Home Improvement

When Do You Need a French Drain?

French drains are an effective solution for managing excess water and protecting your property from flooding damage. When it comes to knowing when you need a French drain, it’s essential to understand the signs and issues that indicate a problem. From standing water on your property to flooding in your basement or crawlspace, and water entering your home through the walls or floor, there are several indications that you may need to consider installing a French drain. This blog discusses the purposes of French drains, how they work, and the signs you need one.

What Is a French Drain?

A French drain is a trench dug in the ground to divert and drain away water pooling against or leaking into a property. Typically, heavy rain and melting snow can result in water accumulating, which creates standing water. When water cannot drain away from the yard, it may flow into the home to cause basement flooding and costly water damage.

Purpose of French Drains

The primary purpose of French drains is to provide an easy channel for accumulating water to flow away from the building, so it is safely drained away. By drawing standing water from the saturated ground, the French drain system prevents property damage and removes slipping hazards, thus making your lawn safe for kids and pets.

How French Drains Work

The basic approach of any French drain is to provide an effective path of least resistance for water to flow instead of building up. For this to happen, a hollow perforated drainage pipe is installed on a gravel-filled trench. Whenever it rains, the water runs into the perforated pipe, where it is collected and carried safely away from the yard to a designated drainage location, such as a rain bucket or municipal wastewater. By covering the pipe with stones or gravel instead of soil, you help water flow down into the drainage pipe with ease.

When Do You Need a French Drain?

The following are sure signs that indicate you need a French drain:

  • Standing water on your property causing a soggy, muddy backyard or driveway.
  • Flooding in your basement or crawlspace
  • Water entering your home through the walls or floor
  • When there is a high water table or poor drainage in your yard
  • If you are experiencing landscaping or irrigation problems due to standing water
  • If runoff water is causing foundation problems or soil erosion
  • If there are drainage issues with adjacent properties, including your neighbor’s properties, due to water runoff from your yard or roof

Assessing Your Property for a French Drain

The following are things to do before installing a French drain on your property:

Property Assessment

Before you install a French drain in your yard, it is essential to assess the property first. During your assessment, consider factors such as:

  • Determine your layout: Survey your “lay of the land” to determine how your yard is laid out. Focus on finding the high and low points of your yard. It is advisable to install your drains at the lowest levels of your yard. If a low point doesn’t exist, create one. This ensures water drains from where it tends to pool up to the slope you have created.
  • Compatibility of the soil: Excess water can erode banks and damage the soil, especially when it moves with force. Before installing the drain, analyze the nature of the soil. The toughness and type of soil determine the ideal place to install your system and the equipment needed. A functional French drain should allow water to flow away in a manner that doesn’t cause soil damage or erosion.

Identifying Problem Areas

Identifying problem areas involves doing a physical survey of the lawn and finding the exact spots where water accumulates whenever it rains. Determine where the excess surface runoff is coming from and why it tends to pool up instead of flowing away. A cloggy lawn that creates a lake every time it rains indicates a problem with existing drainage systems or that there is no drainage system to start with. Standing water may also be due to the following:

  • Low spots in the yard
  • Poorly draining soil.
  • Lawn thatch, layers of thick dead leaves between soil and grass, heavy foot traffic that compacts soil leading to poor drainage

Determining the Need for a French Drain

French drains are ideal for ground that is constantly soggy or muddy after flooding. Get a French drain when you have a problem with surface water that tends to accumulate around your home or on your lawn instead of draining away. It helps transport excess water to low-lying areas where it can do no damage.

Contact Drycrete Waterproofing for Expert services

A French drain is ideal if you have a wet basement and soggy lawns every time it rains. French drains offer an effective channel for water to flow through and away from your property. An ideal French drain system helps tackle water logging problems without impacting the area’s aesthetical nature. Always work with a professional company to ensure a highly functional and sturdy system.

Count on our pros at Drycrete Waterproofing when it comes to stormwater management and French drain installation and maintenance. We provide long-term, guaranteed solutions that deliver value for money.

About author


Hi, this is Hugh Hook. I’m here to share my insights on a wide variety of home improvement topics. I hope that my site becomes a platform for your inspiration on green living and DIY projects.
Hugh Hook
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