Put the word “French” in a name and it can give cautious homeowners pause. Is it fancy? What’s something like that going to cost? But titles are often deceiving, and you could certainly say that about a French drain. For starters, a French drain is actually not from France. They are named for a Massachusetts farmer named Henry French who originated the idea.
Even still, do you need a French drain in your home? And if you do, is it worth the cost, or would it be better to go with an alternative? Let’s look into how Falcone tackles French drain installation in Charlotte, NC, and get some answers for you.
What Is a French Drain?
French drains can be internal or external, but internal drains are the most effective way to drive or divert water away from areas in your home that suffer from moisture problems. Basements and crawl spaces are some of the biggest offenders, so these are usually where homeowners install drains.
The drain collects water that runs down a slope inside your home. The drain then diverts the water from your home to somewhere else, usually a dry well or exterior drain. French drains are best in homes that experience frequent leaking, and they tend to be relatively simple to install compared to other options.
An internal French drain is like a hidden plumbing system for your home that helps keep your basement or crawl space dry. It’s installed inside the basement or crawl space and consists of a perforated pipe surrounded by gravel. This system acts like a drainage channel, collecting any water that might seep into your basement or crawl space. The collected water is then directed to a sump pump, and then away from your home’s foundation, preventing it from causing damage or flooding.
It’s a proactive solution to protect your home in Charlotte and surrounding areas from water-related issues and keep your living spaces dry and comfortable.
DIY French Drain Installation vs. Hiring a Professional
Unfortunately, so many things can go wrong when you choose to do a French drain installation in Charlotte, NC, without professional help. You need to know and comply with all the zoning regulations, understand the direction of water flow, and direct the pipe holes appropriately or you could easily damage your home’s interior, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, or anything else under the home if not careful.
If you’re a homeowner who isn’t well-versed in plumbing issues, it’s best to enlist help to avoid catastrophe. Even if you feel like you could learn or handle these things yourself, having a professional take care of them is significantly less hassle.
Here are a few of the possibilities of what can go wrong if you were to take French drain installation into your own hands. Be warned!
- Incorrectly assessing the slope and grading around or under your home can cause water to pool around your foundation, which defeats the entire purpose of installing a French drain in the first place.
- You run the risk of improperly backfilling the trench around the drain with the wrong soil or material. This could lead to settling or clogging of the drains, rendering the system useless.
- You may not be familiar with local building codes and regulations and inadvertently cost yourself more money by incurring fines.
- If you think installing a French drain is the answer and you ignore any mold or residue build-up, you may just be digging yourself a bigger hole (pun intended). You have to clean affected areas first before trying to install a solution.
Is a French Drain in Charlotte, NC, the Best Solution?
Let’s look at other popular drainage solutions and see how the French drain compares. The first is the sump pump. These machines sit in a water collection pit, (basin) and pump water out and away from your foundation. They work quite well but often need professional installation for systems to work.
Ideally, you could use pumps and drains together for an even better water management system. While French drains are just simpler, there are more chances of the system failing, or not working as intended without the addition of a sump pump. Another common drain is the basement floor drain. These work well if you want to divert water that might spill out from an internal source like a sink or washing machine. But French drains are more permanent solutions for handling the water under and around your foundation. The two types of drains don’t really serve the same function.
French Drain Installation Price
Before making significant changes to their homes, many Charlotte homeowners often consider the cost as a crucial factor in their decision. If someone were to ask the team at Falcone the price on an interior French drain installation, we would first mention the factors associated that could possibly raise or lower the cost:
- The height of the crawl space
- The square footage of the Charlotte residence
- The potential and unforeseen property issues we may encounter (we won’t know until we start digging!)
- Status of the sump pump
The cost is not always going to be exactly the same for every project, as probably expected. The most likely range would be between $3,000 and $7,000 but that is not always the case. If concerned about cost, Falcone is always open to discussing alternatives with you.
What to Expect From French Drain Installation
What should you expect when you sign up to install a French drain in Charlotte? They are far less intrusive to install in your home than you’d imagine. All installations start with assessing the area, noting where the water collects, enters, and devising the proper angles for the drain.
The installation is about digging the trench to lay the piping. Depending on how you divert the water, this could be more invasive for your home’s exterior. But generally, it won’t involve too much tearing up of the crawl space. And since time is money, that can often mean these installations are well worth the cost.
After the installation, maintenance is relatively straightforward. You generally won’t have to lift a finger unless there’s an issue in the future. But you can always discuss this with your contracting team to see if there’s anything you should focus on; all homes are different, and they may let you know of some quirks to bear in mind.
Installing a French drain typically does not require homeowners to leave their houses, and the process can be managed without significant disruption to daily life. As with all of our projects, the Falcone team will clean up our work area, ensuring there is no debris or material left over from the French drain installation. Your Charlotte home will be the safest and driest on the block!
The Final Verdict on French Drains
For homeowners in North and South Carolina, French drains are worth installing in your home. Living in an environment where moisture is always a looming threat means having solutions ready to protect your home. Nothing makes that task more straightforward than French drains; they’re reliable, discreet, and phenomenal at keeping your basement or crawl space completely dry.