What is a French Drain? And, do I Need One?

water proofing

One sinking feeling that many homeowners face is when they walk into their basement during heavy rainfall and see that water is seeping into the cracks of their home’s foundation. Instead of worrying that the water will affect the structural integrity of your basement each time it rains, you can take preventive measures on the outside of your home with a variety of water-drainage solutions. A French drain is among the most common of drainage solutions for the reason that it is economical and consistently effective when installed correctly.

french drain with rock

Were French drains invented in France? No. The name honors the inventor, Henry Flagg French, a lawyer and farmer, who authored the book, “Farm Drainage” in 1859; in the book, he recommended and designed a drainage system called a “cellar drain”, which became known as the French Drain.

In today’s home settings to prevent or solve the problem of ground water leaking into basement or damaging the foundation, French drains are installed around the perimeter of the foundation, or from a targeted flooding location, and are highly effective for moving water quickly to a drain. In simple terms, a French drain is a perforated pipe that is encased in a layer of rock or gravel that is buried underneath the ground. The goal of this drain is to move water away from the house to a low-lying area. The natural slope of the land is used to prevent flooding at or near the foundation of a home.

Do You Need a French Drain?

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Each French drain system is designed according to the problems being experienced at the property, and then landscaped to taste. Here are some examples of water problems that French drains are designed to solve:

  • Your Driveway is Washed Out or Crumbling

A French drain can intercept water and direct it away from your driveway so it doesn’t become and eroded and crumbling eye sore.

  • Building a Retaining Wall

If the retaining wall is on a slope, you can install a French drain to ensure that water doesn’t destroy your wall, and to prevent the wall from trapping water against your house.

  • Water is Pooling in Your Yard

Pooling water in the yard may or may not be a problem. It it’s a lot of water and threatens to drain toward your house, or causes lawn damage that you want to avoid, you can install a French drain from the source of the pooling to an acceptable drain location.

  • There Is Water in Your Crawl Space or Foundation Water Damage

Water in your crawl space can damage your home and cause health problems from mold and mildew. Installing a French drain outside of your home or even within your home around the perimeter of your basement or crawl space can solve the problem. In the case of installing an indoor French drain, a sump pump is often needed to pump the drained water outside, where it then needs to be drained away from the home.

Need more information about water drainage solutions? Contact Us at Kentuckiana Home Services for a free estimate, or just call us with any questions. We enjoy talking home improvement and protection.