A French Drain Could Be The Answer To Your Wet Basement Woes

Posted on: 8 October 2015


If you're fed up with wet basement woes, it may be time to install a French drain. You can have one of these systems installed outdoors or indoors. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Here's a quick overview of waterproofing your basement with a French drain.

How A French Drain Works

A French drain is a trench that diverts water away from your basement. When it is installed outside, it is buried under the soil so water can seep into the trench and be directed to the street or holding pond. An interior French drain is placed under the floor. A trench is dug in the concrete so water falls into the trench if it seeps through the walls. The drains are covered with gravel. You can also cover an interior trench with concrete and an exterior trench with dirt and sod so they are invisible. An exterior drain works on gravity and an interior drain uses a sump pump and electricity to get the water out of your basement.

The Pros And Cons Of An Exterior Drain

The bad thing about installing an exterior drain is that it tears up your yard. If you don't have a lot of landscaping, it may not be a big deal. However, if you have a lot of plants and flowers bordering your house, they will probably be destroyed when the trench is dug. Replacing them adds to the cost of installing the drain.

An advantage of installing an exterior French drain is the contractor can apply a waterproof membrane to the exterior of your foundation at the same time. The trench has to be lower than the foundation of your home, so the walls of your basement become exposed. That provides the perfect opportunity for applying a waterproof coating that will keep water from soaking through the concrete.

Interior Drain Pros And Cons

The good thing about installing an interior French drain is the process is quick and easy to do. It doesn't tear up your yard and incur added expenses of replacing sod and plants. Plus, since the work is done indoors, it can be done at any time in any season of the year.

A potential drawback of an interior drain is failure of the system during a power failure. If a bad storm with a lot of rain knocks out your power, the sump pump won't work and water can back up in your basement.

Since both options will waterproof your basement, you may base your decision on price. A lot of things factor into the final cost of installing a French drain. An interior drain might be cheaper because the trench only needs to be the length of the perimeter of your basement. If your home sits far from the street, an exterior drain may need to be lengthy, and since you'll be charged by the linear foot for installation, that will drive up the cost. In other situations, an exterior drain might cost less. The first step to drying out your basement is to call a contractor, such as State Wide Waterproofing, to inspect your foundation and give you an estimate for each waterproofing method.