Are interior French drains effective?

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at both: the pros and cons of having interior French drain systems.

This information gives you the opportunity to compare the upsides and downsides to know if it’s worth installing. As you read on, you’ll be able to make up your mind with the information provided.

Pros and Cons Of Interior French Drains

Interior French drains are efficient moisture control systems installed in homes with basement water issues.

These are either included during home constructions or later added when remedying basement water problems. This moisture control system offers loads of benefits to homeowners.

While that is true, it isn’t without its own downsides.

About Interior French Drains

As the name suggests, French drains are installed mainly to fix interior moisture issues most common with basements and foundations.

Areas that get a lot of rain are the hardest hit when it comes to moisture problems. To resolve such, interior French drains are installed to channel out moisture.

The French drain system includes a perforated pipe through which water enters in. The perforated section of the pipe faces upwards and is covered by porous materials like crushed stone or gravel.

Apart from allowing water to flow into the pipe, these porous materials help filter out mud particles from clogging up the pipe.

The perforated pipe leads into a collection pit where the water is emptied and subsequently pumped out when a particular volume is reached.

The French drain features a trench of about a foot wide with equal depth. This trench holds the drainage pipe and the gravel covering it.

Depending on the nature of your basement’s moisture condition, an interior French drain may be installed along the basement’s interior perimeter. Of course, it is found below ground level.

Interior French drain designs usually require framing of the walls on the inside of the drain.

This might reduce your basement’s square footage, but it serves the purpose of excluding the drain channel from your living space.

Having discussed the basic functioning and installation of an interior French drain, we’ll now shift our focus to the pros and cons of having this waterproofing system installed.

Two Sides to Having an Interior French Drain

One of the primary decisions you’ll have to make as a homeowner is finding out if a waterproofing system is worth having. French drains are easily among the best systems you’ll find.

Knowing the positives and negatives of the interior French drain system will have an impact on your installation decisions.

i. Pros of Interior French Drain

There are several obvious benefits to point out with interior French drain systems.

They include being cost-effective for certain types of installations, effectively reducing hydrostatic pressure on foundation walls and basement floors, and generally fixing your moisture issues.

An interior French drain helps improve the value of your property and prevents moisture damage from happening or continuing. Merely stating these benefits won’t do justice to our discussion.

For more details, let’s discuss each of these for better understanding.

  • Cost-Effective for Certain Types of Installations

Installing interior French drains tends to be cost-effective for certain types of installations.

Basically, there’s a fresh installation that is incorporated into a structure during construction. The second type involves fixing a leaky basement.

Here, the former tends to be more cost-effective than the latter.

In most cases, it will require only a little increase in the cost of construction. You might end up adding about $1,500 to $2,000 to the total construction costs for your project.

This is a rough reflection of the costs you’re likely to incur by having an interior French drain added during your home’s construction.

  • Reducing Hydrostatic Pressure

A clear benefit of interior French drains is the ability to reduce hydrostatic pressure on your basement floor and walls. This problem is common when there are no waterproofing measures to channel out water.

Water saturated soils around your home eventually create more complex and serious moisture problems.

  • Resolving your Moisture Issues

With proper installation performed, interior French drains tend to put an end to moisture issues within a home.

The job needs to be properly done to have any real benefit to the homeowner. That is why it’s best to have a professional contractor handle all your moisture needs.

  • Improving the Value of your Property

By fixing your home’s interior moisture issues through French drain installation, its value increases.

This is especially meaningful to people seeking to put their property on sale in the future. As the problem is resolved, you can sell your home at a higher price than you would if the problem wasn’t fixed.

  • Preventing Moisture Damage

The ultimate goal of installing a French drain is to keep out moisture from your home.

A good installation job helps you achieve just that. By preventing moisture damage, you also ensure the protection of your investment.

The lifespan of your home isn’t affected.

ii. Cons of Interior French Drain

Just as there are multiple pros to having an interior French drain installed in a home, certain downsides are also common.

Clear examples of these include the likelihood of more expensive costs, and might only fix a part of the problem. Just as we did with the pros, let’s discuss each of these downsides.

  • Likelihood of Expensive Repairs

Adding an interior French drain during construction tends to lower installation costs significantly.

However, things are a lot different when dealing with existing basements. In other words, a lot of adjustments are needed. These may require breaking through concrete among others.

The size of your basement will also play a role in determining installation costs. You might end up paying anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 or more for this procedure.

  • Might Only Fix a Part of the Problem

There’s no certainty that a French drain will address all of your interior moisture issues.

This is mostly true when the installation isn’t performed by a pro. So, you might have successfully fixed groundwater seepage but still have water coming in through cracks on walls.

These are the common benefits and disadvantages of interior French drain installation. This moisture control system is mostly beneficial but has a few drawdowns.

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