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Well ...

Posted by Jay J on August 31st, 2000 02:43 PM
In reply to French Drains (again) by Dave on August 31st, 2000 08:10 AM [Go to top of thread]


Water moves in mysterious ways. The closer to the house, the better because, in short, water will take the path of least resistance.

The gravel beds, underneath and around foundations, have 'air' in them. Because of that, water will tend to 'collect' there. With that in mind, that's why the drains are placed as CLOSE to the potentially problematic 'parts' of the house, i.e., the foundation. At the same time, by doing what you're doing, you can certainly reduce that potential a great deal. In your case, if the water in the 'V' were to make its way to the foundation, then putting it at the 5' point would be futile. On the other hand, if the water at the 'V' doesn't make its way to the foundation, then putting it at the 5' mark would be fine. Remember, no matter where the water 'enters' the ground, once it's in there, it's gonna take the path of least resistance. (And traveling 7' over to your foundation isn't out of the question.)

It's a tough call unless you know where the water (that collects at the foundation) is coming from. If it's coming immediately from the surface, then putting the drain as close as possible to the foundation is best. On the other hand, if the water collecting at the foundation is not coming directly from the surface, then catching it at the 'V' is fine. One way to guage the source is to determine how quickly water collects at the foundation, and under what circumstances.

For example, if you only get water at the foundation during/after a heavy rain, then if you get water rather quickly, then it's most likely coming directly from the surface. IF, on the other hand, an hour or 2 or 3 or more goes by whereas the sun is out after a heavy rain, it's likely the water is being absorbed by the ground and eventually makes its way to the foundation. It's all relative (in terms of timing.) Maybe it's a day or so before you get water. Irregardless - Determine the source of the water and that should help dictate your 'location'. AT worst, putting it at the foundation will address most all scenarios.

I know you don't want too much work. If I were you, but I'm not, but IF I were, I'd put the drain IN the 'V', and get the water out of there. This means you need to collect the water in 1 of 2 ways: Via a surface drain or via a vent that's 'connected' to a sub-surface drain. If you collect via a surface drain, the gravel runs right to the surface of the landscape, then 'down' to a perforated drain pipe. ALL of which is wrapped in Filter Fabric. This method allows water ANYWHERE in the 'V' to get to the drain very quickly. You DON'T cover the fabric/gravel with any dirt. If you collect the water via a surface vent, then the water needs to 'rise/collect' to the height of the vent (which is slightly above ground level), and then 'run into' the vent directly to a drain pipe. The vent, and the pipe it's attached to, is 'T'ed into the drain pipe. Simply put, you place the vent system at a point (or at a few points) in your underground system that runs in the 'V' at points where you want to 'collect' the water.

A few side points - If you live in a frost zone, you need to get to frost depth if you have only a slight downhill in the direction of where you're taking the water. If you're in a frost zone and you have a FAST downhill, you don't necessarily have to dig below frost ground because 'moving' water won't freeze like standing water (or slow-moving water in the 1st scenaril where you have only a slight downhill.) Of course, if you live in a climate where freezing ground is, basically, a non-issue, 18" is a good depth. Be aware of the need to drive vehicles over your 'system'. Depth and type of material come into play if this is a reality.

I'm sure I can say more but I'm getting 'winded'. If you have more ?'s, post up or e-mail me directly. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J

PS: A Spring issue of The Family Handyman Magazine has a very good article that might be of use to you. For the few $$$, it may be worth you money and time.
PPS: After this afternoon, I won't be back until Tuesday Morning but others are 'around' ...

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