A Thank You To My Father

A Thank You To My Father

Got A Soggy Basement? Consider Installing An Interior French Drain System

Zoe Gonzalez

A wet basement can be a disaster. You cannot use it for storage and this dark moist place becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. If you're dealing with a soggy basement, you can install an interior French drain to help guide water outside where it belongs. 

Understanding The French Drain System

In most cases, a French drain is installed at the time of construction, but it is possible to install one later if drainage problems arise. An interior drain is placed as close to the basement walls as possible below the floor level. 

If the drain is installed at the time of construction, the contractor will dig along the entire interior wall of the basement before pouring concrete floor. A French drain can work in a couple of different ways, depending on its location in the basement:

  • A drain on top of a footer extending inside the basement collects water that leaks through basement walls and guides it out.
  • A drain installed on the inside of the footer collects water leaking from walls and water coming up from under the footers. 

Both types of French drains open into a collection pit in the basement. The collection pit has to be deeper than the drain so water freely flows into it. The water collected is pumped out via a sump pump. A sump pump requires electricity to run, so you need to choose a good location for the collection pit, such as in a utility room or other location with access to an electrical outlet. 

Potential Problems With A French Drain System

While French drains are helpful with excess water issues, there are a few problems you should be aware of:

  • Since digging is required, always contact local utility companies to avoid hitting gas or power lines
  • French drains can be difficult to install, so you will need the help of a professional contractor
  • Pipes used in the French drain system can become clogged and clearing them can be costly

Sediment, silt and other debris can cause overflow or backflow from pipes into the home. If this occurs, the pipes will need to be dug up to fix the problem, which can be expensive.  (For more information, contact Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc.)

Before installing a French drain, discuss your options with a contractor. While a French drain is a good option, it is not the solution for every wet basement dilemma. There are other options, such as dry wells or swales, to help with drainage problems. You can have a contractor inspect your basement and surrounding outdoor area, so that he or she can recommend the best solution for your needs.  


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About Me
A Thank You To My Father

My name is Sara Jenkins and I am the daughter of a plumber. As a young girl, I was not very impressed by what my father did for a living, but I loved spending time with him so I was thrilled each time he asked me to help with a repair around the house. What I didn't realize at the time was that my father was teaching me skills that would prove incredibly useful in my adult life. Today, thanks to him, I have completed a long list of plumbing jobs in my own home without the need to hire a contractor. This blog is my way of saying thank you to him by sharing all of the things that he has taught me about home repairs and construction.