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What is a French Drain?
Have you ever heard of a French drain? No, it’s not a type of drain with a French accent. French drains, when installed by a professional, are a very effective way to manage a wet basement.
The French drain isn’t really French at all. It gets its name from Henry French, an American lawyer in the 19th century. It was French who made popular this method of draining water from places where it doesn’t need to be and today, all these years later, his method is still very widely used as a method of getting rid of water in a wet basement. If you find that you have dampness and water in your basement, the French drain method could help immensely.
What exactly is a French drain? It’s not really one thing. It is a system of underground pipes with small perforations in them that are designed to divert water away from the foundation of your home. This system takes advantage of the natural topography of the land around your home or, if necessary, by way of a sump pump to keep water away from your home’s foundation. When water is prevented from accumulating around the foundation, it cannot seep into your house. The result will be a dryer basement. Companies such as Affordable Waterproofing can answer your questions about this type of drainage solution.
A French drain is installed by first digging a trench. From there, the perforated pipes are placed into the trench, followed by a layer of gravel or sand. In some cases, a layer of a synthetic material called landscaping textile will also be added at the stage. This is useful in keeping out various kinds of debris that would otherwise plug up the drainage holes in the pipe or, if they are small enough, even enter the pipes themselves, which can cause a whole host of problems.
There are two basic styles of French drain, exterior and internal. With exterior, the pipe trench is dug near the foundation wall on the outside of the house, allowing it to drain water away from your home from the outside. This is an effective method, but there is one disadvantage of exterior French drains. If there is problem with the service, there’s a good chance that a large portion of your property around your home will have to be dug up to find and fix the problem.
Internal French drains feature a trench dug inside, around the perimeter of your basement. The trench is then covered with cement. This is ideally done in a new build, during the construction process, but it is possible to install this type of drain in an existing building, too.
The way a French drain works is essentially by creating a place where the excess water can go, instead of allowing it to seep into your basement. Water is diverted into the drain, away from your home, and then channelled to a location that is at a safe distance away from your house. This is a very effective method of waterproofing your basement, which is why it is so widely used.
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