So, What Is a French Drain?
Invented in the mid-1800s, the French drain revolutionized how people tackled drainage, both for construction and as a standing, general-purpose solution. Though the actual location of their invention is debated, the “French” in French drain actually comes from Henry Flagg French, a lawyer and past U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary. Whether he first invented them or if they have been in use for centuries, French was the first to popularize them.
A French drain consists of two basic parts. First, a trench is dug leading from a point of higher elevation to a lower area. This incline only needs to be slight, but because they operate via gravity (just like modern drainage systems) there needs to be a slope.
Once a trench has been dug, it is then filled with rocks or gravel. The operating principle here is that water wants to travel along the path of least resistance. Gravel is more porous than solid earth, and the trench acts as a way to guide water and prevent flooding.
Evolutions in Commercial Drainage Solutions
Since the original French drain was invented, there have been several iterative improvements on the design. Perhaps the biggest was the introduction of a perforated pipe. In a typical design, a rigid pipe is punctured on one side, and placed into a trench with the holes facing down. Water can then rise in the trench, flow into the pipe, and flow out to where it should be deposited—safely away from a structure or field.
While these designs are more efficient and practical than a standard French drain with gravel alone, they still face problems—the biggest of which are clogging and erosion. First, if the pipe takes in more than just water—for instance, dirt or sand—it will become less efficient at moving water. If the pipe is allowed to gather too much outside material, it could weaken the structural integrity of your landscaping or the area near your drain.
Commercial French drain systems today, however, need to resist clogging and remove water more efficiently than ever. Hydraway is now leading the industry in innovative drainage that is clog resistant and even has a proven zero-percent failure rate when properly installed.
The bottom line is that, whether you were using a traditional French drain or even a modern perforated pipe system, they are bound to fail eventually. The Hydraway system is easy to install, and we can also consult on your project to ensure everything goes as planned. One of the worst things that could happen—and the biggest French drain cost—would be a drainage failure years down the line. With Hydraway, you can prevent that scenario.
Hydraway Compared To Other Drain Systems
|System||Flow Rating/Linear foot Per (ASTM 4716)||“In-Flow” Rating (or Permeability Rate) in % of the openings across the surface||4-gallon Bucket Test (Time elapsed in seconds for water to empty)|
|4″ Perforated Pipe||32 gal||4-5%||27|
|Gravity (WaterGuard) System||8-9%||23|
|Hydraway Single Layer||10.5 gal||75%||11|
|Hydraway Double Layer||10.5||75%||6.5|