7 Common French Drain Mistakes
Here are some common French drain mistakes you should avoid to prevent any problems from arising:
1. Being Unaware of Draining Regulations
Using a French drain pipe to divert the water flow might negatively impact someone else’s land or public area. Factors like building codes, zoning laws, and community rules can restrict drainage projects in your region. This is why confirming your plans with the rightful authorities before starting a French drain project.
2. Neglecting the Direction of Water Flow
Before digging a gravel ditch and placing the pipe, scan the surroundings for any flood-prone areas. The water has to flow away from your home, so it is important to determine the general direction of the French drain. Other than this, also consider how it might affect the exposed gravel in your yard. Neglecting the water flow’s path is among the common French drain mistakes, so make sure you avoid it.
3. Not Figuring Out the Slope
For the proper functioning of a French drain, it needs a slope. A good slope will descend at a rate of 1 %. So, the French drain must be greater than 1% for the water to drain correctly. By applying this rate, you can ensure that water drains away and gravity works to distribute it along the drain lines.
If your property has a natural, steeper slope, that’s fine too. The steeper slope can create more velocity. Proper slope planning is essential; otherwise, erosion might form in the discharge area.
4. Not Paying Attention to Lining the Trench
You should line your French drain with fabric; it is better to use a continuous swath. If you can’t use a continuous strip of fabric, you can overlap pieces by 12” at least. Whatever you do, don’t forget to secure the fabric’s ends with stables driven into the ground. Fold any excess fabric when you’re lining the French drain to trim it later.
5. Going for a Wrong Gravel
Choosing a suitable drainage rock for a French drain is essential. The right drainage rock will allow proper permeability as well as drainage. Preferably, you should choose round natural stones as fill material.
The benefits of this stone are many, as you’ll notice better flow through the material. Moreover, the prices won’t break off and clog the drain. This is one of the vital French drain mistakes to avoid.
6. Not Installing a Drainpipe
If you skip installing the drainpipe, the drain system might not be able to handle the heavy water flow. You can usually find perforated French drain pipes that are 4”-6” in diameter, increasing the effectiveness of the drainage system. Furthermore, these pipes prevent pooling by moving the water away. So to avoid compensating for such mistakes later, include the drainpipe when digging for the French drain.
7. Tying a Downspout in the French Drain
Another mistake to avoid is routing a downspout directly into the French drain. As a consequence, this mishap can overwhelm the drain system with water during heavy rain, storms, and more. A flood of water might enter the drainage system.
To avoid this problem, you can install a catch basin before the drain field. Then, you can tie the French drain into this basin. Not to forget, a catch basin might help clean out leaves and debris before they can clog the drain line.