French Drain

marc00May 17, 2006

I have a ground water problem that causes my basement to flood every spring. The sump pum that removes enough water to keep the basement from fully submerging but the water getting in through cracks in the foundation floor and walls is enough to create an inch of water all around the basement floor. The water eventually finds it's way into the sump and out it goes.

I'm thinking a French Drain is what I need. I am pretty handy and I have access to a cement saw so I was planning on doing the job myself.

My question is, what is the best way to install a french drain system? And will the drain be enough to stop the water from coming in through the cracks, or should I plan on filling the cracks too?

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You would have to dig around the outside of the foundation,put a bed of stone with the french drain, covered with a water permeable cover to keep dirt from blocking it. You would have to have this french drain lead to an exit for drainage down some sort of slope you dig.
I'd also tar the outside of the foundation to repel moisture and look for any holes. If you have any holes or damaged concrete from the inside or outside.. you should get some sort of injection system on the market.
It is a fairly large job. Alot of people just live with the system you have now.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 1:46AM
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I don't know...but I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I hear of someone putting in a French Drain. Do they work, YES, but problem is they are only a temporary fix and eventually the Drain fills with silt and you are back to square one.

It is best to hire an excavator to come out and grade the land around your house, thus directing the water away from the foundation. I would also suggest consulting a horticulturist, not a landscape designer, but someone that knows physical characteristics of plants, trees and scrubs that would help use the run off. An Aborist can also be helpful. This way you can control the water and enhance the value of your home at the same time.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 1:13PM
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I installed a french drain in my basement to take care of my water problem. I would get water in my basement maybe once a year when we would have a tremendous rain. I did all the grading I could do outside.
I had a natural drain in one corner that takes care of ground water most of the time. I jackhammered a trench along the wall maybe 8" wide and maybe 12"-14" deep. I wanted to get lower than the footer. I installed a sump pump pit for back up. It was a lot of work.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:39AM
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Be careful Marc. I was going to do that but I discovered that I had a block foundation on top of a monolithic floor/footer. The floor and footer were poured as one piece and then the walls were built on top. Jackhammering may damage the footer so I went with a baseboard system from I think the idea is valid but it wasn't installed properly and I am still trying to plug the leaks and make it water tight. One downside is that water will sit in the low areas behind the baseboards. I am a little concerned about mold/mildew. To try and avoid it I am going to put a ion/uv air filter down there that generates ozone. It also has a "blast the room" mode that I can use after water comes in to try and make sure I keep all mold and mildew at bay.

If this system doesn't work I am going to try jackhammering a small trench around the perimeter of the basement. I think 2" is deep enough and it probably only needs to be 1" wide as, like you, I don't get a huge amount ot water in and the lowest spot isn't much more than about an inch lower than the highest spot on my floor. The only problem with this idea is that it may be difficult to ever finish the basement. To be honest though, I'm not sure if it is ever wise to finish a basement. With a well, hot water tank and septic tank, there is too much that can go wrong. If I ever get my basement free of standing water I may just throw down some area rugs and set up a pool table or air hockey table for the kids. Besides, there is something cool about a basement for teenage boys.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 4:53PM
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FYI, here is a discussion I started before I began this journey back in December:

There is a lot of good information in there that is more relevant to this forum than that one.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 10:02AM
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I have a french drain that was installed when the house was built. We are currently in the process of finishing out the basement and are wonder what the best way to build walls is? We already used 2 coats of waterproofing paint on the walls. No moisture, but preventative maintenance. Can we build walls over the french drain or do we need to keep the 1" clearance between the walls and floor clear?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 8:05PM
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I have recently had a french drain installed.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 10:32PM
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If you install any basement drain. Keep in mind. The water is still infilling into the walls through the foundation. Wetting them each time. Waterproofing and diverting water is different. Wet walls will mold.
Fix the gutters, get the downspouts dumping the rainwater 5 of 6 feet away from the house. Forget the plants and bushes. Slope the grade about 5/9 percent, use the correct dirt. ...U will stop leaking basement 95% of the time. Underground springs are a different type of problem. When it rains...its a top runoff problem. Its that simple! Of course there are exception...but your garden variety of basement leaks are all the same... good luck...bty..I found a neat material call Platon.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 7:57PM
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