French Drain vs. Surface Drain: Which Is Better?
If you live in Louisiana you know that when it rains, water logging can be an annoying issue. Stagnant water pooled in your yard can be a sore sight as well as a breeding area for mosquitos and the diseases they carry with them. Worse yet, the foundation of your home can be affected when water doesn’t drain well. We will cover more on this last aspect later in the article.
But did you know why this problem is particular to our part of the country? The clay and silt soil of the southeast United States doesn’t allow water to easily drain into the ground. When it rains, water accumulates in yards because the soil is incapable of absorbing the water.
There are primarily two ways that yards can be drained of excess water. One way is using what is called a French Drain.
A French Drain is defined by Wikipedia as the following:
A French drain is a trench covered with gravel rock containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and ground water away from an area. A French drain can have perforated hollow pipes along the bottom (see images) to quickly vent water that seeps down through the upper gravel or rock. Pre-engineered French drain systems that eliminate the need for gravel and rock have become increasingly popular since their introduction over 40 years ago. The common features of these systems include a lightweight gravel substitute that is wrapped around perforated corrugated pipe and covered with commonly used filter fabric.
These drains work relatively well for only a short period of time. However, there are some caveats. The piping used for a French drain is normally a corrugated pipe that has slits cut in it so that the water may travel in and out of the pipe. The pipe can be flattened by a 100 pound man standing on it and the slits offer full access for any roots. In such water soaked areas, the earth also is fluxing and moving creating problems for the thin pipes. The other major problem with the French drains is the installation itself. Many people inaccurately believe that it is easy to self-install a French drain. For a French drain to work properly, several important factors need to be met in the installation process -or the water logging will just return after a couple of years. To have any type of drainage system installed, it is best to contact a professional company that knows what they are doing.
The other option available, and the option that is recommended by Mock Plumbing, is to install surface drains that catch the water at low points in the yard and divert that water using a Sch 40 PVC pipe. Sch 40 PVC pipe may seem like a bit of over kill to some, but consider the cement walkways you have seen lifted by the consistent force of tree roots… or the potential for some heavy machinery to be used in your yard above the drainage piping. You will have drainage problems immediately again in that situation. In contrast, surface drains can be attached to Sch 40 PVC pipes wherever excess water tends to accumulate. The water is then diverted out to the sidewalk or the street and empties into the storm drains. In our experience, these systems work very well, much better than french drains do. PVC pipes also resist the roots of shrubs and trees better than thinly corrugated French drain pipes.
Now, Let us focus on the all-important topic of water affecting your home’s foundation. Where does the water go when it leaves your home? Into the ground of course! But if excess water accumulates anywhere near your foundation, you are in for trouble. Over saturation of the ground with water is one of the leading causes of foundation cracks and water seepage into any basement or crawl space area. This can lead to foundation shifts and breakages of water pipes in the slab or foundation, which will certainly cost you thousands to repair. This scenario is also possible if you have a badly graded lawn that is moving water towards your house. If this has been happening for a while, you want to get the water logging taken care of as soon as possible!
There is no one solution for solving drainage problems. Therefore it is critical that you hire a company that has experience in designing drainage systems come out and do an evaluation, making sure they are a company that will stand behind their work. Mock is that type of company. Call us today if you are experiencing drainage problems. We’ll help dry you out.
If you are in the Sugar Land area and need help with a plumbing, drain, or sewer issue, contact Mock Plumbing Repairs for help. We are proud to be able to offer expert advice to our customers, regardless of what plumbing question they have.