There are many approaches to preventing moisture and water seepage from creating a wet basement. Michigan is particularly vulnerable due to the high levels of annual precipitation and the abundance of homes with basements. Waterproofing basement interiors has been a challenge in the construction industry for decades. While many new surface application products and basement crack injection methods have recently been developed, one of the most dependable and permanent solutions has been a variation of the traditional interior French drain system.

Origins of the Interior French Drain System

The French drain is named after Henry French who was a lawyer, judge and a farmer in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1859 he wrote a book on the subject, “Farm Drainage”. Since a version of this system was used in ancient Rome, he cannot rightfully be credited as the inventor or discoverer. But, he certainly can lay claim as the one who updated the process and first demonstrated the usefulness for this low-tech approach to relocating large quantities of unwanted water.

Originally, an interior French drain system was nothing much more than a ditch filled with rocks and stones, sloping away from an area of excess water accumulation to a receiving area. Since gravel and stones are much less dense than soil and with the assistance of gravity, water will tend to take the path of least resistance and head for the French drain. This is similar to the way standing water on a countertop is absorbed into a sponge. Over the years, the process has been refined as is now considered to be one of the most effective and economical tools that basement waterproofing contractors have for waterproofing basement interiors and foundations.

French Drains for Optimal Water Removal

Within interior French drain systems, the most cost-effective approach is to create a trench around the perimeter of the basement on the inside. It is best to be about 12 to 16 inches from the wall and about 12 to 18 inches deep. The trench is then lined with a fabric to keep the soil in place. Next, a bed of stone is applied. Drain tile (perforated pipe) goes on top of that and is covered with another layer of washed stone. The fabric filters the water flowing to the drain tile, keeping soil from washing through and clogging the drain system. Regularly spaced clean-outs should, nonetheless, be installed at specified intervals for routine maintenance. Once a proper French drain system is installed, water from the outside can no longer run under the foundation to the basement floor.

Additionally, it is best to drill weep holes through cinder block foundation bases to facilitate drainage of any water that makes its way inside the blocks. It is released and directed into the drain tile system. Moisture that makes its way through the foundation wall above the French drain system simply passes through a gap in the newly poured concrete floor perimeter into the drain tile. Foundation crack repairs will eliminate that problem from occurring in the first place.

Finally, basement waterproofing contractors will use a sump pump to eliminate the water flowing through the drain tiles. It is buried below the entire drain system and sends collected water outside, where it belongs!

Prevent a Wet Basement Today

From its early beginnings, the interior French drain system has been refined to more effectively remove water away from your home. Of course, it also comes down to who’s installing your French drain. Here at StayDry, we’ve been installing them for years and we even back our interior French drains with a lifetime warranty. With this, you can rest assured knowing any water will quickly be removed from your home.

If you’re interested in our interior french drain system, you can give us a call at 800.782.9379 or contact us for a free estimate.