Posts Tagged ‘French Drain Information’


Harsh weather in Oklahoma seems to becoming more common.  In 2013,  Norman Oklahoma had 4 inches of rain in two hours.  That’s the most rain in a short time that I can remember.  Storm-Water runoff can cause damage to all types of property and buildings.  Water getting inside your house is never a good thing.  A Drainage System that utilizes a French Drain can help.

French Drain protects sidewalk
French Drain keeps water off of sidewalk

Drains can protect your home and property from water damage. Large 6 Inch French Drain Installed in Norman

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.

Sump Pump Installation

Sump Pump Installation

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.

Gutter to French Drain
Connecting Gutter to French Drain

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.

Drain connection to gutter

Gutter Connected to Drain

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

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

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.Cutting The Curb and Installing Curb Fitting for French Drain

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.

Drainage System installation and design is a big part of our business.  Does your sidewalk turn into a moat after a hard rain?Does part of your yard look like a pond after a thunderstorm?Worst of all, are you experiencing concrete deterioration to your foundation, sidewalk, or driveway.  Oklahoma Drainage can design a Drainage System to solve your Drainage Problems Our Drainage Systems can be simple or complex.We utilize, French Drains, Surface Drains, Channel Drains, Basin Drains, Basement Drains, Trench Drains, and Sump Pumps.  Estimates are free


Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair — Installing – French Drains – Surface Drains – Channel Drains – Sump Pumps

Providing Expert Sprinkler RepairBroken Sprinkler Pipes Sprinkler Head AdjustmentSprinkler Valve Replacement

Servicing all of Central and Western Oklahoma since 1993.

FRENCH DRAIN IN EDMOND OKLAHOMA

Surface Drain set in concrete

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler RepairFrench Drain Installation, Drainage System Design, Expert Lawn Sprinkler RepairDrain Repair 

channel drain driveway
Channel Drain set in Driveway

Recently Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repairinstalled a large 6 inch French Drain in Edmond.  The customer had water running under his back porch step and into his basement.  We did a Free Drainage Diagnostic and Estimate.  The French Drain design that we proposed would intercept the surface water and subsurface water that was flowing under the steps.  The French Drain design called for a 6 inch French Drain to be installed above and several feet away from the steps.  It would run around the house parallel to the foundation and about 5 feet to the East.  The French Drain would run past the steps to a point where water must cross the French Drain or run up hill to the steps which in this case was not possible.  Once past the steps, the French Drain would transition to Solid 6 inch Drain Pipe and continue on around the house to the Pop-Up Emitter down hill in the side yard.  Along the way we attached several Gutter Down Spouts into the French Drain.

French Drain Connected to Curb outlet

new curb outlet

Curb outlet with more than 6 inches of fall

 

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.

Drainage Systems, French Drains, Surface Drains, Channel Drains, Sump Pumps, Sprinkler Repair, with 26 years of experience. 

 

Just what is a “French Drain?” Many times people incorrectly

French Drain can protect your foundation!

use the phrase, “French Drain,” when they mean “Surface Drain” or “Channel Drain.”

 
 

A basic French Drain consists of a Perforated Drain Pipe in the bottom of a trench. The French Drain Trench runs through a Problem Drainage Area that needs to be drained.   The French Drain Pipe is perforated (Full of Small Holes) and has Neo-Prene Soc around the pipe.  This soc helps prevent debris from clogging the French Drain Pipe.

 
muddy french drain installation

Installing a French Drain in the mud

Standing water can cause a lot of damage to your yard.  The above picture was from a French Drain Installation in Oklahoma City.

Many times we wait until things dry out a bit before beginning a French Drain Installation.  Some times the water never goes away.  So we start digging in standing water and putting the mud in a wheelbarrow.   We then haul it to a dump trailer to be hauled away.  It isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Setting in the channel drain

Setting in the Channel Drain in the cut.

 

Channel Drain in Oklahoma City

Drainage System Installation in Norman


French Drain Installation Or Do You Need A Surface Drain?

Many Folks don’t know the difference.   Actually there are many differences and a few similarities.  One difference is, a French Drain takes in a larger amount of water into the drain Pipe than a Surface Drain.   A French Drain consists of water passing through gravel and into a perforated pipe below it.  The perforated Drain Pipe lies in a trench usually about 18 inches below ground but this can vary greatly depending on the variables and requirements of the French Drain.

Installed French Drain

French Drain Installed, Water is gone, just need to clean the mud off the sidewalk

A  Surface Drain is a Drain Receptacle with Grate that is connected to a solid drain pipe.

12 inch surface drain

12 Inch Surface Drain Installation

There are advantages to Surface Drains as well.

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair — Installing – French Drains – Surface Drains – Channel Drains – Sump Pumps

Providing Expert Sprinkler RepairBroken Sprinkler Pipes Sprinkler Head AdjustmentSprinkler Valve Replacement

Servicing all of Central and Western Oklahoma since 1993.

Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair recently diagnosed a Drainage Problem in  South Oklahoma City.  The Home owner had a sump Pump in their basement that was fed from a French Drain outside the Basement Wall.  The French Drain was 14 feet down along the Stem wall of the house.  The French Drain Pipe was cheap and had collapsed.  We brought in a Mini Excavator and dug up the pipe and replaced it with Durable ADS 4 inch perf/soc French Drain pipe.  In the end, we were able to dig up the pipe and Replace it.

Gutter to French Drain
Connecting Gutter to French Drain
French Drain Detail
New Trench for French Drain

Next we installed a new exit for the water by installing a curb fitting.

No more flooding in the customers basement.  A few weeks later our customer was able to lay carpet in the basement with no problems.

French Drain side of House
French Drain Installed Along Stem Wall

Installing Drainage Curb Fitting for a French Drain in South Oklahoma City

curb cement outlet

Curb Fitting with Acrylic Cement For French Drain

FRENCH DRAIN  CONNECTED TO GUTTERS

Many different types of Drains can be hooked together by one Drain Pipe.  The Drain Pipe then running to an Exit Point makes up a Drainage System.  One common type of Drain used in a Drainage System is A “French Drain.”  Many times a French Drain is installed close to a building foundation or in a low area next to a home or business.  This puts the French Drain in close proximity to Gutter Down Spouts.  Rather than have water come off the roof and out the Down Spout and on to the ground below, many times it is much better to tie a Gutter Down Spout Directly into a French Drain or near by Drain Pipe depending on the Drainage System Design.   Connecting The Down Spouts Directly into a French Drain is much  more efficient and causes suction to occur in the French Drain.  Connection of Gutter Down Spouts to a French Drain makes the Drainage System work better.

French Drain Pipe running to curb outlet in Oklahoma City.
French Drain Pipe running to curb outlet in Oklahoma City.
Drainage System Installation in Norman
Drainage System Installation in Norman

Recently Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair Installed a French Drain as part of a Drainage System in Mid West City Oklahoma.

Our customer had a back porch Sun Room.  Every time he had a hard rain, Water would run in one door and out the other.  An indoor creek across his Sun Room.

We installed a French Drain in front of the South Door.  It was 26 feet long and ran from a gutter downspout which it was connected to,  in front of the South Door and along the house covering the entire “Low” Area.  Then we connected 4 inch ADS Solid Drain pipe to the French Drain and ran down hill around the corner of the house to the street.

pipe to street

French Drain pipe running to street

Once the 4 inch solid drain pipe was connected to the French Drain and the two gutter down spouts, a pop-up emitter was installed to release the water at the street.

The next step was to cover the drain pipe with dirt and put the sod back in place on top of the pipe.   There was about 8 wheelbarrows of dirt left over that was displaced by the drain pipe and the French Drain.  The extra dirt was scooped up and hauled away.

While installing the drainage system, it was necessary to move two sprinkler heads that were in the way of the drain pipe installation.  This was no problem.  Installing drainage systems and French drains for folks who have a sprinkler system is very common.  Moving Sprinkler heads or pipes sometimes is necessary.  We always leave the sprinkler system in complete working order and we discuss any changes in the sprinkler system with the customer before we do it to make sure that everyone is on the same page.  In most cases the customer cant tell that we made any changes to the sprinkler system at all.

connecting gutter to French Drain

Connecting Gutter to French Drain

French Drain Photos and information

french drain pipe in trench

French Drain Trench

French Drain Trench

French Drain Trench

French Drain gravel

French Drain covered with limestone


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.

 


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


French Drain Installation can be tricky sometimes.  Recently we installed a French Drain in Norman with very little “Fall”.  This means that the “Intake” For the Drainage System is close to the same level as the “Exit.”  Simply Put, it is hard to make a Drain work if it isn’t ” Down Hill,” to where the water is going.

New French Drain

French Drain with very little fall

This was the Situation for the French Drain we installed last week in Norman.  The standing water was in the back yard.  There was only one direction that we could take the unwanted water to drain away.  In this case it was only slightly down hill.  The French Drain was installed at a shallow level in the back yard.  The solid drain pipe that was attached ran from the back yard, along the side of the house to a curb outlet at the street.

connecting down spout

Connecting Gutter Down Spout to French Drain Under Sidewalk

As the trench for the Drain Pipe was dug, it had to start shallow and slowly get slightly deeper as it approached the street.  This was an absolute Precision Job.  The trench could not be even an inch too deep or too shallow along its course.

At the street, a “Pop-Up” Emitter could not be used.  It would cause the water to stop flowing.  Two Install a Pop-up Emitter at the Exit of any Drainage System,  There must be at least 6 inches of “Fall” from the Drain to the Exit.

In Our Case, we only had 3 inches of fall to work with.

The solution was to Cut the curb and Install a Curb Outlet.

This process involves cutting the Curb with a concrete saw and placing a rectangular Curb outlet in the empty space.  We then put acrylic concrete around the outlet to make it look nice.

The fact that the outlet is square or rectangular is very important.

Many times I look at Round Curb outlets installed by my competitors and just shake my head!  This is a mistake.  Round Curb outlets are bad when the Drainage System is at Max Capacity and the pipe is completely full.  Air needs to be able to get into the pipe at the curb to ensure that the Drainage System can work at its Max.

The Drain will work with a Round Outlet, Just not very well.

Have you ever tried to Pour liquid out of a Jug or 2 liter bottle holding it completely upside down?

It Drains and Stops and Starts as the liquid comes out.  “It Chugs” and struggles to get air up inside the hole.  It doesn’t work very well.

A Square Outlet allows air to constantly flow into the top corners of the Curb Outlet.

As a result, Much more water is moved in the same size pipe.

new curb outlet

Curb outlet with more than 6 inches of fall


Recently we installed a Drainage System in NE Edmond.  Our customer had purchased a new home at a large discount.  The new home had sat empty for three years because of all the drainage problems on the West side of the house in the front, side, and back yard.  The builder could not sell the home.   Originally The builder of the home had installed a French Drain to solve these problems.  Whoever originally installed the system had no idea what they were doing.  There were many mistakes made!

Once the house was finally sold at a very large discount, the new homeowner hired us to come in and assess the situation.  We determined that the drainage problems could be solved.  Our quotes for drainage system installations are always free with no obligation.

Here are some of the problems we found:

  1.  A French Drain was installed, but perforated pipe was not used in the last 60 feet of the French Drain.  Crushed Limestone was used to cover the French Drain Pipe in the drainage trench, but since the pipe in the trench was solid and not perforated, the water had no way to get into the French Drain.  THIS IS LIKE PUTTING GAS INTO YOUR CAR AT THE GAS STATION BY POURING IT ON THE ROOF?
  2. In the areas where perforated pipe was used, it was installed incorrectly.  No type of filter was installed to protect the French Drain.  Neither a “Trench Liner” or a Neo-Preen soc was used to protect the perforated pipe from getting clogged.  The soil was very sandy in this NE Edmond neighborhood.  Here is the Pipe that we dug up.  Sand had completely filled the French Drain Pipe.  It was so heavy, that we had to cut it into sections just to lift it out of the trench.

    3.  Finally, the thing that left me scratching my head and made me speechless was this!  Much of the French Drain in the back yard would need to flow up hill a substantial distance to reach the exit point of the drainage system.  I can’t explain this or make it up, but somebody got paid to do this.  I’m sorry! I need to just let this go.  Anyway

     

    We ripped up all the bad French Drain Pipe that was filled with sand.  We installed perforated French Drain Pipe that had a Neo-Preen soc around it and we installed a trench liner as well.

    Our customer is very happy!  I checked on the progress of the yard drying out yesterday, a week after the install.  He now has a normal firm back yard.

    French drain gravel

    Installing gravel on french drain

    The Bermuda grass will soon grow over the trench with the limestone.  If you have read my other blogs, you know how important this is and what it means.  CATCH YOU GUYS NEXT TIME!


French Drains and all types of Drainage Systems involves digging Drainage Trenches and Installing Drain Pipes.  One issue that must be addressed is Slope or Fall” of the of the Drain Pipe in the Drainage Trench.   The Drain Pipe must run downhill to the exit point to move the water away from the problem area.

If you need to move Forward or Back in this Blog Series, Click Below:

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drain trench

Drainage Trench Running Downhill

 

Gutter to French Drain

Connecting Gutter to French Drain

In many cases slope is easy to determine if the distance from the drain to the exit is obliviously down hill.   The trouble is installing a French Drain or a Drainage System where the drain pipe is not always on a pronounced slope.  A slight slope can be hard to see. If the ground looks level then the water won’t flow very quickly, If at all.  If the entrance drain is slightly higher than the exit, say only a few inches, then the water will flow across level ground to the exit point.  Problem is, the water will move very slowly as long as water is still coming into the French Drain.  It pushes the water in front of it out of the exit very slowly.  Movement will stop when water stops coming into the Drain.  It will stay in the pipe and just sit there till the next time it rains.

If you are Installing a Drainage System across level ground, it will never drain very well.

If you are not sure if a Drainage System is possible because there might not be enough Slope,  there is a simple test you can run.  This test takes a good bit of digging.

Start digging the trench where the drain pipe will run.   Lets say for example that its about 60 feet.  Start digging where the drain will be.  Typically a 4 inch drain pipe will need to be installed in a trench 8 to 16 inches deep, depending on your needs.  Dig about 10 feet from where the drain will be toward the exit point.  Once you have dug a trench at least 8 inches deep, and about 10 feet long toward the exit,  Take a hose and place it in the trench where the drain will be installed. There should not be pipe in the trench at this time, just the empty trench.

Turn on the hose so a small amount of water is coming out.  The water will start to flow down the trench from where the drain will be, toward the exit.  Again there is no drain pipe in the trench.

trench water test

Water test for a Drain Pipe

Watch the water as it flows down the Drainage Trench.   In some areas it will flow quickly which is good.  Look for areas where water flows more slowly and begins to pool.  Once this occurs, turn off the hose and get your shovel.  With water still in the trench, dig downhill from the pooling spot.  Remove the dirt that is slowing the waters flow toward the exit.  Repeat this process until you have reached the exit point of the Drainage System.

This may seem like a lot of unnecessary work.  Believe me it is worth it.  Once the water flows at a fairly steady rate all the way to the exit, you have ” Set the Flow of the Drain.”

This process is called “Setting The flow.”

There are benefits to taking this process seriously.

First it will tell you if the flow is even possible for the Drainage System that you want to install.  If you can’t get the water to flow to the Exit Point Cover up your Drainage Trench and Consider Other Options because this particular Drainage Design will not work.  If you can redesign your system by moving your drain pipe or your exit point, then do so.  A Sump Pump may be your only option if moving the drain pipe or the exit does not improve things.   Sump Pumps will be covered in a future blog.

Second, If you were successful in setting the flow, then you will roughly know how fast the water will flow in your Drainage System.  It will give you a “Worse Case Scenario” for your Drain’s Performance.

Water will always flow better and faster and more efficiently in a Drain Pipe, than in a trench.

If the water is flowing pretty good in the Drainage Trench without a Drain Pipe in it yet, then it will flow even better once the Drain Pipe is installed.

This process is much better than blindly digging a drainage trench and installing a Drainage System.  It will keep you from installing something that doesn’t work!

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French Drain along walk

French Drain along walkway

This is a series of blogs that first explains exactly what French Drains and Surface Drains are,  and how they are used in a Drainage System.

Next, I will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks are of each type of drain and why you would use one type of drain over another in many different situations.

Last, I will explain the specifics of how to install your own Drainage System and how to diagnose exactly what type of system you need in the first place.

At the top and  bottom of every blog in this series will be a listing of all the connecting blogs that you can “Click” on to easily move back and forth through the series.

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Problem Drainage Area

This is a good spot for a French Drain

A final thought on Intakes as part of a Drainage System.  Remember, an Intake is a French Drain or a Surface Drain.  It is the part of the Drainage System that draws water into the Drain Pipe.

Once you have decided where and  how many Intakes your drainage system needs,( how many and what kind of Drains ) the next thing to think about is the Transition other wise known as the Drain Pipe.  For a typical Drainage System there are three choices of Drain Pipe by Size.  ( 3 Inch, 4 Inch, and 6 Inch )

Three inch is least expensive but can easily be overwhelmed if a large amount of water needs to be drained away.

Four inch is by far the most common.  It also can be overwhelmed if too many Intakes (Drains) are connected to it.

Six Inch Drain Pipe is almost never overwhelmed, but it is bulky and hard to work with and is by far the most expensive.

4 inch Drain pipe

4 Inch Drain Pipe before it goes in the trench

What Do I mean by overwhelmed?  It means that water is going to the Problem Drainage Area faster than the Pipe can move it away.

This is very important to some people and not important at all to others.  Here is why!

house flood

This is a great place for a French Drain

Really, think for a minute about why you want to install a Drain in the first place.

Do you want to prevent water from ever reaching Problem Drainage Area?  Or is it OK for water to reach the Problem Drainage Area and then be drained away over time.

If, for example, you are trying to protect your prize plants, you don’t want flood water reaching them at all.  Or you might be trying to prevent water from reaching part of your house because it then runs into the basement.  You don’t want water, under any circumstances,  to reach a specific spot or area.   If this is the case,  You want a

Flood Prevention System

Gutter to French Drain

Gutter Connected to High Volume 6-inch French Drain

A Flood Prevention System is actually a type of Drainage System, However the goal is different and that can change the Design.

On the other hand if you don’t mind so much if water gets into the Problem Drainage Area,  you just want it to drain away in a relatively short amount of time.   This is called a

Drainage System

If your motivation is to have a Flood Prevention System,  Then the Drain Pipe being overwhelmed is a really bad thing.  It means that your Flood Prevention System has failed.  Your Drain Pipe could not move the water fast enough to provide the Safety that you desire.   Your plants have drowned and your basement has flooded.

 

 

 

If your motivation is to have a Drainage System, Then the Drain Pipe being overwhelmed is not so bad.  Even though water is flowing into the Problem Drainage Area faster than the Drain Pipe can take it away,  The Drain Pipe is still moving a lot of water and eventually the rain will stop and the Drain Pipe will catch up.  In relatively a short amount of time, the water will be gone.

French Drain install front

French Drain Installation in Edmond

What you want, dictates how you design your Drainage System!

Drainage Systems are not as robust as Flood Prevention Systems.  A Flood Prevention System has all the same basic concepts and structure as a regular drainage system, just more!

If you want a Flood Prevention System, the goal is to intercept water before it runs somewhere.

This means:

  1.  More Intakes ( Lots of Drains) French Or Surface
  2.  Larger Drains,  6 inch French Drains, or 18 inch Surface Drains for example
  3.  Larger Transitions ( Larger Drain Pipe )
  4.  More Transitions (  More Drain Pipes )
  5.  Larger Drainage Exits
  6.  More Drainage Exits

I know we haven’t talked about Drainage Exits, but we will in the next blog.

A Drainage System is less of everything listed above.

Obviously a Drainage System is less expensive, less evasive, and easier to install.

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