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What Is a French Drain System?

french drain systemFrench drain systems, sometimes referred to as drain tiles, are essentially ditches that are lined with gravel, stones, or rocks that help drain water away from low-lying areas. Installing a French drain system is a great means of exterior basement waterproofing, since they can be used to draw water away from sump pits or away from the basement’s walls, to a more appropriate area.

French Drain Benefits

The French drain system is named after Henry French, a judge and farmer from Concord, Massachusetts who discussed the subject of farm drainage in his 1859 book. Although, he didn’t invent it. A version of the system was first employed by the Romans, predating French by centuries. However, French helped bring the drainage system back into use, making it one of the most popular and effective ways to redirect unwanted water.

Modern French drain systems use gravity to work. The trench is slightly sloped away from the area needing to be drained, and towards the area where the homeowner wants to redirect the water. Since it’s filled with gravel, the water will occupy the space between the stones as it’s redirected, which means that not only will the water fail to escape through the ground, but that there won’t be any empty trench to pose a hazard.

Advantages of French Drains

The two main advantages of a French drain system is its affordability and its low maintenance. Since it can be covered with grass, topsoil, or even just filter fabric, it’s the perfect choice for a homeowner who wants an easy way to rid their yards of water and protect their home’s foundation in a more subtle — but reliable — way.

If you’ve ever had to pay for foundation crack repair, then chances are you’re willing to do whatever’s necessary to ensure that your basement won’t suffer any more water damage. A French drain system can protect your home from undue wetness and unwanted water damage. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

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