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What Are French Drains & How Can They Help?

French Drains

French drains are not some type of exotic drainage system that originated in France. They are actually a simple water drainage system invented in America. They are known as French Drains because they are named after the inventor, Henry Flagg French. He authored a book on farm drainage which was published in the mid-1800's.

French drains have been around a long time as an effective method to route rainwater away from the foundation and other structures of the landscape.

It wasn't long before the French drains were adapted for brown and gray water runoff from facilities, farmhouses, and barns. This offered an efficient way to remove the standing animal and human brown water that frequently gathered around the property. The drains helped with the mosquitoes and flies that made people and animals sick.

Modern French Drains

The French drain systems have come a long way in terms of function and aesthetics. They are often used today to deter mold and mildew growth in basements and crawlspaces. Early French drains would experience frequent clogs, but not today's models. The French drain is often an important modern solution to a wet basement problem.

Modern French drain systems are enclosed at the top to hide the equipment. They are installed around the ground area on the outside of the basement to ensure that rain does not pool in the area. They can also be installed in the basement at floor level. The basement may also need a sump pump inside to ensure that the problem is kept at bay.

How French Drains Can Help

We talked about French Drains helping to route rainwater off to safe areas. This is really important if the property doesn't have a good natural drainage system or some type of solution already installed. Here's why.

  • Rainwater pooling at the house foundation erodes soil away underneath. This results in cracking and shifting.
  • A moist foundation will develop mold and mildew problems.
  • Puddles of water won't pool in areas where you need to walk outside.
  • Mosquitoes and insects won't have a place to breed and thrive.
  • Moisture won't rot the wood or drywall in the basement. Additional waterproofing may be necessary to keep everything dry.

Basement Waterproofing May Be Necessary

French drains may not be enough to keep the basement waterproof. Our pros at All County Waterproofing in New Jersey use a variety of different waterproofing techniques according to the needs of the basement. We inspect the problem and recommend the right solution to permanently solve the problem. The French drain system often plays a big role in achieving a dry foundation and walls in the basement.

If you would like to learn more about French Drains in New Jersey, please call All County Waterproofing at 908-688-0518, or fill out our online request form.


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