Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Down the Drain

There’s some water infiltrating our basement – not a lot, but enough to hamper our future plans to finish it into living space. The cause is obvious – on the east side of our property, the drainage is inadequate, we have two downspouts, our neighbor has two downspouts, and our neighbor’s property is slightly higher than ours. As a consequence of the curvature of spacetime, water will always follow the easiest downhill path, and in our case, this path hugged the corner of our foundation. Hence the infiltration.

Enter the French drain. French drains are very effective at intercepting and diverting water, and they’re fairly simple – all you need is a sloped trench, a perforated drain pipe, and a bunch of drainage rock. For less than $90 in materials and a day of labor, we now have a 60-foot French drain and a dry basement. C'est fantastique!

Trivia note: You might think it’s called a French drain because it originated in France, but think again! It is called a French drain because it was invented by Henry French, a judge and farmer who lived in Concord, Massachusetts, in the mid-1800s. Rumor has it he also made excellent fries.

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