Among the different building restoration methods, a French drain is a very effective solution against infiltration and potential moisture-related damages. What is a French drain and why is it so valuable for foundation protection?
Discover why French drains are important for the protection of your foundations with Foundation Crack Expert Group.
The French drain: everything you need to know
What is a French drain?
The French drain, also called foundation drain or dispersal drain, is a specific water drainage method. It is a piping system installed outside your home in a trench filled with gravel or stone and buried in the ground.
The draining pipe evacuates excess water from the ground around your home. Without adequate drainage, the intervention of a waterproofing service will probably be necessary since water can weaken the base of the foundation and get inside.
Why should you have a drainage system?
The main purpose of drainage systems is to keep your home safe from water infiltration. Poor drainage is a problem often hidden by homeowners at the time of sale to avoid a loss of home value due to the likelihood of cracks. This hidden defect can lead to serious consequences if excess water leaks into your home’s structure and foundation walls. In addition to the inconvenience, you may be exposed to bacteria from water infiltration and increase risks of cracks and floods.
What problem can you avoid with a French drain in good condition?
This membrane stops water flow before it reaches your home. This solution is particularly effective on rainy ground or during snowmelt, when soil becomes waterlogged and saturates the waterproofing of foundations, causing numerous cracks.
Although specialists can always repair foundation cracks, consequences can be disastrous for any commercial or residential property owner. This is why the installation, repair and maintenance of this drainage system must be carried out by professionals.
The foundation drain installation or repair process
French drains are usually installed during building construction, so installing them on an existing building is more complex and requires further administrative precautions.
What steps are involved in installing a foundation drain?
Here are the 8 steps professionals follow to install French drains:
- Locate water accumulation and where it should be drained.
- Dig a trench from the area of your backyard that will be drained to the chosen draining point.
- Install a waterproof fabric and weed barrier in the trench.
- Pour and compact about 15 cm of gravel along the trench. Drainage piping will then be installed on top of it.
- Install an inlet screen where water accumulates the most. Fittings are then attached so that the pipes extend from the inlet screen to the water outlet.
- Install pipes in the trench on the layer of gravel.
- Cover the pipes with another 15 cm of gravel.
- Fill the trench with earth to hide the drainage system.
What are the regulations in Quebec?
The Régie du Bâtiment du Québec has made French drains mandatory in Quebec, which has has greatly improved the installation methods and materials used.
Regular foundation drain inspection
Time and weather conditions put French drains to the test and can impair their functionality. The accumulation of sediments or ground subsidence crushing the drain can lead to poor drain function. It is generally recommended to include sections for cleaning when installing the drain to ensure that it remains functional at all times.
To avoid any inconveniences related to a used drainage system, regularly get your system inspected by professionals. Specific methods, such as a water ingress test, will ensure its proper functioning.
Calling on specialists once a year is therefore the best way to ensure that your French drain will protect your foundations well on the long term. Maintenance is recommended in early spring, when foundation water leaks are most common due to melting snow. This quick operation is a smart investment to prevent work that will be much more expensive.
Get your foundation drain inspected by Foundation Crack Expert Group
In conclusion, the installation and regular maintenance of your French drain will save you money because repairs can be quite expensive. Although installation and maintenance work come with a cost, especially if the installation occurs after the building has been built, they are worth it to protect your home from potential damages.
For a solution that meets your needs, call specialists experienced in infiltration, cracks and water drainage work. Contact us for more information or expert advice.