If you frequently have problems with a wet basement, it's time to figure out the cause, so you can fix the situation once and for all. It's possible that poor drainage is to blame. If you take a look at the way your house is situated on your property, you might get a clue. Your property should slope away from your home. If your neighbor's property is higher than yours, or if you have a hill or slope in your backyard, then there's a good chance water can't drain properly. When that happens, the water seeps into your basement when you get a heavy rain. One way to solve this problem is by installing a French drain system. This is what you need to know.
A French Drain Directs Water Where You Want
A French drain is a trench system you have dug into your lawn. The trench is filled with gravel and a pipe, so the water drains into the trench, leaks into the pipe, and is routed to the street or a retention pond. This is an effective way to direct the way water drains on your property. You can stop water from seeping into your basement or forming big puddles in your backyard. A French drain will also save you from extensive excavation you'd otherwise need to do to correct the slope of your property.
Digging The Trench
French drain installation usually requires professional help through a company like Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc. The hard part is digging the trench. Depending on the size of your property, it may be too big of a job for a DIY project. You can save a lot of work by hiring a contractor with heavy equipment to dig the trench and get rid of the soil. Since the trench is filled with gravel and a pipe, you'll have a lot of soil left over when you cover the trench. So unless you have a place on your property to use the dirt, you'll have to pay someone to haul it away if you do the job yourself. Also, you need to be extremely careful when you dig in your yard, that you don't hit an underground utility or power cable. Another reason to hire a professional is that you need to slope the trench in a precise manner, so water naturally drains in the direction you want it to go.
Installing The Drain
The pipe used in a French drain is usually some type of plastic pipe that has perforations that allow water to seep inside. It is placed upon gravel and wrapped in landscaping fabric to keep roots from clogging the pipe. One the drain is situated in the trench, it is covered with soil and sod. When it rains, the water drains through the soil and drips into the pipe, and is routed away from your property. Your drainage system should last for many years without giving you any problems.
It may seem like a big effort to go through to keep your basement dry, but it's probably going to be worth it. A wet basement leads to problems like mold and musty smells. When your basement is dry, you can use the space for storage, or for extra living space, without worrying about your belongings being ruined by dampness or mold.