Water Damage Prevention: When Do You Need A French Drain?

Posted on: 2 March 2016

A French drain can be a good way to prevent water damage in your home. The drain consists of a slightly sloped, gravel-filled trench that has a perforated pipe to divert water away from your home. Surface runoff or water from your roof gets soaked up into the gravel and runs freely through the pipe at the bottom of the drain to a low-lying area or drain ditch located away from the foundation. Read on to learn when a French drain may be needed so as to lessen water damage concerns to your foundation and belongings.

A soggy yard

If water floods your yard every time it rains, installing a shallow French drain called a 'curtain drain' could be a good cure for the problem. The shallow drain should run horizontally across your home to intercept water uphill of your home and divert it around the soggy yard.

A curtain drain should have a solid pipe other than a perforated one so as to prevent tree and shrub roots from growing into the drain and clogging it. Such a drain can help dry out your yard, freeing up space for outdoor activities and preventing water damage to your outdoor furniture.

Wet basement 

If water is seeping through your basement walls, you need to act quickly to stop the problem so as to maintain the integrity of your foundation and prevent mold infestation issues. A deep French drain around the perimeter of the basement is often the surest way to prevent water from getting into your basement.

A water damage contractor can come in and install a trench around the footing drain to your home to intercept any water getting into the basement. The drain is often a lot cheaper to install during the construction of the home, as a channel can easily be dug around the perimeter of your basement floor without having to rip off decks, walkways, and the basement walls to access the foundation footing.

The water intersected from around the foundation footing usually flows to a collection tank installed below the basement where is pumped to a storm drain or drain ditch.

Installing a retaining wall

If you want to construct a retaining wall uphill of your home to capture eroded soil, you may need to install a French drain to capture water flowing downhill that would otherwise undermine the structural strength of the wall. The drain should be installed behind the wall on the same gravel base that supports the wall.