French Drains and Foundation Repairs

Water standing around your foundation can cause foundation repairs.

Do a quick check around your house after these spring showers we have had in Dallas. If you see water standing around your foundation, you may need to install a French drain. A French drain is a drainage system that allows water to filter down through several inches of gravel, into a pipe and flow away from your property. Building a French drain will make you remember of muscles you forgot you had, but is well worth your pain and suffering.

Step#1 -Find out where your water stands for long periods of time. This is easier to do and much more evident after a long storm has passed. Look for soggy, swampy lawns and decide which way is best to drain the water out of your yard. Aim for the natural low point going out of your yard and mark the path with spray paint.

Step#2 - Before you start digging, always check with your municipality and call 1-800-DIG-TESS to make sure you are safe and not digging into gas lines, power lines and so forth.

Step#3 - Put a stake at the beginning point of your French drain line and another one at the end. Tie a string on both stakes and hang a line level on it (make sure the string is tight) to make sure you are sloping in the right direction.

Step#4 -The slight downward slope should be 1 inch for every 100 feet. Mark your second stake by lowering the string and mark the spot.

Step#5 - Start digging a trench between the two stakes following the path you marked earlier. Reserve the dirt and turf for later use. Dig a trench 6 inches wide and 2 feet deep. As you dig, periodically measure from the string to the bottom of the trench. To ensure a proper slope, there must be a constant 2 feet.

Step#6 - Shovel 2-3 inches of gravel into the bottom of the trench. The drain pipe needs to be laid on top of the gravel. Re-check the slope and make sure you don’t have any high spots in the line that will prevent draining. Cover the pipe with landscaping fabric to prevent the pipe for clogging.

foundation repairs and french drainStep 7 - Cover the fabric with more gravel all the way up to two inches from the surface of the yard. Shovel the saved dirt and turf over the gravel to fill up the trench.  Flatten the new dirt over the trench with a hand tamper.