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All of your Frequently Asked Questions about French Drains are answered – by the experts. Discover the solutions to your water problems.

FAQ French Drains

Typically interior french drains are paired with a special wall covering that goes between the cement and the insulation/drywall.

A French drain is a common basement waterproofing solution. It’s a trench containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from the foundation.

Can an interior French drain system be installed in a basement without a sump pump? While interior French drains divert water, they are often paired with a wall covering in finished basements that goes between the cement, insulation, and drywall to protect against mold and flooding.

In some homes there is a sewer trap below the basement floor. This is where your main sewer pipe leads to the exterior sewer system. In theory, a drain system can terminate into this trap area if the main sewer line cap is removed. BUT In most municipalities, it is illegal to discharge a French Drain System into a city sewer. Also, if the sewer backs up- your basement will flood with sewage. If your home is connected to a septic system discharging into your septic system could lead to a complete septic overload.

Installing a perimeter French Drain System is the only correct repair for this situation. A French drain will keep the water table below your basement floor and prevent any further leaking. All French Drain piping should terminate into a sump pit and a quality sump pump should be installed

No. This problem can only be rectified with the installation of a French Drain System

No. This problem can only be rectified with the installation of a French Drain System

You cannot prevent water from accumulating from under your basement floor! This is the level of the water in the ground in your area. (Known as a high water table) This water table is also at the same level under your neighbors basements. An exterior French Drain System will not prevent this from happening neither. If an exterior or interior drain system was installed, the water level under your basement floor would still be as high as the bottom of the drain system piping.

A French Drain System can be installed along 1 wall only-it can also be installed along 2 walls or in a very small area of only 5 ft if needed. Generally, if your basement is leaking along 3 walls, we recommend a full perimeter drain system at this point. French drain system pricing is by the linier foot. If a small system needs to be connected into an existing system, you might pay 3 times the amount per foot on a small job due to the additional set up and preparation time. Again, a partial drain system can be installed and we can always add on to it if needed in the future. Things to consider when requesting a partial perimeter drain system installation .If you are planning to finish off your basement- Installing a French Drain in a finished basement is more costly and more damaging to your basement. Installing these systems in an unfinished basement is much easier and less expensive.

Yes, Drywall will need to be cut about 3Ft high and sometimes the bottom of the stud walls may need to be cut. If your basement walls were built properly, the remaining studs will hang from the top 2 X 4 plate.

ABSOLUTLY NOT! French Drain Systems are also called pressure relief systems. Upon the installation of a full perimeter or partial perimeter drain system, the water pressure is being relieved in the areas the drain system has been installed. A partial perimeter system will not prevent the rest of your basement from leaking.

On homes that are not under construction, it is always easier and less expensive to install an interior drain system. If you are having a new home built and the building site is set up high and there is an option to run the drain system piping to a low area, then you can install an exterior system. (This is called a gravity drain) We still recommend an interior sump pump for a backup.

The holes in PVC piping should always be facing upward!!! This subject is not open for discussion!! The holes faced upward in the beginning of time and always will face upward. If you or your contractor think any differently-then YOU ARE WRONG!!! I have had a select few try to argue this point with me and Im done wasting my time. I have repaired many systems over, where the holes were facing downward. Minerals, iron bacteria and silt will always settle to the bottom of the drain system trench. Why would you want to place the holes downward? O right, that’s what cleanouts are for. Basement Waterproofing Solutions drain systems do not need cleanouts but we do install them as they are a component of an interior drain system.

If your home has a high-water table under the basement floor piping should be approx. 7 to 9 inches below the top of basement floor. If there is evidence of iron bacteria (also known as iron ocher) we recommend the trench being a little deeper. (8 to 12”). On smaller French drain systems, where there is little to no water table, a rectangular shaped pipe can be installed on top of the footing. Exterior piping should always be installed 8 to 16 inches below the top of the basement floor. Surface drain piping or a pipe installed even 1 inch above the basement floor will not work.

Iron bacteria/Iron ocher- How do you prevent French drain piping from clogging when iron bacteria/iron ocher is in the water. You will know you have this problem when you see a brownish orange color to the water. It will also stain your floor and sump area and sometimes a thick muck will continue to grow in your sump pit and on the pump. The key to guaranteeing these systems is to prevent the ground water from entering the French drain piping. At Basement Waterproofing Solutions, we excavate our trenches several inched deeper and install a drainage fabric and 3” of gravel in the trench prior to installing the piping. Water will run through the gravel for the first 10 to 20 years before the iron completely clogs up the gravel and reaches the piping. Piping is installed with holes facing upward and clean outs are also installed on each wall. With proper maintenance, your French drain will last a lifetime. If pipe holes are facing downward, your French drain will clog and malfunction prematurely. 

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    Excellent service. This was the second time we hired them. Our French Drain system was seriously damaged by a flooring contractor. They performed the repair in less than a day at a fair price. Highly recommend.
    Our basement had block and mortar cracks in areas along two walls. Never had water penetration, nor bowing. Called three foundation repair companies for their assessment & solutions. Was not comfortable with their input: seemed excessive and didn't solve the aesthetics issues. Then, I hired a structural engineer, who told me what was really needed, and asked him for names of people he trusts. I called Sal.