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Guide to Crawl Space French Drains

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Noticing water in your basement or crawl space will cause a headache for any homeowner. It’s important to respond quickly if you notice signs of moisture or water in your home, as it can lead to issues with your foundation and other concerns.

If your home has a crawl space, a French drain may be the right solution to solve your issues with excess water and moisture. Learn more about French drains and how HydroHelp911 can help!

What Is A French Drain System?

A French drain might be a good solution if you have difficulty with drainage, particularly around your home. This system can naturally drain water away from your home. It includes a gravel-filled trench that connects to a perforated pipe, which collects excess water and funnels it away from your home.

Flooding and issues with water damage are especially prevalent in homes that have crawl spaces and basements. Additionally, if your home sits at or below the water table, you may have more problems with water damage than homes above the water table. There are considerable issues with improper water drainage.

Problems from too much water under or around your home include:

  • Mold and mildew: If there’s water sitting under or around your house, you might have an ideal environment for the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Foundation damage: Water saturation is the leading cause of damage to foundations, and homes with basements and crawl spaces are especially prone to water damage.
  • Spalling: When moisture enters your home, you may not notice it unless you see deposits, or spalling, on your walls. These mineral deposits mean water is condensing on your walls, and they can spread deep into your masonry.
  • Pests: Water pools can attract pests like termites, cockroaches, mice and mosquitos.

French drain systems help divert water away from your house, ensuring your foundation stays dry and preventing many issues that come with oversaturation around your home.

Do You Need a Crawl Space French Drain?

If you suspect you have issues with water getting into your home or saturating your foundation, you might notice a few signs. Solutions like fans and dehumidifiers may work for a while, but they won’t target the root of the issue. If you notice water or dampness in your crawl space, you should seriously consider installing a French drain system to prevent damage to your foundation.

Physical signs you need a French drain for your crawl space include:

  1. Cracks in the floor
  2. Water seeping through the walls
  3. Pools and puddles of water
  4. Sagging or sloping floors
  5. Moisture condensation
  6. Deteriorating wood supports

However, the signs of moisture in your crawl space may not always be physical. In some cases, you can identify water issues if people in the home suffer from allergies, asthma symptoms or frequent respiratory infections without an identifiable cause. In these cases, their symptoms could be due to mold or mildew growing in the crawlspace as a result of excess moisture in the home.

Benefits of Installing a Crawl Space French Drain

You can benefit from a crawl space French drain installation in several ways, such as:
  • Preventing pests: If you have sitting water in your crawl space, you may be unintentionally inviting pests to make themselves at home there. Ensuring your crawl space is dry and free of moisture reduces the likelihood that pests will find it an ideal environment.
  • Less frequent maintenance: Water can lead to more frequent maintenance needs, like repairing cracks, leveling the floor and cleaning mold and mildew.
  • Flood protection: In the event of excess water due to heavy rainfall, a French drain under your house can prevent water from pooling in your crawl space.
  • Erosion prevention: Water too close to the home can also cause erosion that may impact existing landscaping and the structures supporting your home.
  • No clogging: Crawl space French drains are designed to prevent clogs so you don’t have to worry about backups.
  • Less hydrostatic pressure: Hydrostatic pressure can build up when the soil outside your home becomes saturated with water that cannot drain away, warping or cracking your walls.

Installing a French Drain in Your Crawl Space

To install a French drain in your crawl space, you’ll need to perform some significant excavation, which is why it’s usually best to contact a professional installation company.

If you’re installing the French drain inside your home, you’ll need to use a jackhammer to cut into the foundation so you can fit the trench and drain pipe. A French drain outside your home also requires significant construction, as you’ll have to excavate down to the footer.

The general steps for this installation are:

  1. Choose the location: Your specific drainage problems will determine the best place for a French drain. A professional installer will be versed in French drain installation and can offer the best advice as to where to place the drain.
  2. Prepare to dig: Before digging, the most critical step is to understand and follow city codes. You will likely need to call your local utility company to identify any existing pipes or lines in your dig zone.
  3. Measure the grade: Getting the grading right is important to ensure water flows in the right direction.
  4. Dig the trench: The most labor-intensive step, digging the trench will involve constant checks to ensure the width and grade of the trench are correct.
  5. Line the trench: After digging, workers will line the trench with nonwoven geotextile fabric to encourage water infiltration and prevent dirt from settling on the gravel.
  6. Lay the pipe: A slotted or perforated pipe will be set into the trench so it can direct water to the appropriate outlet.
  7. Fill with gravel: After laying the pipe, the trench and pipe will be covered with gravel and more layers of filter fabric.

French Drain Inside vs. Outside Your Crawl Space

In general, an inside French drain will work best to reduce water in your crawl space and prevent the buildup of hydrostatic pressure. If you find puddles in your crawl space or see water seeping through the walls, a French drain can help direct the water to an appropriate outlet away from your home.

A French drain outside your crawl space is most effective if your house is on a sharp incline or grade. It can efficiently direct water away from your home so it does not impact your foundation or flow into your crawl space.

French Drain Installation by HydroHelp911

HydroHelp911 is a trusted contractor for crawl space French drains in Hickory, North Carolina. We offer free consultations to evaluate the source of your issues and can tell you if a French drain is the right solution for your home. Then, we’ll provide a quote before doing any work so there are no surprises.

To schedule a free inspection of your crawl space, contact HydroHelp911 today.

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