There are various types of foundation drainage systems. To know which one to install, it’s best to have your property evaluated by a foundation expert. There are two common types of foundation drainage systems that experts recommend: surface drains and French drains.
Each of these drains has their pros and cons depending on where you want to install them. For instance, French drains should be installed in areas where you have noticed leakage occurring or water pooling. Generally, French drains tend to work optimally in areas that have excess subsurface moisture.
A surface drain, on the other hand, should be installed where there’s pooling or ponding of water around your foundation. This especially occurs when the yard is negatively sloped.
Before installing one, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Therefore, it’s best to contact your local foundation repair contractor before deciding which drainage system is best for your foundation.
When is a French Drain The Best Choice?
If you live anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a French drain is the best choice. A French drain is most effective if moisture around your foundation is the main problem.
When choosing this type of drainage system, ensure that it’s designed to collect water that’s pooling below the surface, not above it. If you want to collect water above the surface, choose a surface drain instead.
Digging a trench around your foundation is required when installing a French drain. The trench should be dug to the depth of the perimeter beam and sloped about 2 percent. The french is lined with a porous fabric to minimize soil intrusion.
A perforated pipe is then placed on the trench’s interior to help water drain out. Crushed pebble or small rocks is then used to cover the perforated pipe, and brought to within an inch or two of the surface.
A French drain works optimally if your foundation isn’t threatened by serious flooding and isn’t exposed to more than average amounts of rainfall.
When to Choose a Surface Drainage System As Opposed to a French Drain
When water is collecting right up against your concrete slab, it’s wise to install a surface drainage system.
Water ponding or pooling occurs when your yard is negatively sloped. A negative slope moves water toward the house. An expert should assess the slope and grade of the property, noting the specific location of pooling water or negative slope.
Sloping of more than 1”-1-1/2” on a 10’ run can cause an enormous amount of water to soak into the walls of your home. You will usually notice your home having this problem if the soil around your foundation always seems damp.
If this issue isn’t resolved by a contractor, foundation upheaval and, or sinking can become a serious issue.
Choosing One Foundation Drainage System vs The Other
Water damage to your house can be a costly problem. However, picking the right home drainage system can prevent water damage. An expert can best assess the situation and help you make the right decision.
Sometimes a combinate French and surface drain are required. The surface drain should never be connected to the French drain.
Essentially, the difference between a surface drain and a French drain is that a surface drainage is installed for the purpose of removing water located on the soil’s surface. It comprises of collection boxes that help drain this water. These are normally 9″-12″ square and spaced every eight to ten feet.
The length of these drains depends on whether the water is being discharged to the outer edges of your property or towards the street. They can be 4’ long or well over 40’ long. The sole purpose of a surface drain is to ensure that water is directed as far away from your home’s foundation as possible.
If flooding or ponding is your problem, a surface drainage system is all that you need.
A French drain, on the other hand, is the best option if you have high moisture levels in the dirt surrounding your home’s foundation. This type of French drain is made by placing a perforated pipe in a trench and filling with gravel.
The trench will need to be dug down to the footers of the foundation and must be 2′-3” wide. Here’s a step by step guide on how to install French drains.
Not protecting the foundation of your home is one of the most expensive mistakes you can make as a homeowner. The most effective way to protect it is to ensure it has the right foundation system.