging process begins. Regular measuring checks will be performed throughout the process.
  • Dig a trench across the slope. Digging the trench is the most labor-intensive portion of the project and as it is being dug, constant grading measurements are necessary. The width of the trench will depend on how large the drainage problem is. Smaller drainage problems can be handled with a trench that is 5 to 6 inches wide, while larger problems will require a larger trench.
  • Add the fabric. Once the trench has been dug, it will be lined with landscape fabric, and then additional gravel is added. This fabric prevents dirt from mixing with the gravel and promotes water percolation. Once the fabric has been applied, a light load of gravel is shoveled over the top so the corners of the fabric can be wrapped around this gravel, holding it in place.
  • Add pipe. Place a slotted or perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench. The pipe needs to be directed towards an outlet to drain away from the home.
  • Install Mirra drain – this is a dimppled material that goes between the wall and the new poured concrete to allow any moisture from the wall to drain. If a vapor barrier is installed, it can be tucked into the Mirra drain to keep moisture from entering the living space.
  • Fill with gravel. The drain is nearly complete. Now the gravel of whatever size you choose will be shoveled in. Once the gravel is in, top it with another layer of landscape fabric and then cover it with fresh concrete.