French drain systems are the perfect solution for coping with excess rainwater accumulation. They
are engineered to avoid basement leaking and foundation damage using landscaping fabric or PVC and gravel.
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Theres many cases where a homeowner's property has rainwater drainage issues. One common scenario
is where a neighboring property resides at a higher elevation causing excessive rainwater to naturally
drain towards the lower property and settling in lower elevations.
This can easily result in foundation damage, which in turn leads to expensive foundation repair.
Or in other locales, the end result is going to be basement leaking and damage. An elegant solution
is to install French drain systems.
Any excessive rainwater coming off the roof can be handled with gutter downspouts.
How Does it Handle Rainwater Runoff?
The subterranean drain creates a below-ground channel which funnels water runoff from a specific area
to a lower one. This is a classic example of green landscaping. No pumps to run, fuel, and service.
No pouring concrete. And, its extremely affordable. Gravity does all the heavy lifting (or, lowering)!
Determining the Best Location for Your French Drain
Choosing the proper location for your drain is the primary step when engineering how the rain water
runs off. The location
where the water pools is the logical place to starting. The trick is now to find a lower elevation to
shift the water to.
Digging your trench is physically the most difficult part of this DIY project and it has its
own inherent problems to consider. Most utilities are located underground during residential construction
nowadays, indeed, in almost all real estate construction.
They include phone lines, gas lines, and
coax and fiber optic laid by cable television and broadband services.
Once your most direct trench line has been decided on, its very critical to get all these services
in the loop to be positive that no lines will be cut. This will not only minimize opening a major
can of worms, but itll demonstrate that due diligence has been done in case things go awry.
This is the simple part: deciding on the depth and width of your French ditch. At minimum, your
trench should be a minimum of 6 wide and perhaps wider dependant on the maximum volume of runoff
rain. And as for depth? The rule of thumb says it should begin at least as deep as the shallowest area
where it tends to pool.
But the thing to remember is that the elevation where the water will be delivered has to be lower
than the initial pooling area so that the French drain system to work as designed. Ideally, the elevation
should be a 1 drop for each 100 of the trenchs run.
Check your depth using a level staked
string line running from one end to the other.
After the Trench is Finished
Now that your trench is dug, line it with landscaping fabric, allowing a few inches to overlap the
trenchs lip on both sides. Next, pour coarse gravel into the trench. Pea gravel will work, but a
coarser gravel will drain more efficiently.
Fold the landscape fabric over the gravel. The purpose of this is to keep sand and soil from drifting
down into the gravel, hampering water flow.
Cover this with a layer of coarse sand to anchor it all,
then add soil up to the lever where grass sod will lay level with the lawn. Proceed with the sod
installation, and its mission accomplished!
An alternative method is to substitute perforated PVC pipe for the landscape fabric bundle.