How to Use Rock and French Drains to Keep Your Basement Dry

How to Use Rock and French Drains to Keep Your Basement Dry

Most homes built in the last century or so sit upon a foundation made of concrete. At the time, poured concrete or concrete block designs were the fastest and least expensive option for home foundations. However, before concrete became the norm, stone was commonly used for home foundations as it is strong, absorbs virtually no water, and doesn’t disintegrate over time due to wear or soil exposure.

If your home has a basement, a sturdy foundation such as one made of stone can help to protect against basement flooding. However, two other primary ways to prevent flooding in your basement are the use of French drains and rocks.

What is a French drain?

A French drain, or drain tile, is a shallow trench dug around the perimeter of the basement, filled with washed gravel, and covered back up by concrete with the corrugated pipe inside resting on the gravel. French drains were originally created to drain farmland of excess moisture and were initially constructed out of terra cotta roofing tiles piled on top of each other, hence the name “drain tile.”

French drains sit alongside your home’s foundational footings and allow space for underground water buildup to be alleviated, reducing risk of basement flooding. Many homeowners think that the best way to prevent flooding is to completely seal the perimeter. Though sealing can help protect your basement from potential flooding, a French drain prevents groundwater from building up to the point of flooding in the first place.

How can rocks prevent basement flooding?

Rocks and gravel are a very common component of many landscaping layouts. However, most homeowners don’t know that rocks and gravel can be incredibly useful when it comes to preventing basement flooding.

Rocks and gravel are easily susceptible to moisture absorption, but they dry quickly. If you place rocks or gravel around your basement’s perimeter, they will absorb the brunt of any ground moisture and then become dry again quickly, not remaining wet long enough to grow moss or mold. Not only are rocks and gravel a helpful solution for protecting your basement from flooding, they are inexpensive and can fit in with most landscaping arrangements.

Many people store precious objects, household materials, and even appliances such as furnaces and water heaters in the basement. Therefore, basement flooding can cause expensive and even dangerous damage to many important items as well as potentially compromising the safety of your home’s structure. For more information on how to use gravel, rock, and French drains to prevent flooding in your basement, call Tigard Sand and Gravel today.