A French drain is a trench filled with a perforated pipe and gravel that allows water to drain naturally from your yard. Depending on the size of your yard and the scale of your drainage issue, you can DIY by the purchase of pipes and equipment. If you are dealing with a permanently damp area in your lawn or end up with water in your basement after heavy rain. there is an easy solution, a French drain. If you allow water to collect in your basement not only is it an eyesore, but it can also cause the wood to mold and rot. Check out the following tips on how French drains work, how to install them and their cost, and more.
How Do French Drains Work?
French and trench terms rhyme, they both involve trenches, and French drains aren’t really French. The defining difference is very simple, however: Trench drains are surface structures while French drains are subsurface ones. French drains are subsurface solutions consisting of a trench filled with gravel and a slotted or perforated pipe. A layer of protective, permeable fabric is placed along the bottom and sides of the trench after it has been dug to prevent soil and root intrusion and on top before the topsoil is replaced. Just like a trench drain, French drains siphon water downhill from a site, only this time that includes groundwater as well as surface water. Water will always seek out the lowest point along the most straightforward path and readily move in lost soil into empty pockets. That is where a french drain comes in. It provides this accessible path and creates a sunken channel, encouraging water to drain out of the soil surrounding and flow along a smooth course. You must slop the trench bottom an inch for every eight feet in the direction you are looking to have the water flow. You can divert the water to a drainage ditch, a low-lying spot on your property, the street, or a dry well.
How to Tell if a French Drain is Working
The easiest way to tell if your French drain is operating properly is to look at your lawn or basement. If there’s water, chances are there could be a problem and your drain isn’t working correctly. This issue could be due to clogging, It’s important to clean the French drain regularly to ensure the holes on the pipe don’t get blocked by dirt. If the holes get blocked, they will prevent water from flowing into and out of the drain pipe. The blockage will make water back up instead of draining from the yard. If you cannot find the problem call a professional to inspect it, they can let you know if there’s any buildup that could turn into a clog.
Pros and Cons of a French Drains
Installing a French drain can create better drainage in your yard by keeping water away from your house and foundation. It can also help to prevent standing water, drain puddles that damage your grass and plants, and stop leaks from infiltrating your basement or washroom. These simple systems are often effective and can be a long-lasting solution. a French drain is affordable when you compare it with other basement waterproofing techniques. You can change what would otherwise be a damp lawn into a garden or play area. And the installation is not complicated. However, this drainage system is not without its problems. Depending on the layout of your yard, installing a French drain may require you to dig up your landscaping, and it might even require the removal of parts of your sidewalk, driveway, backyard deck, patio, etc. Naturally, this can get expensive. And if you live in a cold climate, you will likely need to bury the drain deep into the ground, which can add to the cost. Even an above-ground Friceh pipe can become clogged adn more frequently than ones buried underground. When the pipe clogs, you could unexpectedly wind up with a flooded basement.
What Does a French Drain Cost?
French drains cost $30 to $100 per linear foot on average but you may pay up to $100 per linear foot for complex installs. DIY or simple installations might run as little as $10 per linear foot. Ranges depend on where you put them. For example, a surface drain in easy to access areas, like a yard, costs far less than excavating to the base of a foundation and adding a sump pump. You usually install a sump pump in the basement for an interior French drain to prevent or fix flooding. It is labor-intensive and usually requires a contractor. It will cost about $50 to $60 per linear foot. For instance, a 20′ by 30′ basement would cost about $5,000 or $6,000.
What You Will Need to Install a DYI French Drain
With a French drain system, you can redirect runoff water and make that yard space usable again.
- Corrugated pipe with hole or perforations
- Landscape Fabric
- Tape Measure
- Utility Knife
- Bow Rake
- Mason’s Line
- Line Level
Steps to install a French Drain
- Location, where do you want the water to flow
- Approval, Check with the building authority of your city
- The Slope, go with at a 1% slope, use stales and mason line every 4 feet to see the way the slope changes.
- Dig a trench, Dig a six-inch-wide trench. Remove the sod and use the Trencher creating a sloped bottom and vertical sides. The trench can be as deep as you want it.
- Use Landscape fabric to line the trench
- Fill the trench, Use a coarse drainage grave like crushed granite to fill the trench, so it is flush with the surrounding sod or ground.
French Drain Maintenance
Despite the design’s best efforts, French drains get clogged by dirt, debris, and silt. They do need to be cleaned out regularly – about once per year – to ensure that they continue to direct water away from the building’s foundation. The best way to clean a French drain is mechanical, using an electric snake.
Leave It to A Professional
We broke it all down for you from start to finish so you are probably thinking “I got this.” But if you begin researching and feel overwhelmed, just know we got this and we would love to help you with your drain.
Contact us (513) 550-7782 for more information -or- to setup an free consultation!
About D2 Landscaping & Outdoor
D2 Landscaping is one of the fastest-growing landscaping company in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. We are a local and family-owned landscaping company offering a variety of landscape services, from new installations and complete renovations, to simple improvements. Whether you want to add a few trees and shrubs to compliment your existing landscape, or a complete makeover with outdoor living areas, our team can transform your outdoor dreams into reality. We pride ourselves in offering timely and professional services with highly trained personnel. We use superior advanced products along with precise installation techniques to guarantee your perfect vision. Our high level of standards continue to produce the best quality product resulting in glowing client testimonials, referrals, and customer loyalty.
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