Not Lining The Trench With Drainage Fabric
Another big issue contributing to early French drain failure is not lining the trench with a non-woven geotextile drainage fabric. The drainage fabric acts as a soil separator and prevents dirt and debris from mingling with your rock fill while allowing the water to freely flow. By omitting this drainage fabric there is nothing stopping the subgrade earth from mixing in with your drain rock and this contamination will lead to reduced capacity and ultimately clogging/failure over time. If you want to ensure your system continually performs for decades to come then be sure to line your trench with professional-grade non-woven geotextile drainage fabric using the “Burrito Wrap” install method.
- Industry standard for French drains are 4 to 6 oz non-woven drainage fabric.
- High quality drainage fabric can last for decades without issue
- Avoid using socked wrapped perforated pipe alone without drainage fabric as it will easily clog with dirt/soil.
Too Little Gravel Beneath
Gravel beneath your perforated pipe is as important to the process as the pipe itself. Because without adequate gravel, water does not drain. Too much dirt and not enough gravel stops up the holes and prevents water from removing itself from the situation. Always ensure that you are using the right amount of gravel for your French drain so that it works as intended.
Using Our Tool As A French Drain Cost Calculator
How much your French drain costs depends on the size and length of your trench and the choice of materials you are going to use. With our tool, you can also find how much your French drain costs by entering either the price per weight or price per volume of gravel, the price per piece of pipe, and the price per unit area of filter fabric in the cost section of our French drain calculator.
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Simple Steps To Install A Perforated Drain Pipe
Are you tired of having a damp spot in the middle of your yard that does not want to dry out? Have you had problems with the accumulation of water in your basement? If your answer is yes, you have come to the right place.
Many people deal with standing water or excessive groundwater near the foundation of their house or weekend house. As a result, they either have puddles or large areas of mud and standing water.
The best solution is a French drain, also known as a curtain drain. Even though the word French might imply something fancy, in this case, it is the opposite. There is nothing fancy about the French drain!
So, lets check out what a French drain is, how it works, and, ultimately, how to install it!
Using The Wrong Type Of Drain Rock
Proper drainage rock is crucial for adequate permeability and drainage. Using a clean natural round stone for your drain fill material enables good flow through the aggregate and won’t clog the system. When available a great choice of stone is 1-1/2″ clean round rock.
- Use Natural 1-1/2″ round rock for best drainage. Washed rock is ideal.
- Avoid small pea gravel as the spaces in between stone is smaller minimizing flow rates.
- Avoid Crushed Rock that compacts and has “fines” that will clog pipe inlets.
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Selecting The Wrong Type Of Landscape Fabric
Select the correct type landscape fabric that will properly drain sub-surface water is key to installing a functional and long lasting French Drain. The two primary types of geotextile landscape fabric used are non-woven fabric, a permeable felt like material, and woven fabric. Both fabrics have their advantages depending on the application. For water drainage you will need a something that will let water easily pass through and also keep dirt and debris from entering in. Non-woven drainage fabric is specifically engineered for this purpose. Nonwoven Drainage Fabric is designed to allow water to pass through while filtering dirt and debris from entering into your system and clogging up drain lines. This type of fabric is also sometimes called landscape drainage or filter fabric for this reason.
Woven landscape fabrics typically have a greater pull strength, but in general do not provide a high flow rate, making for poor drainage. Woven fabrics are commonly found as ground cover for weeds, and also under gravel driveway and paved road construction where strength is needed.
Typical Ways To Screw Up A French Drain Installation
French drains are a wonderful solution to a wet basement problem. Based on an old invention designed to move water via gravity, French drains have been in use for nearly 200 years. So while they are a great solution to wet basement problems, they can installed wrong, and fail to work as designed.
But it doesnt have to be that way. Because when a French drain is installed correctly, it can save your basement from drainage problems, and pretty much fix any wet basement problem that you have.
With that, here are some typical ways to screw up a French drain installation.
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What Is The Difference Between A French Drain And Other Drains
The main difference between French drains and other drainage systems is the inclusion of the perforated pipe in the French drain. This system allows for water to enter the drainage ditch at any point and be directed downhill.
- A perforated pipe is the main feature of a French drain.
- Solid pipe drainage systems must have water enter at one end .
- Drainage ditches without a pipe do not direct water downhill as well as French drains.
Instead of focusing on draining water away from a single area, such as it is done with a solid pipe system, French drains allow for entire flooded areas to be drained, and for the water to be safely directed away. A pipeless trench drain will not conduct water downhill as quickly or efficiently.
Up Down Left Right Shake It All About Struggling To Find Out Which Way Up To Install Your Perforated Drainage Pipe This Article Has All The Answers
Both land drain and twinwall are available with or without perforations, and these perforations are what allows the water to enter the pipe and drain the ground surrounding the pipe. If you choose a perforated pipe for your project you are likely looking to drain surface water from soil or grassy area.
Depending on what size pipe you go for, the number of perforations and where they are positioned on the pipe may vary.
If you have 60mm land drainage pipe there will be 2 perforations per dwell . The bigger the diameter you go the more perforations you will get so the orientation of the holes becomes less of a problem. By the time you reach 160mm land drainage you will have 6 holes per dwell which should be evenly distributed around the pipe. This is often referred to as a slotted drain.
If you’re installing a half-perforated pipe, such as half perforated twinwall, this is where the problem comes into question whether the perforations are best facing upwards or downwards?
Contrary to popular opinion, the most effective method is to have the holes facing down.
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Gravel Only Drain Without A Drain
French Drain without drain pipe
A common mistake made by homeowners intending on installing drainage is leaving out the drain pipe. By missing this important step the drain cannot handle heavy water flow, which reduces its effectiveness at mitigating idle water. The purpose of a drain is to direct pooling surface and subsurface water where you need it to go. Having a drain pipe, most commonly a 4″ or 6″ perforated pipe surrounded by round drain rock provides the capacity to move this water away from structures and prevent pooling. BOTTOM LINE: Skipping out on drainage fabric and pipe will inevitably cost you more when you need to replace the system in the near future.
Cover Gravel And Add Soil
Your last step is to cover the gravel with the landscaping fabric and add soil and sod on top of the material.
Is there another way to install a pipe?
You can install the pipe without using the stakes and strings. However, using the strings and stakes will allow you to achieve that slope and have better control of the process and measuring.
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Where Does Perimeter Drain Go
The perimeter drain itself is simply a perforated pipe with a mesh sock covering it thats installed underground, circling the perimeter of your home. Those tiny holes allow water to enter the pipe, where it can then be drained away from your homes foundation.
How do you bury drain tile?
If the drain tiles are implemented primarily to protect the foundation from subsurface water, dig the trench up to 6 feet deep. If the primary concern is surface water, a trench only 2 feet deep will suffice. Make sure that the trench extends to a suitable outlet like a ditch, drain field or dry well.
How deep should drainage pipes be buried?
In order to carry the flow and to avoid blockages, the drain or sewer that you intend to connect to generally needs to be at least 0.8m lower than the ground floor level. If it is less than this, you should seek advice from a builder, architect or drainage engineer.
Measure And Compact The Soil
Measure the distance between the strings and the bottom of the trench start at the beginning of the trench and add or remove gravel depending on the distance as you go from stake to stake.
There should be a consistent distance between the stakes and the bottom of the trench. Then compact the soil with a tamper, but keep the distance between the stakes and the bottom of the trench the same.
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Foundation Drain Perforated Pipe Holes Up Versus Holes Down
The foundation drain or “footing drain” I show in various illustrations above is a modification of the original page top drawing to illustrate water inside the drain pipe and the placement of the pipe with perforations “up”.
There is some argument among builders about whether or not the footing drain should go “holes-up” or “holes down”.
The “Up” position is thought to reduce the rate of soil clogging but has the disadvantage that water outside the foundation has to rise to the height of the holes to get into the drain. This isn’t a terrible problem for the common case that water is entering the footing drain by percolating down through soil from above.
Still in my OPINION “holes down” and well bedded in gravel under as well as around and above the footing drain pipe and with gravel covered by a geotextile is the optimum solution.
That means water finds its way into the footing drain system as soon as it reaches the level of the bottom of the footing drain pipe – sooner than if it has to rise several inches higher to get into the drain line.
That reduces water pressure under and around the foundation footing and reduces chances of water entry into the structure.
Incidentally though I show blue in the bottom of the footing drain in the sketches above, you should not normally see standing water in a footing drain. If you do the drain is
Not Calling Before You Dig
By far the biggest mistake made in home trenching/digging projects like drainage is forgetting to call and find out what utilities might be underground. It seems obvious, but its very easy to assume in a back or side yard that you’re fine to dig however, trenching through a power, or gas line can be dangerous and expensive to repair. The best practice before any digging project where you’re not 100% sure that there are no buried utilities is to call 811. This service will enable all the local utilities in your area to come out and physically mark with paint any utilities on or near your property. Additionally there may be other regional restrictions about water runoff or home owner association covenants that may direct where and how you can install drainage on your property.
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Water Underneath The House
Many homeowners, particularly those who live in rainy climates, deal with water pooling underneath their home. During rainy seasons, water tends to pool around homes and surrounding areas. Sunshine is unable to dry out these areas and this can lead to mold and mildew. Homeowners dealing with this issue should consider installing perforated pipes underneath their home to drain the water and prevent mold and mildew.
Interior Trench & Drain
An interior trench and drain system is sometimes added inside a basement or crawl space that has a flooding problem. If you imagine the drain pipe shown above located on the interior of a foundation wall then it’s an internal perimeter drain.
Details about interior perimeter drain systems are
Watch out: the sketch above shows what can be a common and serious mistake: connecting the roof drainage system or downspouts or leaders into the footing drain system.
The result is likely to overload the footing drain or even if it doesn’t do so right away, eventually the footing drain clogs and the roof drainage ends up in the building basement or crawl space.
If you have this bad arrangement at your property you should consider a temporary above-ground extension to the downspout – don’t leave it emptying into the foundation drain system.
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How Does A French Drain Work
The French drain works by channeling stormwater into a gravel-lined drainage ditch. From there, the water rises until it enters the drain pipe through the holes along the lower sides of the pipe. Once inside the pipe, the water flows downhill and empties into a pond, bed of gravel, or dry well built in the ground.
- Rainwater flows into the drainage trench and filters down through the gravel.
- The water rises until it flows into the holes in the pipe.
- The pipe conducts the flow of water downhill to the drains exit.
The gravel in the French drain is essential for allowing groundwater to flow in among the rocks and enter the drain pipe. A perforated pipe laid directly on the soil will become clogged with soil and will not work. Also, its important that with proper french drain installation, the perforations in the pipe are facing downward, not up. The water cannot drain until it reaches the level of the perforations and enters the pipe.
Reader Field Report: French Drain System Failures & Installation Errors: Diagnosis & Repair
Perhaps these two shots can help illustrate key how not to considerations for French drains.
The original house was built directly on ledge with a stone-and-cobblestone foundation. The upper ledge is gneiss which comes with a lot of natural layering and seepage, while the lower part sits on granite which is virtually impervious.
The grade is not consistent, so while the ledge slopes toward the house all the way down, the ledge dips lower in several places which naturally collect water at the foundation.
Some time in the 1990s the previous owners must have spent a bundle of money putting in new gutter drainage and a French drain. They built a 3-5 foot-wide concrete berm/swale shaped onto the ledge and then ran 10 sections of perforated PVC 2 feet down the slope of the mini-swale and covered everything with 20 yards or so of fine gravel.
The problems with this foundation drain system are:
The upper 20 of perforated PVC sits as much as a foot above the lower counters of the swale/ledge, so that large amounts of water must pool before any of it can be carried away by the pipe.
The ledge is porous to begin with and the seam with the concrete is even less of a barrier, so the result of the pooled water is a 12 month, 24/7 wet basement, regardless of climate or season.
Furthermore, the lower 30+ feet of drainpipe – below the downspout – is perforated as well, so that water gets released next to the house all the way downhill.
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How Do You Tell If Your Drain Tile Is Clogged
Sometimes the signs of a clogged drain tile can be noticeable. You may see that water is pooling against your home, suggesting that your tiles are failing. On the interior, water may not be properly channeled, leaving you with a wet basement. If you have a sump pump, check the pit after heavy rainfall.
Is it better to have a hole up or down in a drain pipe?
Either way, though, when silt and debris fill the pipe to the level of the perforationsessentially half the diameter of the pipeit can no longer take on water and no longer is effective for drainage. So there are good arguments for both methods. Having the holes facing up is just the most effective plan for the systems that Ive designed.
What Is A French Drain
A French drain is created by combining 3 simple things: a drainage trench, gravel, and a perforated drain pipe. The creation of this very effective drainage system is simple. Below are the components of a French drain.
- A drainage trench at least 9 inches wide and 18 inches deep, slanting downhill at a slope of at least 1 inch every 10 feet.
- The bottom of the drainage trench is filled with a 3-inch deep layer of gravel.
- A perforated pipe is laid in the trench, with the holes angled downward.
- Gravel is used to fill the rest of the trench, around and above the drain pipe.
This is a french drain in its simplest form. It seems almost too simple to work, but it does. But at first glance, it seems like something youd find on a farm hundreds of years ago. Funny story
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