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.
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.