What is a French Drain and Why Do I Need One?

Oct 5, 2021

A French drain is simply a trench designed in a sloped manner that is filled with round gravel and a pipe that diverts the flow of water away from your house, helping to keep your basement dry. While they can also be decorative, French drains serve a very important purpose: pulling water to an area where it can be safely deposited to preserve the integrity of your home.

Keeping basements fashionably dry

One of the key uses of a French drain is to keep your basement nice and dry, but it can also be decorative. Your foundation will thank you for keeping it from eroding, and using small round gravel and edging, you can create an interesting focal point in your yard with the track of the French drain.

What about a sloped yard?

A French drain consists of perforated pipes that are buried with slight slopes to easily channel the flow of water, in this case, away from the house’s foundation. If your yard is sloped and still won’t “perk” or your soil isn’t porous enough to pull the water away from your home, a French channel may be exactly what you need to keep your house from shifting on its foundation.  Since the drain pulls both surface and subsurface water, it can be a great tool for keeping things nice and dry even when you can’t see there’s a problem.

Will it damage my home value?

Adding a French drain may actually increase your home’s value because you’re making an improvement that pays off handsomely in the long-term. Water is insidious, you may not see the damage it is causing until many years in the future – like when you’re getting ready to sell your home. Instead of being stuck with a huge home improvement bill in the future, you would be much better served to make a small investment in the future stability of your foundation now.

When else do I need one?

There are several different water-related problems that might justify adding a French drain: water getting into your basement, when you’re installing a retaining wall on a hillside, or when you’re seeing large puddles in your yard after a heavy rain. Planning ahead, adding a French drain as you’re building or buying a new home, is a good way to save yourself extensive basement repairs in the future. Even if you already have drying technology such as a sump pump, a French drain can add a layer of support.

Contact The Crack Doctor for more information about French drains and whether installing one is a right fit for your home and foundation.

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