Water in your basement or crawl space? Do you need a “French” drain?

It goes without saying, we’ve got no control of the weather – but, we can control how we deal with it.

You might notice water in your basement after rain storms. Maybe you’re flooding from water intrusion, or maybe you notice the less obvious – seepage or water stains at the base of your basement or crawl space foundation walls.

After noticing it, you probably asked yourself, ‘How’s the water getting in’?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news – if water found its way in once… it’ll find its way in again!

The good news – there’s a solution for your problem and it’ll help prevent future water intrusion and damage, too!

It’s called a “French” drain…

Vous ne parlez pas français? Pas de problème!

Translation – Don’t speak French? No problem!

You don’t need to speak French to understand how this drainage system works… it didn’t even originate in France! Phe-e-e-w!

(It was actually after a farmer in Massachusetts – his name? Henry French – now there’s a knee slapper for ya’!)

So sit back and let us do all the explaining…

Check for signs of surface water problems…

Give the outside areas of your home a quick inspection – preferably during, or just after a rain storm.

Here are a few things you’ll want to look for while walking around your South Jersey home…
  •  A ‘negative grade’ in the ground around the foundation of your home – This means the ground slopes
toward your basement or crawl space foundation wall, rather than away – and a negative grade
will guide water directly toward your foundation
  •  Spongy ground or even standing water close to your home or foundation – areas where
the ground
is overly saturated or there are visible puddles of water
  •  Clogged drain spouts and/or gutters.

If you notice any of these symptoms, along with water intrusion in your basement, it may be time to do something about it.

So, just what does the French drain do?

If water collects next to the foundation of your home or building, it needs to go somewhere – and so, down, down, down it goes!

Water will find its way into foundation cracks, leaving you with a flooded basement, water-stained walls, or other water-seepage issues. Since there’s no changing the fact that water flows downward, you’ll need a solution installed and ready when that water starts seepin’ on down.

The main goal of the French drain (aka – perimeter drain) is to drain the seeping water, pump it out of your basement and keep things nice and dry – the way they should be!

What’s involved with the installation process?

We can install the drainage system around the foundation of your home in 2 ways…
  •  We can excavate a trench around the exterior perimeter (positive side) of your basement or
crawl space foundation wall
down to the footing, install the French or perimeter drain around
the exposed foundation wall just above the footing – then we’d carefully backfill the trench to
its original level.

       or
  •  We can remove a section of the concrete slab floor around the interior perimeter (negative side) of
your basement or crawl space foundation wall, excavate the rubble underneath down to the
footing, install the French or perimeter drain just to the inside edge/face of  the footing – then
we’d backfill the excavation to its original level,and repair the floor with new concrete.

We like to call it our ‘sandwich method…’

For both options above we use a special system of fabric layering. Think of it as kinda like your good ole’ Jersey hoagie! Just as a hoagie roll protects all the goodies inside, our filtration fabric protects those French drain goodies, keeps ‘em in place and ensures the drains will function as they should for years to come.

Whether it’s in an interior and exterior perimeter drain solution, as water collects in the drain over time – your sump pump will pull the water out of the drain – pumping it up, out, and away from the foundation of your home.

‘Experience’ is life’s way of educating you…

If you read our last blog (about the problems Gram had with her basement flooding) you know in these kinds of situations ‘getting around to it later’ isn’t a great option. Take it from the South Jersey water intrusion professionals – we’ve seen too many people put off dealing with water intrusion issues – especially in the basement – for way too long!

You don’t want to have the same problems Gram had… right?!

If you suspect you’ve got a problem – get it taken care of sooner than later.

Check out our hand-drawn basement diagrams (below) to see how these drains work…

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Click on either of these images for full-sized, printable versions
(because these files are a bit large, it could take 30-45 seconds for them to appear)

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About the Author Jessica Allen

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