Drainage Systems, French Drains

Install Foundation Drainage Systems

French Drains help prevent foundation problems.

Learn about how to install foundation drainage systems.

By Fred Marshall
September 24, 2012

Foundation Drain

Prepare for spring rains. Now is the time to review the drainage around the foundation since proper foundation drainage helps prevent foundation problems. Cracked foundations are costly to fix while foundation drainage is a cheap and easy way to prevent foundation problems.

Gravity brought the water down and gravity can help drain the water around your foundation away. Use gravity and drain two different areas around a foundation, surface and subsurface. Gravity helps in three ways.


Install Foundation Drainage Systems, 
Surface Drainage around the foundation

Walk around the foundation.

French Drain

Look at how the ground slopes from the foundation to the street. The first and most widely used foundation drainage solution is to slope the ground so the water drains away into the streets. Slope ground around foundations away from the house at least 1 inch per foot or more if possible. Have a 10 inch drop for the 1st 10 feet around the home sloping away from the foundation. When there is not enough drop to create slopes, use the next best option for drainage around a foundation, a foundation drainage system.


Install surface foundation drains connected to underground pipes. The drainage pipes should be solid. No holes so that the water stays in the pipes. Foundation drainage pipes need very little slope. Because pipes are smooth on the inside, they can move water away with slopes as little as one inch of drop for every ten feet. Gravity drainage needs a so for very flot lots run drains into sump pumps. Take care to ensure that the pumping capacity for each foundation pump is great enough to handle the volume of incoming water. Foundation drainage pipes can back up given the right conditions. Make sure to include a backflow valve. They are cheap insurance against nasty surprises.

Install Foundation Drainage Systems – Subsurface drainage around the foundation

Foundation Drainage System

Install foundation french drains where there is a need to get rid of underground water, foundation french drains can be used. French drain pipes need to be nestled in to clean, crushed stone, sloped slightly downwards and covered with landscaping fabric to prevent silt from sifting down into the passages. There are specifications regarding drainage around a foundation. Make sure to check with your zoning board on foundation drainage code requirements to ensure that you stay within the code.

Get additional formation. Watch the videosDownload the whitepapers.

Get a Detailed Inspection!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.