What Is a French Drain Used For?

When it comes to plumbing, there are a lot of words and features that aren’t common knowledge. At POM Plumbing, we’re making it our mission to educate the masses so that the average Joe knows what he needs and what to ask for. Today, let’s take a look at what the French drain is used for. What is a French drain? Let’s start there.

What Is a French Drain?

A French drain is, simply put, meant to prevent flooding at lower points in the ground. They’re most commonly found at the base of a sloping driveway – in front of the garage – and at the lower end of a sloped yard.

The drain prevents flooding and, instead, redirects water away from the house and yard. If there’s a nearby storm drain, your French drain can redirect water to there. Otherwise, a nearby ditch will do just fine.

When Is It Needed?

If you’re experiencing any kind of flooding or pooling because part or all of your yard or driveway is sloped, you can benefit from a French drain. These are especially valuable to people with a sloped driveway that leads to their garage flooding repeatedly. To prevent this, and prevent long-term damage to the garage and its contents, a drain should be installed in front of the garage door.

If your yard is the victim of flooding, a French drain can be installed at its low point. We can even cover the drain in gravel or garden rocks to make it function like an accessory to your garden. There’s no reason your drain should detract from the overall appearance of your yard.

How Is It Installed?

What is the installation process like? It depends on where it’s being installed.

If your French drain is being installed in your yard, the process is fairly simple. We’ll start by digging a trench the length of the future drain. We’ll also need to dig a trench where any drainage pipe is laid. The drain will be installed in the trench. The drain is shaped kind of like a trough with a grate on top. This grate can be covered with decorative stones or large enough gravel.

Installing a French drain at the base of a driveway is a bit harder. A large enough part of the driveway will have to be broken apart to accommodate the new drain. Once the drain is in place, any remaining gaps can be filled with more asphalt, patched with a filler, or mended any number of ways. A drain placed at the base of a driveway can also be covered in gravel, but is just as well left completely uncovered. The benefit to covering it in gravel is that the drain is less likely to build up sediment that can get caught in the gravel like a filter.

How Can I Get a French Drain in Toronto?

If you’re looking for a French drain to be installed somewhere in Toronto, POM Waterproofing is here to help. Give us a call and we can give you a visit to work up a price estimate. We look forward to hearing from you and improving your yard’s drainage!

How to Fix Basement Wall Crumbling

If your basement wall seems to be crumbling, it’s a sign that you need to take immediate action. Basement wall crumbling may seem minor at first – just some small bits of sediment found at the base of the wall. However, if left unmanaged, you may soon find larger pieces of stone or cement that have fallen away from the wall. What causes this? How do you fix basement wall crumbling? Let’s take a look.

Water Erosion

The short answer is that basement wall crumbling is caused by water erosion. Where is the water coming from? The answer is: probably outside. You may not ever see the water with your eyes, but it’s there. Even in homes without basement moisture problems, water can leak through the wall, eroding the cement or stone, and then evaporate when it reaches the interior. When that happens, it does damage to the wall without you ever seeing it.

Exterior Moisture and Water

Exterior moisture and water do two different things. If you’re noticing basement wall crumbling, but not any leaks, you probably just have damp earth around your basement walls. The moisture in the soil erodes away the cement or stone walls. However, if you’re noticing leaks in the basement, or a layer of damp on your basement walls, you likely have water pooling against the walls. 

Soil that’s more wet than damp means higher likelihood of basement leaks. This water sits against the basement wall, searching for a way in. When it finds one, pretty immediately, it will push its way through, damaging the walls very slowly and then invading your home in the form of a leak.

Exterior Basement Damp Proofing Vs. Exterior Basement Waterproofing

When the soil around your home is damp or wet, you’re presented with two options: exterior basement damp proofing and exterior basement waterproofing. The trick is knowing the difference.

Exterior basement damp proofing is meant to prevent moisture from slowly eroding your basement walls from the outside. Exterior basement waterproofing is a bit more extensive and is meant to handle higher volumes of water. This is great for houses in particularly wet areas or located at the base of a hill.

Avoid Repair from the Inside

Many people may be tempted to repair their stone or brick basement walls from the inside. After all, that’s where the walls are accessible. However, you shouldn’t try to fix basement wall crumbling by patching holes and cracks from the inside. It can actually make the problem worse.

This is because water is coming in from outside. If you patch the walls from the inside, water will still continue to get into the walls. However, with no place to escape, once it’s in the walls, it will stay there and damage them from expanding and contracting. Have you ever left an empty flower pot or bucket out in the rain? If you didn’t empty it and bring it in by winter, the water may have frozen and broken it entirely. When water freezes into ice, it expands. If this happens to the water in your walls, you can imagine how much damage will be done to your walls.

Call POM Waterproofing

If you need to discuss the possibility of future damp proofing or waterproofing for your basement walls, call us. We can talk you through the process and give you a price estimate to help you with budgeting.