Facing Drainage Problems? Protect Your Home With A French Drain


Most homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods often grapple with flooding problems, as trees and other vegetation that once naturally absorbed and retained surface runoff are replaced with impervious concrete paving or buildings.

This can cause surface runoff to overwhelm drainage systems, causing water to pool on roads and around homes. Lack of proper drainage can also result in water collecting around your home foundation, causing devastating damage to your basement floors and walls. If you are facing a serious flooding problem, read on to learn how you can install a French drain to help divert surface runoff and protect your home.

Initial preparations

A French drain is typically a gravel-filled trench with a pipe that absorbs surface runoff and water retained in the soil so as to reduce flooding issues. The drain system should intercept the water uphill of your home and divert it downhill to a creek, river or municipal storm sewer system.

The first step in installing a French drain is figuring out the type of piping to use. Typically, you should use perforated PVC pipes if you have serious water pooling problems and solid piping in areas where you only encounter surface runoff.

Next, you need to determine where the drain will be located. The drain should be strategically installed a few feet away from the home, where it can absorb all the floodwater before it reaches the base of your home.

Digging and laying the pipe

Once you have determined the best location to install the French drain, lay out the pipes above ground so as to ensure you have enough pipe and connectors for the drain. This also enables you to mark out where to dig.

Using a spray paint, paint a line on both sides of the laid-out piping to mark out the route the French drain should take. Before you start digging, consult your local utilities companies to ensure that you do not damage any underground utility lines as you dig.

For the digging, a trenching machine can be an effective tool to get the job done quickly. Next, use a trenching shovel to remove loose soil in the trench and use a level to ensure the drain slopes downwards toward the outlet location for effective drainage. If you are using perforated pipes, make sure that the holes are at the bottom of the trench to allow for effective water absorption. Finally, fill the trench with gravel and cover it up with a layer of sod.

If you have any plumbing questions, visit Always On Call Mountain Mechanical.

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