!!!french drain question!!!

phantom_gardnerFebruary 26, 2011


I have an old (75+yrs) pier and beam house that i bought about 3 years ago and am just now getting a chance to correct a drainage issue. The water flows from the front of my property( street) to the back and it goes under my house causing it to throw my house out of level. My question is How far away from the skirting (which is stucco) should I put the french drain. Second question- is it possible to divert all the water that my french drain diverts, into a cystern so I can use the captured water to water my plants? And will I have to create a barrier of some kind a seal or lip to go around the skirt that goes part way into the ground to not allow the water under my house?

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You need to hire a geological engineer. There are way too many variables to even start listening to an internet solution.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:39PM
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Yeah thats not going to happen. I would like someone who has dug their own french drains or had good or bad experiance wit it to answer please.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:15PM
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I've dug french drains. And I 100% agree with handymac. You need an engineering study first if you're dealing with this quantity of water and it's affecting the foundation. There are just too many variables to make specific suggestions without seeing the property.

If you were just talking about a wet basement, then installing a perimeter french drain at the footers would be an appropriate course of action. But if you are experiencing the "house out of level" - that is not normal for water alone. Either it means you have major subsidence or erosion problems, or there's something else going wrong unrelated to the water.. neither is good.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:28PM
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My my, I do have a bit of experience with French drains, which is why I wrote what I did. Those are not DIY jobs.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:32PM
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This topic interests me and I was wondering if anyone can describe some of the issues involved. I imagine the flow of water could occur at all levels, along the surface and/or through the soil up to several feet down, depending on:

1. the size of the area draining (the watershed)
2. type of vegetation - bare ground, grass, root systems?
3. the composition of the soil at all depths
4. the water table - indeed, if the level is high, water may just be rising straight up from below.

Are there more?

Might the OP begin a DIY evaluation by digging a couple of post holes in different locations? Clay and sand are both easy to ID. Top soil too. Does water fill the holes? Does water fill a hole near the house more than one dug uphill a ways?

Maybe try to dig a shallow trench, say 6" deep and 5 feet long, a couple of feet from the house, (in front of the house), and see what it catches - this would be surface runoff? I suppose the trence would have to be covered so it doesn't catch falling rain from the sky.

To check the water table, dig a post hole down four feet or so after heavy rains to see if he strikes water? This test hole might be dug next to the side of the house and maybe a second one just behind the house or maybe in a more level spot somewhere in the yard.

Just wondering.



    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 8:38PM
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