Why Use a French Drain for Your Basement or Lawn

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If you have a persistently soggy spot on your lawn or a wet area in your basement, a French drain may be the solution.

Excessive rainfall or poor drainage can cause water to build up, usually in the lowest lying areas. When this area is your lawn, the ponding of water can promote rapid weed growth, increase the likelihood of fungus and disease in plants and bushes and provide a breeding ground for mosquitos. Basements that are constantly damp are susceptible to mildew and mold—the latter which can lead to structural damage of your home.

Clearly, these damp and/or wet areas can’t be ignored. Homeowners typically need a French drain when:

  • Surface water is a problem, as in a soggy lawn or a driveway that washes out.
  • Your basement is getting wet because water is seeping in from outside (as opposed to wetness caused by leaky internal pipes).
  • You’re building a retaining wall on a hillside.

What is a French Drain?

Named after Henry French, a Massachusetts judge and farmer who promoted the concept of farm draining, a French drain is a sloped trench filled with round gravel and a perforated pipe. Water enters the trench and flows into the pipe at the bottom, emptying away from the home. Water can be directed to a preferred low-lying area of your property, a drainage ditch or the street.

Types of French Drains

Your type of water problem dictates the type of French drain you need. For surface water on your lawn a shallow French drain is recommended.

Water in the basement requires a deep French drain that surrounds the house to intercept water before it can enter the house. Another option for basement dampness is an interior French drain, which involves cutting a channel around the perimeter of the basement and installing a pipe that collects water and sends it out of the basement through a sump pump.

A French drain behind a retaining wall prevents water from building up behind the wall and weakening it.

DIY or Professional Installation

The technology for building a French drain is simple, but depending on the type of drain required, installing one can be hard work, requiring specialized tools. In addition, not installing the French drain correctly can waste time, money and still leave problems unresolved.

If your basement or lawn is frequently damp or soggy, give NCPlumbingServices.com a call. Our team of skilled plumbers can assess your situation and suggest if a French drain—and what type—will be the best solution. For more information and for reliable, respectful service at prices that won’t break your budget, call us at 919-868-3585.