Do you always have a damp place in the backyard? Is the basement or crawl space under your home always filled with water after heavy rain? A French drain can be the best solution for these problems. Although many think the French drain originated in France, it is actually named after a judge and farmer named Henry French who promoted the idea about farm drainage in a book in 1859. Our friends at Elite Moisture Solutions were kind enough to give us a better idea of how a French drain works, who it is best suited for, and the many advantages for having one.

What is a French drain?

After a rainstorm, water accumulates in the lowest areas of the property. This problem can be alleviated by rerouting the flow of water with the help of a French drain. Water always flows by the easiest route possible, which is precisely the concept behind how a French drain operates. A slightly sloped trench is filled with gravel and a perforated pipe, which efficiently diverts the water away from the foundation of your house, whereas gutters are the primary source of collecting precipitation from the roof, French drains are used to manage routing of water at ground level. 

When do you need a French drain?

French drains work the best to drain excess water away from the foundation of your home and the landscaping to an area where it won’t be of any harm. The water can be drained into a drainage ditch, creek, or street drainage. You might be thinking, how would you know when you need a French drain, then here is a quick answer:

  • If you are having a soggy driveway or a lawn 
  • If you are having a problem of surface water that washes out landscaping
  • If you are constructing a retaining wall on any hillside
  • If water is seeping into your basement or crawl space

How a French drain works?

Firstly, a trench is dug carefully with a slope towards the drainage. A slope of one inch works well for every eight feet in length. A level string is tied between the stakes to determine the correct angle, and then the distance from the reference point to the trench bottom is measured. The trench should not be smaller than 12 inches wide with a depth of 18 to 24 inches as the diameter of the drainpipe is directly related to the effectiveness of the French drain. After the trench is dug, it is filled with crushed stones which are then covered with water-permeable landscaping fabric to control the growth of weeds. Rigid pipes with predrilled holes or flexible pipes with cuts are used with the holes facing downwards. By doing so, the water level in the French drain will be kept minimum. A French drain collects water from the yard, basement, or crawl space and the sloping angle keeps the water rolling towards the location where you want it to deposit.

Benefits of the French drain

If you are thinking about installing a French drain, then you should know about the benefits by evaluating the cost-to-benefit ratio. Here are some of the advantages of installing a French drain:

  • It takes away moisture, which can over time creates mold
  • The water in the basement will no longer damage the foundation
  • Prevent the lawn and driveway from becoming waterlogged and soggy
  • It helps in keeping the crawl space beneath the home drier, which can then be used for storage 
  • A French drain can increase the value of your property
  • Protects the structure of a retaining wall
  • The material used is eco-friendly

Thus, installing a French drain can save you a lot, and your significant problems can be resolved with a single solution.