There are two basic types of home waterproofing: interior and exterior. The key is deciding which is best for your home. Remember, every home is different. What worked well for your neighbor may not be the best solution for your property. French drain waterproofing may be your answer!
Do your research. Contact a waterproofing professional. Ask all your questions. Then decide what you think will be the best solution. Here in Raytown, we have a team of experienced professionals who are always happy to help. Smart Foundation Systems can point you on the right path for waterproofing.
Do you go down to your basement and find small puddles of water? Have you ever noticed that your basement walls weep? Does your basement flood? These are all examples of why basement waterproofing is so important.
Homeowners should be able to use and enjoy their basement space. If you are experiencing problems with basement flooding, waterproofing is a must. Continued exposure to flooding can lead to structural damage, mold infestations, and other costly repairs.
There are several methods you can choose to waterproof your home, effectively using either interior or exterior waterproofing. Our trained technicians will meet with you to determine the best course of action for your particular situation and your specific budget. One of those options is French drains.
History of French Drains
If you’re envisioning something fancy, you’re going to be disappointed. French drains aren’t French at all. Named after its inventor, Henry Flagg French, the French drain was initially developed to drain farmland in Massachusetts in the late 1850s. Then drains were so successful they were quickly adapted for use in houses, barns, and commercial buildings.
The basic design of the drain has remained the same all these years, with the only updates made in more modern materials, like heavy-duty lining and PVC piping.
French Drain Basics
French drains are also known as weeping drains, rubble drains, rock drains, perimeter drains, French ditches, or agricultural drains. It doesn’t matter what folks call them. Their characteristics are all similar. At their most basic, they are exterior drainage systems. The system usually consists of a trench filled with a perforated pipe and gravel that uses gravity to carry ground and surface water away from your building foundations. The trench is typically dug alongside the foundation walls.
While French drains work effectively, it is easier to install an exterior French drain waterproofing system before construction on your home begins. If you wait until after construction, technicians must remove any landscaping outside the house to install the drain system.
Installing a French drain entails excavating around the home. Washed gravel is poured into the trench bottom, and a perforated, rigid PVC pipe is installed on top and connected to a sump basin. In exterior installations, we prefer PVC for its rigidity and strength, which makes it resistant to soil pressure. Once it’s installed, we cover the pipe with more gravel and then backfill the trench.
Water always seeks the lowest point. For a French drain to work correctly, it must use gravity to force the water along the downward-sloping pipe to the discharge point.
This process may sound simple. It can be a tricky and sometimes complicated experience. Hiring a qualified, professional basement waterproofing contractor for installation will likely save you irritation, time, and money in the long term.
Problems with French Drain Waterproofing
- Installation Difficulty. Anytime a trench is dug, there are always concerns. One must use safety measures to ensure no utilities are bothered in the trench digging process. Plus, hard-packed clay or rocky areas may take more time and cost more money than initially budgeted.
- Clogging. One of the biggest complaints we hear about French drains is their tendency to clog. Often the pipes can clog with silt and sediment, making runoff impossible. In worst cases, the lines become so clogged that water backs up and water runs into the house. Often, the only solution to this problem is digging up the pipes and cleaning them before reinstalling them.
Advantages of French Drain Waterproofing
- Efficient drainage. The best advantage of a French drain is its efficiency. On installation, you can choose where you want the water to drain.
- Property Advantages. French drains can help with adequately draining your lawn, making what was once a mushy mess into a beautiful green space.
- Affordable. When installed correctly, French drains are reasonable in comparison to some other drainage systems.
- Fast. Typically, basement waterproofing companies can provide quick and efficient installation services.
Maintenance for French Drains
Because the most common complaint about French drains is their clogging frequency, we recommend cleaning them once a year. To do this, you’ll need to uncover the drain lid. If it’s attached to a downspout, remove the downspout from the entry point. Turn on the snake and feed the cable into the drain. When the line hits an obstruction, hold back until the snake can maneuver its way around, then resume feeding it gently. Continue feeding the cable until it gets to the other side. When you’re finished, retract the cable. Then, use a hose on power spray to flush any remaining debris or sediment through the pipe.
If this sounds like too much for you, give Smart Foundation Systems a call! We can handle the yearly maintenance of your French drain quickly and efficiently.
Smart Foundation Systems in Raytown has been serving our Kansas City friends and neighbors for years. We know that our customers want honest and straight talk from folks they can trust.
We believe in hard work and building relationships. Our talented and professional team will provide you with the best information based on know-how, experience, and training.
We promise fast responses and fair pricing. Not only do we guarantee our work, but we also back it up with lifetime warranties. We are licensed, insured, and adhere to our industry best practices and standards.
Call us today for a FREE quote on your basement waterproofing needs. You won’t be disappointed.