INTERIOR FRENCH DRAINS

How are these pictures related?

Henry Flagg French was the father of the modern French Drain.  He was also the father of the Head Sculptor for the Lincoln Memorial!  So every time you visit Washington, D.C., or watch the July 4th fireworks on TV, you can feel good knowing that your dry basement has a very patriotic history.

Henry French struggled, as all New Englanders did at the time, with a constantly wet and damp basement.  This became more than just a nuisance for Henry.  His wife died from consumption (tuberculosis), and Henry felt strongly that it was caused by contaminated air caused by the constant presence of water and moisture in the basement.   After his wife died, Henry worked for many years to find a solution.  He even traveled to Europe in his quest, which was no easy task back then.  After years of searching, trial and error, he came up with the basis for what we know today as the modern French Drain.   So our industry was started out of an act of love by a heartbroken widower.   To learn more about the history behind today’s modern French Drain, I encourage you to read “French Drains for Health” by Stephen Andras.   (available on Amazon.com)  Stephen is a fellow member of the Basement Health Association, and has done almost as much research on the history of the French Drain as Henry French did on the invention of the French Drain.

The Nuts and Bolts

There aren’t any actual nuts or bolts involved in a typical French Drain installation.   It is important to realize that not all waterproofing companies install their systems in the same way.  There are 3 basic types of systems that are commonly used today.

Above Floor Systems

(commonly called Beaver Dam systems)
these systems are essentially plastic (sometimes metal) flashing that is glued to the wall and floor.  Any water coming in through the wall joint or through weep holes drilled above floor level has to work it’s way along the floor surface all the way to the sump pump.   The adhesive is the key to this system.  As long as the glue holds up, you are ok.  But generally speaking, water will ALWAYS win.  The Grand Canyon is there for a reason.  Water is consistent, relentless, and will eat away at anything in it’s path.  This system is fighting against physics, rather than working with physics.  Once the glue erodes in even 1 small spot, you’ll have water on the floor again.

Above Footer Systems

(shallower and narrower than proper French Drain systems)
Above Footer Systems have the advantage of requiring less digging and removal of old materials, and less installation of new materials to install.  Thereby offering a quicker, and possibly (but not always) cheaper solution.  However, there are a few problems with Above Footer Systems.

A) They will only catch water once is has raised above the footer, which is typically only  3-4″ below floor level.  At that height, capillary action can suck water and moisture through the basement or crawlspace floor.

B) There is little or no gravel installed to act as a filter against clogging from silt.  Drainage systems only work when they are clear.  Gravel is a key ingredient in making sure systems stay clear and allow water to flow.  The less gravel, the more likely a clog will occur.

C) Capacity.   A typical above the footer system is less than 3″ deep and 4″ wide.  Based on a 100 linear foot basement, that would equal 14,400 cubic inches of capacity.   Our French Drains are 15-18″ wide and  a minimum of 12″ deep (usually more), which would equal 237,600 cubic inches of capacity.  A typical above the floor system has only 6% the capacity of our French Drains.

Next to Footer Systems
(Most Popular System)

(more commonly called French Drains)
Different companies have different standards for their French Drain installations.  Our standards have evolved over 50+ years of experience.   Our systems are typically  15″-18″ wide and go as deep as the bottom of the footer.  (NEVER below)  We then line the bottom of the trench with geotextile fabric.  After that comes a 2-3″ layer of Pea Gravel.  Then we lay a 4″ perforated PVC pipe on top of the Pea Gravel.  Then we fill the trench with 3/4″ clean crushed stone.  On top of the stone we lay a piece of Mira-Drain drainage board roughly 6″ over the trench, and bend it roughly 6″ up the wall.  We then install HDPE sheeting approximately 18″ up the wall and lay it over the Mira-Drain.  We seal the HDPE to the wall, preventing any water vapor or Radon from escaping into the basement through our system.  Finally we recement over top of the trench back to the original floor level.   The entire systems feeds into a bucket called a ‘crock’ which is 22″ wide x 24″ deep.  Inside the crock we install a heavy duty, cast iron, commercial grade sump pump ranging anywhere from 1/3hp all the way up to 1hp, depending on the need.  Battery Backup Systems are also installed, when desired by the customer.

French Drain Installation

The video below depicts a French Drain installation. The video is over 10 years old, and there are a some differences in the installation techniques since then,  but the basic concept remains the same.  (new video is coming soon)

Sump Pumps

We offer several different models, sizes, and brands of sump pumps to meet your budget, and requirements.
Listed below are all the different options currently available.

Our Glentronics pumps include:

• Pro-Series Remote Notification
• Dual Float Switch
• Dual Float Controllers
• Pump Alternator Controller
• G/Wh – Gallons Per Watt-Hour
• Pro-Series Primary Sump Pumps
• Pro-Series Backup Sump Pumps
• Pro-Series Combination Pumps
• Pro-Series in the Media

(commercial division of Wayne Pumps)
The Blue Angel systems we use are pre-configured bundles that combine both a 1/2 hp primary pump, and a Battery Backup System.  The combined output capacity of these pumps together is nearly 5000 gallons/hour at a 10′ system head.  We offer 2 different versions of these systems.  The standard version is the BSSF30.  We also offer the BSSM45,  a ‘smart’ version of the same system with a ‘Sump Minder’ notification system.  The ‘Sump Minder’ monitors several different pump conditions, and calls your phone if it detects a problem so that you can address it BEFORE water ends up on the floor.  Click the link below to see a quick video of  how the sump minder works. http://youtu.be/tHeujYNvPik
Pros: great output capacity at an affordable price.   Sump Minder ‘smart’ pump system.

cons: shuts off in extreme heat conditions.  Not a good choice for high volume situations.  (pump cannot run 24/7)

We also offer the Champion CPS3V.  These are low amp pumps (4 amps) that reduce operating temperature and allow for longer run times.  This is a good choice for high volume situations when the pump may need to run non stop for 24 hours or longer.  The output capacity for this pump is 2400 gallons/hour at a 10′ system head.
pros: good output capacity.  low amps/operating temperature.  good for extended run times.

cons:  separate battery backup systems not available.  Requires separate brand, or battery inverter.

Battery Backup Systems

Coming Soon