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Determining Whether Your Home Requires Surface Drains or French Drains

Last updated 6 years ago

Good drainage is vital to avoiding foundation damage. There are two typical types of drains used to keep water away from the foundation of a home: surface drains and French drains. These drainage systems are both designed to perform the same essential function, but one may be more appropriate than another depending upon the behavior of water around your home.

Surface Drains

As the name suggests, surface drainage systems are located at ground level. Consisting of several drains and PVC piping to channel water, a surface drain is appropriate for most homes today. If your home commonly experiences puddling water after storms or during the irrigation of your landscaping, then you should consider the installation of a surface drain system.

If your home already has French drains but you still experience problems with drainage, you may need to retrofit your system to accommodate surface drains. With any drainage system, consider the slope of your land and use sump pumps as necessary when gravity drainage is not adequate.

French Drains

Popular among many older homes, French drains lie several feet below the ground within trenches that are filled with gravel or other aggregate. French drains are unique in that they feature perforated or otherwise permeable conduits. Typically used to safely transfer groundwater from underneath your home's foundation slab, these drains allow water to naturally seep into the surrounding earth rather than gathering in one area.

If you live in an area with a high concentration of groundwater known to run near your foundation, then a French drain system is an excellent choice. In order to know exactly what type of drainage system is right for your home, you can speak with a representative from a foundation repair company that specializes in drainage correction. This will help preserve the life of your foundation and keep your home safe.

Structured Foundation Repairs, Inc. offers foundation inspections as well as drainage correction to ensure that moisture is properly diverted from your home. Call us at (972) 484-1200 or visit our website for additional information on the right drainage for you.


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