Curtain drain VS French Drain

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Brittney Griffy

Curtain drain VS French Drain - Image 1

Curtain drain is at ground level. French drain is at the bottom of footer.  

If you are having problems with Water shed. Water running down hill on top of ground. Ditch or curtain drain may be an option. A true curtain drain should be 2x2 full of gravel. The gravel works as a filter, collecting the water and taking it away form the surface.

But if you are concerned with water in crawl space or basement, a curtain drain will not take care of the problem. Water runs downhill, even under ground. In growing areas these problems may also be worse. Development disturbs water’s natural course and it must find a new path.

A French drain typically sits at least 8 feet below the ground, at or below the footing. The French drain is a pipe covered with filter fabric. Do you know a filter that does not need to be changed? At some point the pipe will clog. Depending on settlement and type of soil is a factor in how long a French drain will work. This area has a lot of clay soil, which tends to clog faster.

Assume the French drain is a pipe 4” around. Now look a few years down the road and add 1” debris to 4”pipe; you only have 3” pipe for water to flow.  Fast forward a little further, 2” of debris now only 2” pipe for water flow.  And so on, before you know it you have more water than this narrow drainage canal can handle. Heavy rains, higher pressure - can’t handle the flow.

Heartaches of French drains:

  • Most common problems with French drains is root intrusion, crush or collapsed drains, and clogging.
  • They don’t last forever, they cannot be tested or cleaned out.
  • Repairs are expensive and messy. Lots of digging. Disruption to outside of home and daily life.
  • Dig down to pipe around home, under porches, decks, HVAC units. Etc.

The solution to protect your home from these concerns is an interior waterproofing system. Depending on the foundation and amount of moisture in your space determines the best permanent solution. An Interior drainage system sits safely out of the mud zone and does not require digging around the foundation outside your home. It can be serviced from inside the home with no mess, no large equipment digging, no large cost. These systems are able to waterproof concrete block foundation walls by collecting water form the block or concrete walls and will not clog with mud or debris.

For a free inspection with estimate and more information give us a call we’d love to help!



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Joelton, TN 37080
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