French drain pipes aren’t French but they will prevent water from flooding across your basement floor!
When it's wet and rainy outside, the soil outside your foundation becomes saturated with water. Water weighs a lot and pushes against your basement walls – just like the ocean pushes against the hull of a boat. If there’s enough of it, it can even push up against the basement slab. The technical name is hydrostatic pressure.
Holding this water back is a damp-proofing membrane that typically consists of a coating of asphalt. Even a small crack or gap in this membrane can admit a huge amount of water, causing your basement to flood.
Instead of fighting hydrostatic pressure (and risking major leakage), an exterior footing drain was probably installed when your house was built. Its job is to help relieve this pressure and to move water away from your house. The failure of this original exterior French drain (also called a footing drain) is what causes many basements to leak or flood.
A French drain is sometimes also referred to as drainage tile, a rubble drain, a perimeter drain or weeping tile.
If you suspect that your exterior drain has failed, you have two choices: dig it up and install a new drain or install an interior French drain. The former involves excavation around the perimeter of your home which affects landscaping, walkways, and utilities. The disruption to your daily routine will be significant.
An interior French drain, on the other hand, can be installed quickly with much less disruption. Basement Systems, Inc. has developed and patented an improved interior French drain called the WaterGuard™ System – and has installed hundreds of thousands of them across North America. Although it involves digging a trench around the perimeter of your basement, the drain virtually disappears upon completion of the job. In addition, an interior French drain typically costs far less than excavating for an exterior one. Best of all, there are no worries about it clogging in the future.
Clogged drainage lines cause water problems. When a French drain is surrounded by soil, it eventually becomes clogged with silt and plant roots.
The WaterGuard System:
What is a French drain? That’s a question you might easily ask, especially if you have been reading up on basement waterproofing. French drains were invented right here in the U.S. by Henry French, a Massachusetts lawyer (1813-1885) who popularized his drainage system in a book called “Farm Drainage,” first published in 1859.
Although a French drain can be as simple as a gravel-filled ditch that’s pitched to direct water flow, today most French drains contain not only gravel but also perforated plastic drain pipe that captures and conveys water.
Clog-free drainage. The French drain system installed by Basement Systems is located in the “clear water zone” above the foundation wall’s footing. French drains located outside the foundation or adjacent to the footing are likely to clog and cease to function.
French drains can be installed in several locations around a foundation. An exterior French drain is typically installed along the outside edge of the footing, as shown in the drawing. Unfortunately, these drains eventually clog with silt or plant roots, and aren’t effective at preventing water from entering your basement.
An interior French drain installed along the inside edge of the footing is also prone to clogging. For effective and long-lasting water control, you have to keep a French drain out of the “mud zone” along the edge of the footing.
At Basement Systems, we only install our patented basement drainage systems in the “clear water zone” atop the footing or in certain cases above the floor as a baseboard system. This location, combined with innovative design, provides the most effective protection against water intrusion.
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