French Drain

A French drain is simply a drain without a pipe

A French drain is simply a drain without a pipe. Water is collected in a shallow trench filled with stone, that leads the water to a different area. French drains are easy to construct and can even be used for beautify the landscape. Installing French drains is a simple 4 step process. First, dig a trench in the ground. The only rule to abide by here is to keep a slope of 1:10 (1 inch of drop every 10 feet). This will


Allow gravity to pull the water down the path of the trench. Secondly, line the trench with a ground sheeting (available at most home stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot). This material will allow water to pass through but not silt and settlement particles, which are known to clog the French drain.

Third, fill the trench with a clean, prewashed stone. Pea gravel (20mm) is typically the best material for this. The trench can be filled in its entirety with stone. As another option, fill the trench within a few inches of the ground level, wrap the sheeting around the stone, and backfill with topsoil.

This will allow you to plant seed and appear as if the trench never was dug.Finally, the trench will to end in a soakaway. This is a large cube filled with the same stone that the water will flow into. The idea is that the water will dissipate through this cube of stone and soak freely into the surrounding soil.

French drain
French drain

It is best to end your trench in an area that allows for water to flow freely. Unfortunately, installing French drains will do little to solve your basement’s water problems. They can be used to capture above ground water (similar to the affect of a gutter system along the roof of a home), but will do nothing to solve the water problems below ground.

Before investing the time or money into installing french drains, it is recommended to consult a professional waterproofing contractor to determine which solution will work best for your individual situation.

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