Basement Waterproofing, French Drain
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How to Screw Up French Drain Installations
Typical Ways to Screw Up a French Drain Installation
French drains are a wonderful solution to a wet basement problem. Based on an old invention designed to move water via gravity, French drains have been in use for nearly 200 years. So while they are a great solution to wet basement problems, they can (and often are) installed wrong, and fail to work as designed.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because when a French drain is installed correctly, it can save your basement from drainage problems, and pretty much fix any wet basement problem that you have.
With that, here are some typical ways to screw up a French drain installation.
Wrong Way Facing Holes
When installing your perforated piping, you face the holes upward instead of down, which is completely opposite to the point of a French drain. This error stops entry water from routing out of your home, and allows it to stagnate and sit idle. Always check that the holes or slots are pointed towards the ground so optimal drainage can take place.
Too Little Gravel Beneath
Gravel beneath your perforated pipe is as important to the process as the pipe itself. Because without adequate gravel, water does not drain. Too much dirt and not enough gravel stops up the holes and prevents water from removing itself from the situation. Always ensure that you are using the right amount of gravel for your French drain so that it works as intended.
Bad Pipe Slope
This part isn’t tricky, but for how a French drain functions, it’s perhaps the most important. If you fail at having enough slope (or fall) on the drain pipe routing water away from your home, you’re going to have a bad time. The pipe absolutely needs to drain downhill, far away from your home’s foundation. The last thing you want is to go through all that work just to find out that the water exiting your basement is just seeping back in a few hours later.
Installing a French drain is a great solution to a basement water problem. But when done incorrectly, it can end up costing you more than just simply paying a professional from the start.
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