Bob Vila Radio: The DIY Drain That Will Save You Thousands

Imported from Europe and popularized in Massachusetts, the French drain is a classic, low-cost solution for water pooling around your foundation or in your basement. We'll show you how to get your house back on dry land!

Runoff from rain or melted snow can cause serious damage to your foundation and basement. The best solution to lead all that water away from your home? Head to your local home improvement store for a few supplies, and dig your own French drain.

installing-french-drain

Photo: blackanddecker.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON FRENCH DRAINS or read below:

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The job is a surprisingly simple. Start by digging a trench alongside the foundation where the water is pooling. It should be about a foot wide and at least two feet deep. Be sure to create a gradual slope in the direction you want the water to run. Add a few inches of crushed stone in the bottom of the trench, then lay down perforated PVC pipe. Before installing the pipe, it’s a good idea to wrap it in a layer of water-permeable landscaping fabric to keep dirt and roots from blocking the pre-drilled holes. Next, cover the pipe with gravel, stopping about three inches below the grade of your yard. Finish with a layer of sod to hide the drain.

If the excess moisture is concentrated in your basement, remember that you can also install a French drain there too— as long as you have a sump pump to remove the water. It’s a lot more work, since you’ll need to cut through the concrete slab to before breaking out your shovel, but the concept is the same.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

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