Do You Need a French Drain?

Do You Need a French Drain?

The main concept of the French Drain is to move water from point A to point B. Did you know that the name doesn’t come from the country? It is from the judge and farmer in Concord, Massachusetts Henry French who promoted the idea in an 1859 book about farm drainage. French made his drains with clay tiles, but we today usually use 4-inch-diameter plastic pipes. If you live on a slope and have a persistently wet basement or soggy lawn, a French drain could be the solution.

French drains work by providing an easy channel for water to flow. Surface and subsurface water runs through the spaces between the round gravel and into the perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench. Water then travels freely through the pipe, which empties a safe distance from the house. The trench bottom should be sloped about 1 inch for every 8 feet in the direction you want water to flow. Depending on the situation, the water can be diverted to a low-lying area of the property, a dry well, a drainage ditch, or the street.

Is your lawn always soggy? Or maybe you don’t want your driveway to wash out because of water rushing across it? The solution to your problems would be another type of French drain- so called curtain drain. It is a French drain which extends horizontally across your property, uphill of the area you want to dry out, and skirts water to either side.

This type of drain usually is not very deep. A common size is 2 feet deep and 1.5 feet across and it is enough to divert water around a house. If the drain passes through an area with trees or shrubs, consider switching to solid pipe there, to reduce the risk of roots growing into the piping and clogging it.

If you have any questions give us a call at 215-716-3727.

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