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How to install a French Drain
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Well, first of all, you need about three or four young guys that don't mind getting dirty.  After that, you'll need something to hold all that dirt and concrete you'll be hauling (by hand) up from the basement.  The truck in this picture is just about full after doing my customer's basement.

The buckets are used to excavate the dirt, transport the pea gravel and also the concrete for the final finish.   Here, you'll notice the buckets
The cup runneth over...
are filled with the pea gravel used to fill in the trench after the pipe has been installed in the trench.  Most of the time these jobs are hard labor, experience-intense and best done by true professionals.

Our customer has had an ongoing water problem for years, so the remedy was an inside French drain.  Once on the job, we tried to follow the progress of our favorite waterproofer, American Waterproofing in Berlin, New Jersey.  This was not easy.  These guys work FAST!  We did get a few pictures which may help you to understand how a French drain is supposed to work.

After using a jack hammer to cut the concrete floor, a trench is excavated next to the wall, around the perimeter of the basement large enough to hold the drain pipe.  The drain pipe is wrapped with a filter material to retard incursion of dirt and sediment.

Next, the pea gravel.
.... At which point, the trench is then filled with pea gravel to cover the pipe.

After the trench is filled with gravel, concrete is applied to blend into the existing floor.  The pros do a good job here, they can make it almost invisible.
concrete edge finished

ceramic tile floor
ceramic tile floor
tile restored

Even a ceramic tile floor can be dealt with.  The operator cut the tiles flush with the tile edge and has made a special effort to allow the homeowner to easily restore the tile floor.

NOTE:  Unfortunately, we have no expertise in the construction of French drains, so I cannot advise you as to how these are constructed.  In my experience, I have found that an experienced installer is usually preferable to a do-it-yourself method, especially when it comes to having unexpected problems. Get several bids, check the BBB and try and make sure you have a trustworthy contractor.

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