6 Mistakes to Avoid When Installing French Drains

French drains, sometimes referred to as weeping tiles, may sound like sophisticated pieces of plumbing equipment, but they’re actually just ditches filled with gravel or rock and contain a perforated pipe that redirects groundwater away from your home. They’re incredibly useful for preventing surface water from damaging your house’s foundation or seeping into your basement.

Although French drains are convenient for a lot of properties, many things can go wrong when installing them. Learning about the mistakes that homeowners make will help you avoid damages and unexpected delays, so we’ll outline some of the most common (and costly) errors regarding weeping tiles:

Mistake #1: Routing Downspouts Directly into the French Drain System

French drains are equipped to handle groundwater and surface water, so routing downspouts directly into a French drain system may quickly overwhelm it and cause flooding. It’s best to first install catch basins before the drain fields, then tie the French strain into the basin. Doing so will help prevent floods and allow you to clean out debris that can clog the system.

Mistake #2: Forgetting to Place a Drain Pipe

Drain pipes are essential to any French drain system, as these devices allow the structures to handle heavy water flow, such as during rainstorms. They also allow for the rerouting of idle surface water, making the systems more efficient in preventing pooling. 

Drain pipes for French drain systems are typically 4–6” in diameter and have perforations in them. It’s best to place them right away instead of waiting for a storm to flood the property and learning their importance the hard way.

Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Drainage Rocks

Some homeowners seem to think that all types of gravel are the same when it comes to French drain systems, but various forms of drainage rocks have different properties. The ideal gravel to use for French drains would be round rocks about 1 ½” in diameter. These ones will promote more efficient water flow, and you also do not have to worry about small pieces chipping off and clogging the drains.

Mistake #4: Not Noting the Direction of Water Flow

Before installing French drains, you have to note the direction of water flow when it rains. Assess which areas are prone to flooding and pooling, and ensure that the system redirects water away from your property.

Mistake #5: Not Assessing the Slope

French drains need slopes that descend at a rate of 1% to work efficiently, but the slope could also be steeper. However, steeper slopes create more velocity, and erosion will be more likely. It may be best to leave this for the professionals to assess.

Mistake #6: Overlooking Zoning Regulations

Sometimes, homeowners overlook zoning regulations and install French drains without knowing whether or not they will impact surrounding properties. As a result, they may face litigation and hefty fines. It’s always best to review community rules, zoning laws, and building codes before proceeding.

Hire Professional French Drain Installation Services in Michigan

French drains are convenient equipment to place on a property, but many things can go wrong when installing them. It’s best to keep these mistakes in mind to avoid damaging your property, facing legal trouble, or paying additional costs. Of course, it also pays to hire professionals who have years of experience in the trade!

If you’re looking for French drain installation services in Belleville, Van Buren Township, and Sumpter, MI, call Sir Williams Drainage and Waterproofing Solutions. We’ll provide you with a range of quality landscaping and maintenance services across Southeastern Michigan. Contact us today!

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