French Drain System Installation: DIY or Hire a Pro?

French drain systems are one of the simplest and most effective ways to reroute water to keep your property dry. It is simple enough that you can even do it yourself. However, there are things you need to consider before installing a DIY French drain system. In some cases, only a professional can do the job effectively. 

In this article, we will help you understand which is better when installing a French drain system. Should you do it yourself or hire a professional to take over? Let’s get started! 

What Are the Things You Need to Consider If You Decide to Do It Yourself? 

While installing a French drain system is considered simple, there are things that you still need to be aware of to gauge if you can do it yourself or not. As a guide, here are some of the few factors you should know about: 

The Amount of Soil You Need to Excavate

When installing a French drain system, it is essential to have at least a foot-wide and eighteen inches deep ditch. That said, you are required to excavate one and a half cubic feet of soil to achieve the amount necessary for your chosen irrigation method. This process may require a lot of work if you do it by hand. But, if you can find a trenching tool for rent, it would help save time immensely. 

Normal topsoil usually weighs about 100 pounds per cubic foot, depending on the amount of water it has, giving you an idea of how much work you need to put in. So, for every ten feet you dig for your French drain, you will be moving about 1,500 pounds of soil. This case is a significant factor to think about to determine if you can do the installation yourself or not. 

Legal Requirements

Before you do any digging, you need to contact the Call Before You Dig hotline at 811 first to ensure that the underground you will dig will be marked. If you have failed to reach out to them and start operating, you may face major gas lines and other dangerous underground utility issues. 

Which Is More Expensive?

DIY installation of the French drain may seem inexpensive. However, you need to factor in the materials you require to install it. To make it possible, you must spend money on the drainpipe, gravel, and a shovel. To save time, you might as well opt for renting a trenching tool that may cost $125 to $200 per day. If you have no idea how to operate the trenching device, you also need to rent an operator, which may cost an hourly rate of  $300 to $1,500. 

That said, installing a French drain yourself may be more expensive than hiring a professional. Depending on an expert will not only save you money but also your time. 

Why Hire a Professional Instead?

Aside from the fact that you can manage your time and money, a professional has the knowledge and experience to install French drain systems. They can prevent you from facing unwanted hassle and inconvenience without costing you too much.  


Overall, hiring a professional may be better for you. While there’s nothing wrong with DIY, seeking an expert to install your French drain system can give you better results and benefits. They will do the job properly and will look for solutions that can help save you money. However, if you still prefer DIY solutions, consult a professional to give you some tips and tools for your French drain DIY project. 

If you are looking for french drain contractors in Van Buren Township, Sir Williams Drainage and Waterproofing Solutions is what you’re searching for! Our effective waterproofing solutions are the first line of defense to ensure that your critical areas like the basement and crawl spaces are dry and protected. Get in touch with us for your French drain installation! 

Sir Williams Gardens in Michigan can help you with your interior or exterior flooding issues.

We provide drainage, waterproofing, and landscaping services in the following towns:

  • Plymouth, MI
  • Canton, MI
  • Northville, MI
  • Novi, MI
  • Livonia, MI
  • Salem, MI
  • Farmington, MI
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Ypsilanti, MI
  • Westland, MI
  • Van Buren TWP, MI