French Drain Installation and Home Foundations
Instructions on Installing a French Drain
around a Home Foundation
By: Mark J. Donovan
Every Home Should have an Installed French Drain
installation is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent water from
entering your home’s basement or crawl space. However, frequently
contractors and homeowners neglect to install French drains when building homes or
additions on to homes. The cost of installing a French drain is minimal, as
it only requires some perforated PVC piping and ¾ inch crushed stone. French
Drains should always be installed around foundations.
French Drain Installation and How They Work
A French drain
takes advantage of gravity and aids in helping ground water seek lower levels
away from your home’s foundation.
A French drain is
basically a network of crushed stone and plastic piping that encircles the home
or home addition and channels water away from the foundation.
After the home’s
footing and foundation walls have been constructed and sealed, several inches of
crushed stone should be poured around the outside of the foundation wall near
the base of the footings. The crushed stone should be poured such that a natural
swale is created towards the lowest expected finished grade around the
foundation and abutting yard. This will help aid in the direction of water away
from the home.
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Installing a French Drain
trench should then be extended out into the yard, from this lowest finished
grade location at the foundation so that water will continue to drain away from
the foundation. The trench should be approximately 1 foot wide and should extend
deep enough to enable water to continue to drain from the foundation. The trench
should extended outward from this point in the foundation to a distance that the
drain reaches the natural ground surface. This will enable the ground water
around the foundation water to be effectively channeled out to the surface some
extended distance away from the home.
Perforated 4 inch
PVC, or similar plastic pipe, should then be placed and connected together on
top of the crushed stone with the holes facing downward. It is important for
the holes to face downward as water tables build from the bottoms up.
The PVC pipes
should be connected such that they funnel water towards the trench and then
connect, if necessary with a T-connector, to a straight section of PVC pipe that
extends the length of the trench.
With the French
installed, the pipe should be covered with an additional 1-2 feet of crushed
stone, less as you work your way out towards the end of the trench.
The foundation can
then be backfilled, and 2-4 inches of topsoil can then be installed on top for
drain installations are also common for channeling water from other locations in
a yard. Typically they are used in applications where water coming off of a hill
would normally drain into a back or side yard. By installing a French drain, the
water can be “short circuited” from entering the back or side yard.
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