A “French” Solution for Baltimore Waterproofing

yard water drainageThis June has been extraordinarily wet. According to the monthly summary on Weather.com, we’ve seen more than 8 inches of rain so far, compared to an average rainfall of 3.46 inches for this time of year.

Has this deluge brought moisture seeping in through the walls or the floor of your basement? If that’s the case – or if you’re concerned that the next rainfall will leave your basement damp and moldy – it’s time to take a look at some possible solutions for waterproofing in Baltimore.

There are several ways to keep your basement dry even if the water table is high. When our experts come to your home, they may suggest some interior waterproofing steps or some exterior waterproofing techniques such as the installation of exterior French drains. While you may have heard of this type of drainage, you may not understand exactly what it is and how it will work for you.

French drains have been used in the U.S. dating back at least to mid-19th century. (As a matter of fact, this type of drainage didn’t get its name from the European country; it was named for an American, Henry Flagg French, who wrote a book about the drainage system he used on his farm back in 1859.) The purpose of this kind of drain is to keep the foundation of a home dry by channeling ground and surface water away from the walls. Exterior French drains are often used for basement waterproofing in Baltimore.

To build a French drain, your waterproofing contractor will need to determine where you’re having the problem with standing water. When we’re talking about wet basements, this is usually some place very close to the foundation walls of the house. Next, you’ll have to determine where you want the water to go on your property. This location should be at least slightly downhill from your drainage area, since you’ll be relying on gravity to help direct the excess water away.

The route for your drainage trench should be as free as possible from obstructions like trees, fences, shrubs, etc. The job will go a lot faster if workers don’t have to stop constantly to remove roots from the excavation area.

Figuring out the dimensions and location of the drainage trench is a skill based on knowledge of soil, the slope of the land, and the water table. That’s why it’s a good idea to rely on an expert Baltimore waterproofing contractor to handle the job. You want to be sure that the drain has the depth and the width necessary to get the moisture away from your foundation walls.

Although construction techniques can vary, generally your basement waterproofing contractor will fill the ditch with a gravel bed a few inches thick, place a perforated pipe on top of that gravel and then lay several more inches of gravel on top. Placing a cloth filter (like landscape cloth) on top of this final layer of gravel will allow the ditch to be backfilled with soil while preventing that soil from clogging the gravel or the pipe.

When it rains, the gravel and the pipes keep the water moving more freely than it would if traveling through dense soil. Your basement stays dry because there’s reduced water pressure on the foundation walls.

Give us a call today if you’d like more information about French drains or other waterproofing solutions. We’ll explain how we can keep your basement dry – even if we get several more inches of rain this summer.