French Drain Success, Information, Photos, French Drain Design

Posted: July 7, 2020 in french drain
Tags: , ,

French Drain Success

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair

Recently we installed a French Drain that ran parallel between two houses in Moore Oklahoma.  We also installed a French Drain under a walkway to a pool in Choctaw.

French Drain walk way

French Drain Installed along and under walk way to pool.

As you can see, we installed a French Drain under the left edge of the walk way.  The stones and gravel were temporarily removed while the French Drain was installed. Then the walk way was put back on top of the French Drain.

Finished French Drain

Completed French Drain under walk way

Yesterday it rained very hard on the walkway in Choctaw.  We received a text from the home owner.

text drain

Text and photo of French Drain

 

Before we installed the French Drain, our customer told us that the walk way to the pool typically stood in 6 inches of water after even a small rain.  The water would pool on the right side and stay there for a long time after the rain had gone.  As you can see in the text pic, there is very little water standing while it is raining, and when the rain stopped, the water was gone completely.

Our customer in Moore also sent us a text as well.  He had standing water between his house and his neighbors.  His neighbor did not have any gutters which made the water problem worse.  We installed a French Drain running down the property line between the two houses.  We connected the customer’s gutters directly into the Drainage System with 4 inch gutter connections.  Had the neighbor had gutters, we would have connected them as well.  The French Drain transitioned to a solid drain pipe which ran across the front yard, under the sidewalk to the street.  We cut the curb and installed a curb outlet.

new curb outlet

Curb outlet with more than 6 inches of fall

 

DRAIN TEXT

DRAIN TEXT

Drainage Systems can be made up of one drain or a combination of many drains.  Drainage  problems can be very complex.   Complex Drainage Problems may require a combination of several different types of drains all inter-connected and working together.  Other times the drainage problem may be simple and straight-forward requiring only one drain or several of the same type of drain connected together.

An example of a complex drainage system would be:  A French Drain in the back yard connected to a Surface Drain near a flower bed connected to several gutter downspouts, which are connected to a Channel Drain going across a driveway, which is connected to additional Surface Drain in the front yard, which runs to a Curb Fitting that lets all the water drain out on to the street.

A simple Drainage System might consist of a Surface Drain that is connected to a second Surface Drain which runs to a Pop-up Emitter which lets water drain over the curb and into the street.

An “Exit Point” is the term used for where all the water leaves the Drainage System.  Determining the Exit Point is very critical.  It is one of the first things we do when diagnosing a Drainage Problem.

Drainage Systems can:

1.  Keep water away from foundations — A French Drain is best because it can move Surface Water and Sub-Surface Water (water moving under ground) away from the foundation.  Many times less experienced companies install Surface Drains to keep water away from foundations.  This can be a big mistake.  A Surface Drain can’t move or drain Sub-Surface Water.   Also A Surface Drain often can’t move enough water fast enough and easily becomes overwhelmed during a heavy rain.  A Surface Drain also can’t cover or protect a broad enough area. Surface Drains should be designed in a Drainage System to be located in smaller Drainage Areas moving moderate amounts of water.  Surface Drains look better than French Drains.  If ,”appearance” is more important than Drainage Capacity, Go with the Surface Drain.  Just know what you are getting into and what your expectations should be. One side of a foundation alone,  can be over 100 feet.  A 4 inch or 6 inch French Drain is best when protecting a large area such as a foundation.

Surface Drain Installed next to sidewalk in Oklahoma City.
Surface Drain Installed next to sidewalk in Oklahoma City.

2.  Keep water away from small or enclosed areas.  This might be a low area just through a gate on the side of a house, or the low area between a flowerbed and the wall of a house, or standing water on or near a sidewalk or driveway.  These types of Drainage Problems are best served with Surface Drains.  A Surface Drain can move water away from a low area that is relatively small.  This can occur in yards, flowerbeds, sidewalks and driveways.  A Surface Drain is designed to move Surface Water away from a problem area to a predetermined exit point.  Surface Drains are available in many sizes.  How quickly they remove standing water is usually determined by the size of the Drain Pipe that is connected to the Drain.

Surface Drain Installation in Norman
Surface Drain Installation in Norman
 

We install Drains in lots of places including, Yards, Flower Beds, Driveways, Sidewalks, and next to Swimming Pools.

Surface Drain Installation in Oklahoma City
Surface Drain Installation in Oklahoma City

Just what is a “French Drain?”  Many times people incorrectly use the phrase, “French Drain,”  to apply to many different types of Drains that could be used in a Drainage System.  The term is widely used and many times incorrectly connected to “Surface Drains,” or “Channel Drains.”

A Surface Drain has a grate that sits on top of a basin.  The basin is underground.  A Drain Pipe is connected underground to an outlet on the Drain Basin.  Storm-Water Drains through the grate into the Drain Basin.  Once in the Drain Basin, water travels out of the basin through a Drain Pipe.  The Storm-Water continues downhill in an underground Drain Pipe to an exit point.

THIS IS NOT A FRENCH DRAIN!

Surface Drain may come in many different shapes or sizes.  The Drain Grate may be round or square.  Here is a picture of a common  Surface Drain.

Surface Drain and Drain Pipe

A Channel Drain is a type of Surface Drain and many times is installed in concrete across sidewalks or driveways.

Channel Drain

A  French Drain is completely different from a Surface Drain.  A basic French Drain consists of a Perforated Drain Pipe in the bottom of a trench.  The Drain Pipe should have a neoprene sock around the Perforated Drain Pipe.   This is to ensure that the Drain Pipe does not become clogged.

The dirt that was taken out to make the trench is hauled away.  It is replaced by some type of small stone or gravel depending on what is desired or available.  I prefer crushed 1 inch lime stone.  It is the most economical option in my area.  Pea Gravel or some other type of small stone can work just as well.    The lime-stone or gravel is placed in the trench on top of the perforated Drain Pipe and filled all the way to the surface (ground level).   In some cases where the French Drain needs to be deep or is being placed in sandy soil, a special trench liner must be placed in the trench before the perforated Drain Pipe or the Gravel are installed.  This helps maintain the integrity of the trench over time.  It also increases the cost of the French Drain and the amount of time to install it.  I install a trench liner in a French Drain about 20% of the time.  Most of the time a liner in not needed.

French Drain is designed to handle a large volume of water and cover a large area. The Drain is anyplace the trench goes. It has many applications and can be used in many situations.  It can be installed by itself or incorporated into a Drainage System with Surface Drains or Gutter Down-Spouts connected to it.
The main downfall of a French Drain is that they, for the most part aren’t very pretty.  They don’t look very nice in a yard once they are completed.
Depending on the area the French Drain is installed and the type of grass around the French Drain, will dictate whether grass grows over the lime stone.  Grass can grow up and through the gravel in the French Drain over time eventually covering the gravel.  This is Ok.  It won’t have a measurable effect on the performance of the drain.
DONT COVER THE GRAVEL IN THE FRENCH DRAIN WITH DIRT.  THE FRENCH DRAIN WON’T WORK IF THE TRENCH IS CLOGGED WITH DIRT.  DON’T EVEN INSTALL IT IF YOU ARE GOING TO COVER IT UP WITH DIRT.

DECORATIVE STONE CAN BE USED TO COVER A FRENCH DRAIN AND THEY LOOK GREAT AND LAST A LIFETIME.

French Drains Can Look Great!

Simply put, a Drainage System is one or a group of underground Drain Pipes that take water away from a place that has water standing on it or flowing across it.  The water that is in the problem area, can be causing damage or may be inconvenient or both.  (Usually Both)  A simple Drainage System is a Drain for the water to enter, a Drain Pipe to move the water away from the Drain, and an Exit Point for the water to be released out of the Drain Pipe.

Drainage Systems quickly can become more complicated.  Considerations must include:

How does the water get to the problem area?  There may be one or many sources.

Water Sources:

1.  It falls from the sky directly

2.  It flows down hill over the surface (surface water)

3.  It flows underground under the surface (sub-surface water)

4.  It flows from the edge of a roof ( There may be many roofs near the problem area, neighbors etc.)

5.  It flows from a gutter downspout

6.  It flows over the edge of a gutter because the gutter is too small is is clogged

7.  It flows up from the ground (seeps and springs are common in Oklahoma)

8.  It flows from a sprinkler system use ( yours or your neighbors)

9.  It flows from a leaking pipe ( water mains, water meters, water lines, sprinkler pipes, sprinkler valves)

There are other reasons for Drainage Problems, the above reasons are just the most common.

Once the number of water sources is determined, a rough estimate of the amount of water that needs to be drained away on average must be estimated.  This can be simplified down to “SMALL, MEDIUM, OR LARGE AMOUNTS OF WATER TO BE DRAINED AWAY.  You don’t have to be an engineer trying to calculate fluid dynamics.  Experience at diagnosing drainage problems helps however.  How much water needs to be moved will help determine the type and size of the Surface Drain or French Drain that needs to be installed.  It also helps to determine the size of Drain Pipe required for the Drainage System.  A good rule to follow is, “If in doubt, install a larger Drain and Drain Pipe.”  Unused Drainage Capacity is better than property damage caused by a Drain that is overwhelmed by too much water.

For home and small business use typical materials used are:

6 inch, 9 inch, and 12 inch Surface Drains

3 inch, 4 inch, and 6 inch Drain Pipes

3 inch, 4 inch, and 6 inch French Drains

French Drains move more water than Surface Drains —

French Drains move Surface Water and Sub-Surface Water

Surface Drains move Surface Water only

Surface Drains look nicer than French Drains in most cases

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair 405 203 9419 — We provide:

    French Drain Installation, Surface Drain Installation, Drainage System Installation

    Sprinkler Repair for all aspects of Residential Sprinkler Systems

    Emergency Sprinkler Repair Service, AFTER HOURS AND WEEKENDS.

 

French Drain Running Through Low Areas

French Drain with stepping stones

French Drain with stepping stones

French Drains are designed to cover large areas and move lots of water.  During a hard rain water will seep down through the gravel and into the Perforated French Drain Pipe that is buried under the gravel.  The water fills into the pipe and moves down hill to the desired Exit Point.  French Drains like the one in the picture above that are in the sun most of the day will have grass that overgrows the limestone.  The gravel will disappear over time.  The French Drain will continue to work even after the grass has grown over it.  A “Thatch Filter ” is made up of the grass that covers the French Drain.  The French Drain then has two filters.  First is the Neo-Prene Soc that comes around the Perforated French Drain Pipe.  Later when the grass grows over it, the French Drain then has a second Thatch Filter.  This ensures that the French Drain Pipe won’t clog over time with dirt, sand, or debris.  This only works with grass that does well in the sun like Bermuda or Tift.

Shade Grasses won’t grow up and through French Drain gravel.

YOU DON’T WANT TO COVER THE FRENCH DRAIN  WITH DIRT.  IT WILL GREATLY REDUCE THE DRAINAGE PERFORMANCE OF THE FRENCH DRAIN.  IT DEFEATS THE ENTIRE REASON FOR THE FRENCH DRAIN.  IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE WAY IT LOOKS AND CAN’T BE PATIENT ENOUGH TO WAIT UNTIL  THE GRASS GROWS THROUGH IT IF IT IS IN THE SUN, THEN DON’T INSTALL IT AT ALL.

IF THE FRENCH DRAIN IS INSTALLED IN THE SHADE YOU CAN USE DECORATIVE ROCK TO MAKE A FOOT PATH OR ROCK GARDEN ON TOP OF IT.  YOU ARE ONLY LIMITED BY YOU IMAGINATION.

French Drains can be decorated with many types of stone

French Drains can be decorated with many types of stone

 

clogged French Drain Pipe

result of French Drain Installed Incorrectly

Once the type and number of drains is determined and what size Drain Pipe will connect them, an exit point must be selected.  (Where is the Drainage System going to take the water to and release it?)

The Drainage Curb Fitting is installed when the desired exit point for the French Drain will release the Drainage Water into the Street.   The Drainage Curb Fitting is rectangular in shape and made to be installed through the curb.  A small section of Curb is cut out with a concrete saw.  The Section is a few inches wider than the Drainage Curb Fitting.  We then install new concrete around the curb fitting.  Once the concrete has dried, the Drain Pipe coming from a French Drain or Surface Drain is connected to the Drainage Curb fitting and then covered with dirt.

The Drainage Pop-Up Emitter is connected to the end of a Drain Pipe.  It is downhill from a French Drain or a Surface Drain.  It is a small release basin with a green pop-up lid.  When releasing water, it pops up about an inch to release the water from the French Drain or Surface Drain.  When the Storm Water has moved through the Drainage System and out of the Pop-Up Emitter, the green lid closes back to its original closed position.  The emitter is designed to release water out into a yard or down a hill or other desirable Drainage Exit Point where there is no curb.

Popup Emitter to release water from a Drainage System in Yukon.
Popup Emitter to release water from a Drainage System in Yukon.

 

 

Lawn Sprinkler Repair is one of our business focuses.   We can help with:

1. Sprinkler Controller Problems

2. Leaking Back-Flow Valves

3. Leaking Sprinkler Pipes

4.  Shorted or disconnected valve wires

5. Sprinkler Zones or Sprinkler Stations that won’t work

6. Broken Sprinkler Heads

The above are the most common problems that we deal with.

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair can help if you need to re-design your sprinkler system. If for example you are adding a swimming pool in your back yard, we can move the sprinkler heads and sprinkler pipes to fit the new dimensions of your yard. We can redesign or add-on to sprinkler systems where the home owners needs change.

 

Comments
  1. […] we installed a large Drainage System in OKC.  It was a 4 inch System using 4 inch ADS French Drain Pipe with Soc and 4 inch ADS Solid Drain Pipe.  The “Intake” of the Drainage System had two […]

  2. […] Drain also can’t cover or protect a broad enough area. Surface Drains should be designed in a Drainage System to be located in smaller Drainage Areas moving moderate amounts of water.  Surface Drains look […]

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