Despite the fancy title, a French drain is simply a trench that is filled with gravel. It‘s designed to divert water to a new location. People often use French drains to help move water that pools in their yard away from the foundation of their home. If you have a swampy area, standing water in your backyard, or a leaking basement, a French drain installation may help you solve some of your water problems. Below, the experts at Sitework Developing cover the basics, so you understand how a French drain works and consider if installing one might help you solve standing water problems at your home or business.
What is a French Drain?
A French drain is basically a long drainage field. In old times, French drains were simply sloped trenches filled with gravel. Today, these gravel trenches also include piping to make their draining capabilities even greater. To install a French drain, first a large trench needs to be dug. The length, depth, and slope of the trench depend upon the area that needs to be addressed.
Once the trench is dug, slotted or perforated drainage pipes are placed. Typically, the pipes are made of either plastic or PVC. Special screening or cloths are also often placed on the pipes to help keep soil and rocks from entering the pipes. Finally, the drainage pipes get covered with gravel.
Together, the gravel and drainage pipes help create a lower water table and divert water away from the home or desired area. First, the gravel allows water to seep down into the piping easily, and then the sloped pipes direct the water flow out in the direction you intend. A professional or a savvy homeowner can often incorporate the gravel drain field into existing landscaping to make it an aesthetic and practical addition to the yard.
French Drain vs. a Yard Drain
Yard drains come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Large yard drains are often referred to as catch basins. Yard drains are placed in the ground at a low spot where water naturally collects. Attached to this is a sloped pipe that directs the water to flow where you want it to go. On top of the yard drain is a grate to help filter out leaves, sticks, and other debris.
We typically install yard drains to collect surface water. Trench (or French) drains, on the other hand, typically serve to intercept water or lower the water level in heavily saturated areas where the yard does not have an adequate slope to drain water away.
Another difference between the two is their scope. A yard drain’s scope is smaller because it only allows water to access it via a single entry point. French drains, on the other hand, allow water to access the drainage field all along the length of the pipes. For yards with significant flooding issues, a French drain will be a much more proactive approach to flooding. That said, in areas where rain is heavy, sometimes catch basins are used in conjunction with French drains to help maximize control of water flow.
DIY Project or Call the Professionals?
Although the premise behind a French drain is simple, its execution is a bit more complicated. In addition, whether you’re installing a yard drain or a French drain, many cities require a permit or work documentation, especially when tieing into a main storm system.
Determining a French drain route can be difficult for a beginner, too.
The starting point and exit points need to make sense with existing drainage pipes, underground gas and water pipes, and your landscaping.
Finally, digging the trench takes considerable physical labor.
Thus, most homeowners decide that hiring a professional is the best route. After all, a professional excavation company with lawn grading services will have the experience to pull any necessary permits and plan your French drain route for the best results. They will also have the equipment needed to make the digging part of the project go faster, along with the delivery and spreading of the gravel needed.
French Drain Installation Near Cleveland
If you‘re in the Cleveland, Ohio area and are thinking about installing a French drain, we invite you to call Sitework Developing Inc. at (440) 543–7551, One of our field drain or experts will visit your site to assess your yard‘s water drainage problems to help you develop the best solution. Our locally owned and operated business has been installing French drains and catch basins for homes and businesses in Cleveland and surrounding areas for 25 years.