Facts about French drains

Getting rid of drain water can be done in many ways, but the most popular one is certainly the French drain. The French drain is actually a ditch filled with stone that deposits water and lets it flow to an area where it won’t cause problems. These drains can be used to solve many issues like soggy drains, basement flooding and excess run off water from the foundation of a home.

French drain origin

The drain is named a French drain by the name of a farmer in Massachusetts, Henry French, who came with the idea of a ditch filled with stones that will allow water to drain away from his farmland. Some people say that the name actually came from Paris, because in the 1800’s, Paris had open ditches used as drains.

French drain functionality

The French drain design is simple. It is essentially a trench that slopes downwards, running towards an unused area, in which a PVC pipe is placed and then covered with gravel or stone. The wider the trench the better. It depends on the quantity of water you need to get rid of. The slope must be angled 1% grade or 1 foot every 100 feet.

French drain planning

First of all you must establish the route of the French drain. It must begin at a high point, and end in an area where water can do no harm. Make sure it doesn’t pass through any important spots like the kids playground. Make sure you have that 1% slope. This is easy to do using two wooden stakes, a line lever and a piece of twine.

  1. Put one of the stakes into the ground at the top of the route and tie the string to it.
  2. Loosely tie the other end of the string at the end of the drain route.
  3. Level the string and adjust it where you need to.
  4. Move the string as down as you need on the lower stake and use that as a guide for the proper grade. Remember you need a slope angle of 1 foot every 100 feet.
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