A FRENCH DRAIN SYSTEM is a subsurface drain used to stop the permeation of sub-surface ground water. FRENCH DRAINS are the most common and most effective method for removing excess ground water.


French Drain

Does your basement regularly flood?

French drain pipes aren't French but they will prevent water from flooding across your basement floor! 

When it rains, especially like it did in the floods of winter 2014, the soil outside your foundation can become saturated with rain water. The water weighs a lot and pushes against your basement walls – just like the ocean pushes against the hull of a boat. If there’s enough of it, it can even push up against the basement slab. Known in the industry as hydrostatic pressure.


Holding this water back is a damp-proofing membrane that typically consists of a coating of asphalt. Even a small crack or gap in this membrane can admit a huge amount of water, causing your basement to flood.


In most houses with cellars or basements, an exterior footing drain is typically installed when the basement was built. Its job is to help relieve this pressure and to move water away from your house. The failure of this original exterior footing drain (originally in place to reduce subsurface water build up) is what causes many basements to leak or flood.


Is your home susceptible to flooding?

"Water always flows downhill, and by the easiest route possible."

That’s the basic concept behind a French drain, a slightly sloped trench filled with round gravel and a pipe that diverts water away from your house.

A french drain is very much recommended in houses near to rivers and can be a particularly good installation in defending against flooding, such as the type we have had in recent years in the UK.  Essentially, the excess rainfall that we have has nowhere to go, as the soil is saturated and therefore builds up above and creates the scenes that were all too familiar in the winter of 2014, when cars could be seen floating in what looked like mini rivers, where once were driveways and gardens.

A Sub-surface drainage system provides an easy channel for water to flow through. Water runs into a gravel-filled trench, then into perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench.

Water travels freely through the pipe, which empties a safe distance from the house.


Do You Need a French Drain?

  • When you have a problem with surface water, such as a soggy lawn or a driveway that washes out.
  • If water is getting into your basement.
  • If you’re building a retaining wall on a hillside.

If Your Problem is Surface Water

We can install a shallow French drain, also called a curtain drain, it extends horizontally across your property, directly uphill of the area you want to dry out. It intercepts water and channels it around the soggy spot.

This type of drain doesn’t have to be very deep — a common size is 2 feet deep and 1.5 feet across. Where the drain passes through areas with trees or shrubs, switch to solid pipe (not perforated) to reduce the risk of roots growing into the piping and clogging it.

FRENCH DRAINS are very effective when constructed directly against the length of a foundation or behind a retaining wall.   They can help with the prevention of damp.

Construction involves the excavation of a trench to the bottom if the foundation, (usually 2 – 3 feet deep) dug along the entire length of the area to be protected. The trench is lined with a geo-textile fabric and then a 4" perforated pipe, placed on a 4" bed of gravel, is laid at the bottom. The perforated pipe is connected to a solid 4" drain pipe and normally terminated at the street.

The trench is then back-filled with gravel and the geo-textile fabric, used to prevent the gravel pocket from clogging, is closed over the top. The gravel back-fill stops just below the finished grade to allow landscaping or concrete work. (FRENCH DRAINS are not visible on the surface.)
Water migrating through the surrounding soil enters the gravel bed, falls to the bottom, is collected by the perforated pipe and flows by gravity to the solid 4" drain pipe to a termination point, usually the street.



French Drain System and Catch Basin for Retaining Walls.



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