French Drains & French Gutters
Poor drainage can cause serious problems with your home's foundation
Poor drainage affects more than just the grass around your home. While excess water can kill off your lush lawn and create soggy soil, it can also creep into your basement, weaken your home’s foundation, and ultimately cause expensive damage to your basement and everything in it. Clearly, an inability to route water to a safe drainage spot comes with plenty of problems. French drains are your solution.
These drains were actually named after a farmer, not the country and use gravity and the properties of water to steer drainage to a safe area, like a street or ditch. They run through your yard in trenches that can look as subtle as you’d like, even invisible beneath the floor of your basement. With this drainage system, rerouting damaging drainage, the problems you once had with water-caused property damage and soggy soil disappear. And with multiple options for installation, there’s a process fit for every home.
Three Types of French Drains
There are three different types of french drains: internal, external, and commercial. The variations exist in placement and sizing.
Internal drains are placed within the foundation of your home, beneath the floors of your basement. They run around the perimeter of your basement and collect water before it can begin to cause any damage. Once collected, the water typically runs into a sump pit where a sump pump extracts it.
Internal drains use perforated pipes, a trench, and gravel to accomplish their water-moving job, just like external and commercial drains. Internal drains differ slightly in that they’re always covered, whereas external drains could be left open on top for maximum efficiency. Maintenance and the potential for problems are low with internal french drains, and they’re less invasive to install in preexisting homes.
External drains run along the outside of your home, next to the foundation. External french drains remove and reroute water around your foundation, preventing it from seeping into your basement or damaging your home’s foundation. The water is routed away by gravity, if you’re situated on a steep incline, or routed to a sump pit to be extracted by a sump pump.
External drains use flexible perforated pipes, gravel, and landscaping fabric to add a layer of protection against soil and other elements that could create clogs. This type of french drain can be more invasive to install around a preexisting home, as landscaping and anything else around your home (decks, steps, etc.) must be removed.
Commercial drains are designed to manage drainage from large commercial buildings. Because of the expected volume of water, commercial drains typically use wider pipes to manage the flow. As with other french drain types, once water enters the perforated pipe, it’s rerouted to a safe drainage point. Commercial french drains may also begin directly beneath a gutter to collect drainage before it can reach the soil.
Benefits of French Drain Installation
Prevents Water Damage
One of the biggest benefits of french drain installation is avoiding water damage. Excessive amounts of water can damage your yard, driveway, and as many have experienced, your basement and foundation. French-styled drains mitigate this problem by preventing excess water.
If installed properly by professionals, like our plumbers at Danika, these drains will operate for years without any hiccups. Since the drains use only gravity and some basic laws of physics, they will continue to keep water away from your home unaided and unstopped. To reach this point, however, your drains must be installed properly and with high-quality materials.
Landscape fabric is extremely helpful in reducing the potential for clogs, as it keeps soil and other small particles from interfering with your french drains. The right pipe material also plays a large role. PVC is more durable than some flexible piping materials, and though it’s more expensive, you’ll get more life out of a PVC-piped french drain system.
French drains can be topped with a layer of turf to become completely invisible in your yard, though this does make soil clogs a bit more likely. Keeping just a layer of gravel over the trench is more efficient, and even this option blends in well with residential yards. You can adjust the final look of your french drains depending on your preferences, and if they’re internally installed, you won’t see them at all.
How We Do It
French drains typically require three materials: pipe, gravel, and landscaping fabric. A backhoe or trench digger is used to create the trench for the pipe to lay in. It’s dug with a gradual incline, tilting down an extra inch per eight feet. This allows the best flow of water.
With the trench dug, landscaping fabric goes in and lines the trench.
A small amount of gravel is placed at the bottom.
The pipe goes in next, with its perforated holes pointing down on the gravel. Water is drawn to the easiest path it can take, and it will naturally seep up the holes and into the pipe.
Next, more gravel is added to cover the pipe. Then the landscape fabric is crossed over the gravel, creating a protective wrap around the gravel and pipe. From there, more gravel may be added or a layer of turf.
For internal french drains, the pipe is laid and covered with gravel and flooring materials, as opposed to soil or more gravel.
Why You Should Choose Danika
At Danika Plumbing, we pride ourselves on the expertise of our plumbers and the high reviews our work receives. We never compromise the quality of our work, and we are dedicated to offering services with reasonable prices and honest communication about the work you need to be done.
We also offer 24/7 emergency plumbing services for any plumbing disasters that may strike in your home. Give us a call or fill out a contact form to set up your french drain installation today.