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How does a French drain work?

While gutters usher water from your roofline away from your home’s foundation and basement, sometimes a French drain is needed to do the same work at or below the ground level. While French drains are an incredibly popular tool for keeping homes safe from water damage, they’re frequently misunderstood. In fact, French drains are an amazingly simple concept.The French drain system - Nashville TN - The Gutterman of TN-

How French drains work

French drains are almost like an underground gutter system. A sloped trench system is dug in a portion of your yard, or even in your basement, to intercept and channel water. The French drain terminates a safe distance away from your from your home or landscaping. It also allows water to flow into a well, a more involved drainage system or a portion of your yard. The French drain is capable of handling that extra volume of water.

When French drains are used

Because French drains are such a simple, effective way to channel excess stormwater, they have a multitude of uses. French drains are used:

  • To alleviate standing water in a soggy portion of a yard. French drains can help keep water out of a poorly graded portion of a yard or to help keep landscaping features or driveways from washing away.
  • To divert water around a retaining wall. Without a French drain placed behind it, a retaining wall can be displaced by a buildup of stormwater at its base.
  • To keep water out of basements. If your basement floods regularly, a French drain is often the solution. To keep water out of basements, French drains are dug either around the exterior base of the basement at the level of the finished floor or even within the basement floor itself. When a French drain is dug into the floor, it usually drains into a sump pump to evacuate water from the basement.
  • To channel water away from gutter downspouts. Your gutter downspouts need to deposit water a safe distance from your home’s foundation. Sometimes this is achieved with downspout extensions, but they can be unsightly. A French drain can allow stormwater from the gutters to be directed away from a home’s foundation in either a more attractive or even an invisible way.

How French drains are constructed

To install a French drain, first, the trench is dug. For outdoor surface applications, the trench is usually 18 inches to 2 feet. The trench is sloped 1 inch to every 8 feet of a drain. The trench is then filled with a few inches of gravel. A perforated pipe is placed within, and the pipe is wrapped in landscape fabric to help keep dirt and debris out. The pipe is then entirely covered with gravel, or covered with gravel and then topsoil to completely hide the drain.

We can help!

The Gutterman of TN, French drains might not be what we do, but we understand their importance. We also know how they can tie into your home’s overall drainage solution. If you’re getting pooling in or around your home, call The Gutterman of TN for a consultation! We can help evaluate your gutters and determine whether a new gutter system is right for you. We can also help you figure out how you might incorporate a French drain into your overall gutter system.

Common Gutter Problems

Gutters are a simple home technology. They simply collect the water from your roofline and usher that water to downspouts that deposit that water safely away from your home’s foundation. However, there are some problems that can inhibit the function of your gutter and endanger your home. This can cause rotting or mold on your roofline, destroying your landscaping, flood your basement and even erode your foundation. To keep your gutters working properly to protect your home from water, you should be on the lookout for some common gutter problems.Problems with your gutter - Nashville TN - Gutterman of TN

Clogged gutters

The most common gutter problem is also the most simple: Clogged gutters. Gutters have to be cleared from debris regularly. This should happen twice per year to keep water flowing and prevent blockages, wintertime ice dams, overflows, and damage. Have your gutters cleaned at least every spring and fall, or have your gutters fitted with gutter guards that keep debris out of your gutters?

Cracked or damaged gutters

Gutters can become damaged over time, whether from standing water, ice, wind, impact or age. Aging gutters can develop cracks or holes, especially at the seams, that can cause the gutters to leak. Your gutters should be checked several times a year for signs of damage.

Failing supports

Another very common gutter problem is failing supports. Your gutters attach to your home with metal fasteners that can break or warp. When that happens, gutters sag away from your roofline and no longer catch water or channel water safely around your roofline and away from your home. Again, check your gutters regularly to make sure they remain securely against your roofline.

Improper pitch

Often, gutters haven’t been installed properly, and improperly installed gutters won’t funnel water safely from your home. Gutters should have a pitch to keep water flowing. For every 10 feet, gutters should slope down a ¼ inch so that water flows through the gutters and toward downspouts.

Missing downspouts, splash blocks or drains

Whether from improper construction or wear, sometimes gutter components are just plain missing. This means that water flows uncontrolled off of your roof, which can cause major water damage in an around your home. Make sure your gutters all flow into a downspout. Also, make sure that all downspouts end in an extension, splash block or drain that safely deposits water away from the foundation of your home.

Are your gutters suffering from one or more of these common gutter problems? Don’t endanger your home’s roof, structure or foundation by ignoring these gutter problems! If you want clog-free gutters without having to clean gutters constantly, if you notice sagging or damaged gutters, or if your gutters aren’t channeling water because they’ve been improperly pitched or are missing components, call The Gutterman of TN! The Gutterman of TN can fix your gutter problems, install new gutters when needed or install gutter guards to keep your gutters clog free year after year.