French Drain Installation

French Drain InstallationWhile installing a french drain is not an overly complex task, it can take quite a bit of work, especially if you are looking to add a french drain to an already existing home. Having a french drain installed while your home is being built is always going to be easier and cheaper, but most times this is not an option and a french drain must be installed after the home has already been built.

If you are looking to install a french drain on your own, follow the steps below in order to ensure that you are installing the french drain properly and that it will function the right way.

Exterior French Drain Installation

  1. Decide where your want the water to go – The very first thing you should do is deciding where the water you are rerouting will be sent. You want to keep the water away from your foundation and out of your basement, but it must be directed somewhere else. You should direct it where it will not have a negative impact on yours or your neighbors property. It can be directed to the sewer system, towards the street, or in to a garden.
  2. Ensure you have the proper gradient – Water will always flow towards the lowest point, so a properly installed french drain will flow from the a high point near your homes foundation to the low point where it is being discharged. If the drain ever makes an upward incline, it will cease to function properly. A good rule of thumb is your french drain should slope 6″ for every 50″ of trench that you dig.
  3. Dig the trench – You now need to dig the trench along the outside of your foundation. The trench needs to be a minimum of 12″ wide to be effective and often can be upwards of two feet wide when you wish to displace a large amount of water. The trench should run horizontally along your basement wall while sloping downward as mentioned previously.
  4. Line trench with gravel – The newly created trench should be lined with coarse gravel. This should be at least 2″-3″ worth of gravel along the entire length of the trench.
  5. Line trench with landscaping fabric – Once the gravel is placed down, you should line the trench with landscaping fabric. This will help prevent dirt from clogging the drain itself. Be sure to leave excess fabric on either side in order to fold over top of drain pipe.
  6. Lay down drainage piping – Now it is time to install your drain pipe that will carry the water away. The drainage pipe should be perforated and should be laid on top of the fabric and again for the entire duration of the trench.
  7. Fold over landscaping fabric – The excess portions of landscaping fabric from earlier should now be folded over top of the drainage pipe. This will ensure that the pipe is protected from all side from soil entering and clogging the pipe.
  8. Fill in the trench – The trench is now ready to be filled with coarse gravel, sand and finally top soil. You can then finish it off by replanting grass or seed to give it that look you desire.

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