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French Drains & Why You Need One

A French drain is a type of drainage system that is used to redirect water away from a particular area. It typically consists of a trench that utilizes gravel or rock along with a perforated pipe that allows water to flow through it. The purpose of a French drain is to prevent water from pooling in areas where it can cause damage or create safety hazards.

There are a variety of reasons why someone might need a French drain. Some common examples include:

  • To prevent water from seeping into a basement or crawlspace

  • To prevent flooding in low-lying areas

  • To prevent erosion caused by water runoff

  • To redirect water away from a building's foundation

  • To improve drainage in a soggy lawn or garden area

  • To prevent wood rot that would require future repair

perforated pipe in a French drain

There are several different types of French drains that can be used depending on the specific needs of the project. Some of the most common types include:

  • Traditional French drain: This is the most basic type of French drain and consists of a gravel-filled trench with a perforated pipe at the bottom. The pipe carries water away from the area and prevents it from seeping into the ground.

  • Curtain or channel drain: A curtain/channel drain is similar to a traditional French drain, but is designed to intercept water that is flowing down a slope. It typically consists of a trench that is dug horizontally across the slope and filled with gravel and a perforated pipe.

  • Dry well: A dry well is a type of French drain that is used to collect and store water underground. It consists of a large hole filled with gravel or rock and lined with a fabric to prevent soil from entering. Water flows into the dry well and slowly percolates into the surrounding soil.

  • French drain with sump pump: In areas with particularly high water tables or heavy rainfall, a French drain with a sump pump may be necessary. This type of drain uses a pump to actively remove water from the area and redirect it away from the property.


In addition to these common types, there are also variations of French drains that can be customized to meet specific needs. These might include variations on the size of the trench, the type of pipe used, or the depth and slope of the drain.

channel drain setup

Overall, French drains are an effective way to manage water flow and prevent damage caused by excess water. By understanding the different types of French drains and how they work, property owners can make informed decisions about which type of drain is best for their specific needs.

curtain/channel drain set in concrete
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