Despite its name, a French drain didn’t come from France. It’s a drainage system created by an American named Henry Flagg French. It’s mostly used for removing water from fields, but today, it’s much more common to use french drains to avert water from inside homes or yards.
In short, a French drain is used to avert water from areas where it’s not wanted to prevent problems such as water damage, structural damage, or mold growth.
How A French Drain Works
A French drain is a trench usually placed in your yard or basement to move water away or prevent it from entering your home. The entry point is generally placed at a higher point than the rest of your piping system.
The system works by moving down the water into an exit point far from your home and simply works based on gravity. It leads the water downhill and prevents any water from saturating the ground or area. Due to this, the exit point of a French drain needs to be low lying and far away from your home.
The most common places for the exit point to be installed are drainage ditches, streets, dry wells, storm drains, or low lying spots.
What A French Drain Can Do For You
French drains can help you solve a barrage of problems in your home. So, when can you tell if you need a French drain or not? Here are a few signs that a French drain might be the solution you need:
- The presence of water in your home or basement
- Water seeping into your crawl space
- A yard or driveway filled with standing water
- Your home has a retaining wall
The points above have one thing in common— pooling water in all the wrong places.
Standing water in your yard or home can cause a lot of problems. The most common issues are mold growth and water damage. These two problems can cost a lot of money to repair if left unchecked. In some cases, furniture or walls affected by water damage can never go back to their original state.
So, if you’re looking for a long-term solution to prevent water damage or mold growth that’s also cost-effective, then a French drain might be your answer.
Benefits And Drawbacks of French Drains
Although French drains are excellent for preventing standing water and possibly a fix to your water pooling problems, you should always consider the benefits and drawbacks of this drainage system.
French drains carry a lot of advantages. First of all, they’re efficient in piping water away from your home. Second, installing a French drain won’t take you a lot of time. It usually takes a weekend or less. Third of all, they’re affordable. Installing a French drain can cost $500 or less if you install it yourself. Not to mention, you’ll be able to save your lawn or basement and save extra cash.
Despite their benefits, French drains also have their limitations. There’s a potential possibility of clogging if mud, stones, or other debris get into the drain. Fixing this can be costly and troublesome because it would require you to dig up the whole structure to flush out the debris.
The second limitation is that French drains are quite challenging to install. If you’re not an expert in this area, installing a French drain can be a difficult task. Also, if your yard is covered in tree roots and your pipes are buried, you might need a professional to help you.
A French drain can be a simple solution to your water buildup troubles. It’ll help you eliminate unwanted water and protect your home in the long run from structural damage. It’ll also keep your home tidy and neat.
However, you should still consider both the benefits and drawbacks of installing a French drain. If you decide to install it, keep in mind that you should still observe and maintain the drain to prevent it from getting clogged. Simply spray water from your hose into the grate to get rid of debris stuck in the drain.
Diana R. is the business community manager at Basement Guides which is a perfect place for all basement-related problems and projects. She helps spread the word about useful and updated guides for anyone interested in basements and restoration.