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Old 04-09-2015, 04:17 PM   #1
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DYI French Drain - Help needed


I have a 33 x 10 basement room that has a dirt floor. I am planning to pour a floor, but thought I'd put in a french drain before doing so. I called up a couple of waterproofing companies and they all quoted me a ridiculous amount of money. Given that I dont have any concrete on the floor yet, Im thinking of hiring a guy to help me with the labour and do the job myself. I thought I'd check in with the experts to see if I am thinking correctly through everything. FYI... I am a first time DYIer(& a new first time home owner), but I am an engineer by education, so do know how to think logically & understandand basic laws of physics.

I attached a picture of my room, and also a picture of how I think I'd lay down the drains for this room. Please let me know what you think, and if I have this thought out correctly.

So this is my plan-
  1. Dig a trench along the perimeter 1' away from the foundation walls? (is 1 ' away correct). I'd dig an extra 4 inches deeper(than what is on the plan) so as to leave space for a bed of stone.
    - The trench should have a pitch of 1" for every 10'. So I'll start with the top most point being on the wall opposite the Sump Pit and lay down the pvc with the lowest most point being in the sump pit.(see Basement plan drawing attached)
  2. Add landscape fabric in the trench and temporarily nail the cloth to the sides.
  3. Add 4" of washed 3/4" gravel in the trench and lay the pipe and add more gravel along the sides. Remove nails & cover the fabric.
    - I am also thinking of covering the pvc's with a landscape sock as a second layer of protection(dont know where to get this).
  4. Then Im going have my concrete guy pour 4" of 3/4" gravel poured all over the floor, and pour his floor(4" thick slab").
Is my plans accurate? Am I missing anything?

Q1. Where can I buy perforated 4" PVC pipe?
Q2. How do I make the joints? Should I glue them together, does it matter? What about the top most spot, does it matter if they are joined?
Q3. Should I have any cleanouts? Wont this be a problem, since this leaves a week spot on the floor where water can come up?
Q4. I know that the drain should have a pitch of 1" per 10', but wont that mean when the drain meets the sump pit, its going to be at a certain low spot(according to my design one line of the drain will be around 8.2" below grade & the other 4.2" below grade. But the sump pit needs to be accessible from the top(after the floor is poured), so the joint cutouts will be at a particular spot! how should I manage to ensure the drains meet the pit at the exact place where the sump pit kit has its openings?
- Is my design right, what are the standards?

Please advice.


Im sorry, but I don't know how to attach pictures, so I dint attach any; will try to do so in a bit

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Old 04-09-2015, 04:21 PM   #2
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DYI French Drain - Help needed


I know that there is a no attachment policy, but how can I share the drawing with the forum members?

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Old 04-09-2015, 04:27 PM   #3
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DYI French Drain - Help needed


You can buy perforated PVC or ABS pipe at most any big box store or lumber yard. You do not need to pitch the pipe, it is very common to put perimeter drains in flat. The holes face down. The pipes do not need to be glued since there is no pressure on the joints.

Common practice is to put the bottom of the pipe approximately 8 inches lower than the floor slab. Use of a geotextile fabric around the pipe is good practice, it keeps silt from clogging the pipe. Use clean stone around and under the pipe, 3/4 inch stone is good. There are typically no cleanouts for the pipes, if you wrap them well with fabric and use clean stone they should remain serviceable for many years.

Make sure your sump pit is adequately sized for the sump pump. Make sure the outflow from the sump pump drains legally, typically to the storm sewer or street.
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:19 PM   #4
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DYI French Drain - Help needed


All good advice except the part about running the storm drain.
Most places that's no longer legal to do.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
You can buy perforated PVC or ABS pipe at most any big box store or lumber yard. You do not need to pitch the pipe, it is very common to put perimeter drains in flat. The holes face down. The pipes do not need to be glued since there is no pressure on the joints.

Common practice is to put the bottom of the pipe approximately 8 inches lower than the floor slab. Use of a geotextile fabric around the pipe is good practice, it keeps silt from clogging the pipe. Use clean stone around and under the pipe, 3/4 inch stone is good. There are typically no cleanouts for the pipes, if you wrap them well with fabric and use clean stone they should remain serviceable for many years.

Make sure your sump pit is adequately sized for the sump pump. Make sure the outflow from the sump pump drains legally, typically to the storm sewer or street.
Thanks for your valuable insights; it's very helpful.
I want aware that the perimeter drains do not have to be pitched! If that's true, I may not have to do any excavating at all...
You mentioned that the pipes only need to be at a depth of 8" from the top of the slab. Since there is no need for a pitch & since I'm planning to put 4 " of 3/4"gravel down and then pour 4" of concrete there is no need to excavate a trench. Is that correct?
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:35 AM   #6
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DYI French Drain - Help needed


Daniel's correct no need for pitch in a draintile system, water seeks it's own level. Just a few things to add:

- Buy the biggest/deepest sump crock you can find, with a sealed lid assemby.
- Make sure you have an inch or two of stone under the corrugated draintile pipe so mud doesn't "pump" up and slowly fill the pipe.
- If you don't have enough room to get a 4" (actually closer to 5" O.D.) corrugated, 3" will suffice.
- Adding 4" of clear stone under the entire floor is a good idea.
- I would consider drilling some large holes through the base of the wall to promote drainage of the exterior of the wall, if possible and feasible.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:50 AM   #7
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our systems are generally 8" high - 2" of #57 bedding stone, 4" pvc/hdpe pipe, & another 2" of cover stone,,, we line trenches w/filter cloth to prevent clogging as much as possible & we DO install 4" cleanouts when installing as its an expensive pita to do it after installation suggest zoro (ebay) for crock, ferguson supply for covers, zoeller pump ( ebay again - $125 incl frt )

if your bsmt wall is block, suggest 5/8" drain holes in ea cell incl web as previously posted NO pipe w/'sock' on it & forget the pipe w/foam peanuts,,, neither is as good however it does put more $$ in the store's pockets - your choice

NEVER install any system below the btm of the foundation as it promotes a condition known as 'scour' VERY expensive/bad

the greatest advancement in waterproofing over the last 25yrs is, impo, the 5gal plastic bucket
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:07 PM   #8
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I always pitch my pipe in a french drain because I want the water to evacuate as fast as possible. I dig the trench w/ a slope, put in 4' wide landscape cloth, put 4" of gravel in bottom, pipe in w/ holes down. GLUE THE PIPE. Fill rest of the way to your concrete line and fold over the landscape cloth. I like to use larger gravel 1"-2" washed limestone .
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:40 AM   #9
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think when i put in my 1st system 35yrs ago i thought about pitching the pipe,,, problem was that to get 1/4" in 10' it was too high on 1 end & too low on the other i don't know how to glue corrugated pipe but we'll try it today,,, water only runs downhill according to how fast it drains OUT of the pipe according to the 4th rule of water - that being ' water rushes to fill a void ! '

but we do agree on the #57 stone & white soil cloth 1 other thing - its more important to line the excavated pipe trench w/soil cloth than wrap the pipe,,, by lining the trench you use MORE cloth thereby creating a larger filter area
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:59 AM   #10
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Be sure to buy the sdr35 pipe and not the cheap stuff. The lighter weight cracks just looking at it..
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:07 AM   #11
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I just had one installed in my house -- French drain and sump. One step they did here which you did not mention: after the trench was dug out, they went around and put in weep holes in the lowest level of cinder block. It was pretty clear from the marks on the walls that I had water sitting in there. They put in 3 holes per block. Along the front of the house, water came out as soon as he made the first hole in each block . . . and this was in March! So melting hadn't started here yet. I don't know if this is standard or if it depends on the type of wall (poured concrete vs. cinder block). Just tossing it out there for you to consider.

They made the trench 18 inches deep, 8 inches wide, and as close to the walls as possible; had to move baseboard heat in one room to get in close, then put the heat line back.

I took pics of the process as they went along, you can see them in my thread here: Sump pump discharge question
You can also see the photos of how they worked around the oil tank (don't know if you have one).
You can also find vids on youtube.

They bought solid PVC and had one guy using a saw to make the wide slits every so many inches apart. And, I did not see they use any landscape cloth; but that sounds like a great idea.

Second edit: yes, here it is illegal to have it drain to the street or storm drain. They are returning once the ground has thawed to finish the outside work. They will run the pipe underground away from the house about 10 feet, then dig a large hole and fill with gravel, have the pipe end in that.

Last edited by Freedomsand; 04-11-2015 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:37 AM   #12
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Stadry,

What is "scouring"?

And when you say bottom of the foundation, you mean next to the footing? I ask because a well respected building magazine had a picture that showed the outside french drain next to the footing - as a correction picture, by the way. Is that the difference between outside and inside placements?

Thank you in advance.

I'm printing this post. Best advices on basement drain so far.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:21 PM   #13
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Best example of scouring is what the ocean does along the base of seawalls, just washes away the sand over time. In this case the worry would be having the running water wash out the dirt from the base of the foundation? Ron
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:28 PM   #14
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My foundation is poured concrete, not cinder blocks, do I still need weep holes?

Also, I'm not understanding the scouring do's/don't - is there a diagram that I can look at that explains where the placement should & should not be?

First edit: I saw this presentation on YouTube that talks about the placement of the drain relative to the footing - around the 1 minute mark...

Can you tell me of this is the right placement to avoid scouring?

https://youtu.be/vCkY6tPWWGE

Last edited by vikkid_x2; 04-12-2015 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikkid_x2 View Post
My foundation is poured concrete, not cinder blocks, do I still need weep holes?

Also, I'm not understanding the scouring do's/don't - is there a diagram that I can look at that explains where the placement should & should not be?

First edit: I saw this presentation on YouTube that talks about the placement of the drain relative to the footing - around the 1 minute mark...

Can you tell me of this is the right placement to avoid scouring?

https://youtu.be/vCkY6tPWWGE


Unless you live in a costal area, or your house is on piles I doubt you have to worry about scouring.

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