Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Proving Ground

What is it with Blogger lately? Are they being a complete friggin' ass with everybody else, or is it just me? Nothing wants to work right. It took me forever to get these #@%#^%&^ photos to load right side up and it keeps wanting to underline everything I type!
So, this is how to install a proper French drain. And I don't give a flying shit what some residential contractor said, this is the way you do it and have it work.
When you get your footing and wall waterproofed (with an actual membrane, not just some paint on crap) lay your 4" perforated drain pipe down along the wall. Now, I put down a layer of landscape fabric between the pipe and the ground because the dirt was a little close and I couldn't get a full 1 foot of gravel all the way around the pipe.

I know many of you may have never seen this before and God knows, most residential builders won't go to the trouble to use it, but this is the perf pipe with a sock on it. Just a fine, fabric mesh tube that covers the whole length. If you don't use this type your pipe will fill up with dirt in about 6 months and then you just got a big, fat, solid worm of pipe laying there in the ground doing nothing. And again, I don't care what some contractor told you, if it doesn't have the sock on it, it ain't worth a crap. Do you want to dig this thing back up in a couple of years? No? I didn't think so. Now, you are going to have to go to a commercial construction supply to get this. Lowe's and shit don't have it. They don't even know it exists.

You can also get 90's and T's and such to make different connections and they just snap on, so it's really easy.

After you lay in your pipe with the sock on it, cover the pipe with at least a foot of gravel. You also need to use what we refer to as #57 stone. This is NOT 'crusher run' or similar. #57 stone is a stone of one consistent size and will allow water to freely pass through where 'crusher run' or #89-10 compacts solidly and doesn't allow water to go through as well.

Then, lay down another layer of filter fabric over the stone and start backfilling with dirt. This is a proper French drain and will actually allow water to filter down to an open pipe and be carried away from your foundation. Oh, I forgot to show how I ran the pipe around the corner and down the hill so that it does turn downward and allow water to run rather than just sit in the pipe. It ends down around the front of the house.
So, I'm in a little better mood now. Halfway through writing this post one of the guys called and I cried on his shoulder (so to speak) for a while. Everybody is all up in the air 'cause we have heard of a job starting in Birmingham.

*Widespread Panic


Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! It's took ours about 6 yrs. but that's what we recently discovered that we had - A big fat mud-filled worm. We've been scratching our heads, wondering what to do next.
Thank you SO much for this post!
I love you, and my husband wants to marry you.

edifice rex said...

Hey V.! well, at least one man does! lol! You're very welcome and I hope this helps you fix your problem. If you have any questions just ask.

Linda said...

Thanks for this! We may need a French Drain in our basement and knew the basics of how to do it, but the sock and landscaping fabric we didn't know about...and #57 gravel of course : )

The problem we have is that our basement is underground about 8 feet on one side and above ground on the other since it was built into a hill. I don't see any way we can dig all that dirt out to properly waterproof anything on the outside. Can we put a french drain in that runs along the same path the river through the middle of the basement currently does making sure the slope directs the water downhill?

I'm afraid it's an underground spring or something because there is always water in it.

edifice rex said...

Hey Linda! well, with a skillful backhoe operator you could dig out your basement wall and waterproof the exterior but it would be costly.
Anyway, you probably could just install the drain where this stream is flowing but again, you are going to have to dig down quite a bit to get the pipe and gravel below grade.
Sounds like it is a underground spring and putting some type drain in would be a good idea.