If you have grass on your property, chances are you have a spot that gets extra soggy when it rains, and that takes a lot longer to dry out. Even worse, if you have a basement you may have an area that gets damp with rainy weather.
Besides being less than attractive, insufficient or uneven drainage can cause a health hazard with free-standing water, and damage to your home with mold and rot. French drains are an easy way to address the problem of inadequate drainage.
What is a French drain?
French drains are a common feature in landscaping, chosen by many homeowners in Southeastern Pennsylvania for their functionality.
A French drain is a drain that has slots in it to allow water to pass through easily. They can be installed in a few basic steps:
· French drain installation starts with digging a sloped trench leading towards the area you want the water to be deposited.
· Place the slotted pipe into the trench and cover it with washed gravel and filter fabric. This will keep the drain from getting clogged up with dirt.
· Backfill the trench so the drain is covered up and level with the surrounding landscaping.
What are the benefits of installing a French drain?
Installing a French drain is a cost-effective way to manage the collection and flow of water in and around your home. It’s a way of re-routing the water so it won’t pool and cause damage like mold or rot, but instead move away from your home and be deposited someplace else, like a rain barrel or storm drain.
French drains allow you to control water flow with a relatively simple landscaping process. In addition to being functional, French drains can be completely covered up so they are not noticeable in your landscaping, or they can be edged with brick or tiles to incorporate them into the overall design.
Checklist for installing a French drain
French drains are not extremely complicated to install, but there are a few things you definitely want to consider when installing one yourself or hiring a professional. This checklist will help ensure your French drain is properly installed to best protect your property from standing water or damaging leaks.
Determine how deep the trench should be. How deep you dig the trench depends on where you are trying to draw the water away from. If you are trying to draw it away from a low spot on your lawn, you won’t have to dig as deep as if you are trying to draw it away from a basement.
Find the right slope. French drains work with gravity—for the water to be channeled through the drain and effectively routed away from the trouble spot, the degree of the slope needs to be correct. Most landscapers suggest about one inch of decline for every eight inches of length in the drain.
Decide which type of pipe is best for you. French drains can be laid with either hard PVC or a more flexible drain pipe. Each type has its advantages: PVC is more durable, and easier to de-clog if there’s a problem. Flexible drain pipe is less expensive and easier to handle, especially for do-it-yourselfers.
A professional landscaper can help you figure out how and where to install your French drain so you can keep your home and property safe and dry.