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JetsMets77 03-06-2008 10:39 PM

French Drain in Basement
Hi all. I purchased my first house a few months ago and the first thing I did was google "home improvement forum". I've gotten some great tips by simply doing forum searches over the past 5 months.

However, this is the first time I've felt the need to register and post a question because this time I'm not doing the work (I have a broken collarbone). I recently hired a contractor to install a french drain in my basement. He's done two things that I found a little odd:

1) In the PVC pipe, he has the holes facing down
2) He has not lined the trench with fresh gravel. Instead, he has tried to re-use the gravel that was dug up from the trench. He was planning on putting some fresh gravel around the pipe, but not underneath.

Now, I guess it may not matter which way the holes are facing, but I would think that you cannot surround the holes with dirt. Wouldn't that cause the holes to eventually plug up or for a lot of dirt to enter the pipes? It would seem to me that if he wants to put the holes face down, then he should at least put a few inches of gravel underneath it.

I've already argued (politely) with him and I get the "this is the way I've done it for 10 years and I've never had a problem with it".

Assuming the holes are face down, should I insist that he put gravel underneath the pipe? And if he uses a few inches of fresh gravel underneath the pipe, how bad would it be to fill the rest of the trench with the dirt and gravel that was dug up when digging the trench? Remember this drain is in the basement, not outside.

Thanks in advance. I hope that eventually I have the knowledge to help someone else on this forum. I've already gutted 4 rooms from floor to ceiling, previously having absolutely zero knowledge about home remodeling....thanks in large part to this site and links that were provided from posters on this forum.

New York

AtlanticWBConst. 03-07-2008 04:40 AM

Hope this answers "some" of your question: - "Perforated 4 inch PVC, or similar plastic pipe, should then be placed and connected together on top of the crushed stone with the holes facing downward. It is important for the holes to face downward as water tables build from the bottoms up." ....
....With the piping installed, the pipe should be covered with an additional 1-2 feet of crushed stone, less as you work your way out towards the end of the trench.

skymaster 03-07-2008 07:30 AM

Atlantic; Shouldnt you also cover the piping in landscape fabric before you put the soil back over it?

JetsMets77 03-07-2008 07:30 AM

Almost all articles, including that one, give advice on installing a french drain on the outside of the house. Mine is in the basement. Holes down would make sense to me outside, where you're digging down a lot deeper below the foundation. Holes up or holes down probably doesn't matter...I've found half the articles say to always have the holes face up so maybe its just a preference thing.

I'm more worried about the gravel. I don't want to finish the basement and then in 5 years have to tear it up because the pipe is mucked up with dirt. I've asked him to at least put fresh gravel underneath the pipe so that the holes don't take in dirt.

Bondo 03-07-2008 08:58 AM


You seem to be obsessing with the Holes Up, or Holes Down thing,......

If the holes are Up,.... The water table has to be 4" Higher before any drainage occurs,.... That'll cause the pipe to rise up thru the dirt over time, as in esence, it'll be Floating at times.......
And,.... Your's will be under concrete,.. No water coming from Above.....
The holes Down will also help the pipe clear it self of mud,+ debris.... As well as stop the Dirt,+ Debris from falling into the pipe thru the holes from above it...
If your that concerned about it Mudding up,...
Just wrap the whole thing in Mud Barrier Fabric as noted by Skymaster.....
1 more thing,.....
By putting stone Under the pipe, you create a cavity that water will lay in because it'll be too low to get into the pipe,+ drain away.....
Compacted dirt will force the water to flow into the pipe....

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