If I want a drainage system in my dirt crawl space, is french drain the only
choice? I believe they clog up after a number of years, perhaps between 10
to 20 years.
I need a non clogging drainage system because I also want to install a vapor
barrier that seals the ground as well as the foundation wall. If the
drainage system clogs, I would have to rip the vapor barrier to repair it.
I'm located in washington state near seattle in case you have region
Drain systems installed properly for your soil dont clog, mine is near
100 yrs old and runs a river of water to the pit. Im sure the best
built old homes in your area have systems that work, find out how they
did it, maybe the city engineer or architect, they will help for free.
I installed one a few years ago and used the sock over the tube and
surounded the tube in about 18" of gravel, but that isnt how my old
system was done and I have no idea what is really best, there is a
way. But after it drains you need a pit and pump inside so it doesnt
Is the water coming UP from the water table, or UNDER the foundation
from the outside? Crawlspace is basically a real short basement, and
same advice applies- stop water, if at all possible, OUTSIDE the walls,
with proper grading, proper sealing, proper backfill, and an OUTSIDE
drain tile at footer level, draining to daylight or a drywell. If you
simply have a high water table, you may not be a good candidate for the
type of sealing system you describe, unless you can figure out the
underground water flows on your lot, and find some way to divert it
(This is the type of stuff a builder should look at before they build a
house on the lot, but few do. Dig the hole, leave it a week, and see
where it gets wet, etc.)
Unless you have a high water table or something that causes the water to
come up from below, your best bet is to steer as much water away from the
foundation as possible.
Install a french drain around the outside perimeter of the foundation. I
used 4" corrugated drain pipe with the slit perforations. Wrap the pipe
with landscaping fabric, or install dedicated "socks" to keep the slits
from clogging. I installed our drain in gravel, and covered it with a
layer of gravel to improve drainage, wrapping everything with landscape
fabric to prevent soil from working it's way into the gravel drainage
Of course, the french drain should "drain" somewhere, whether that's off
over a hill, or into a drywell away from the house where water can soak in
Once the drain is in, make sure your yard slopes away from the house so
surface water isn't directed towards the foundation.
Also, install a good gutter system on your house, and run a separate drain
line to direct the water away from the house. Do not tie the gutter drains
into the french drains, or you might end up sending water towards the
foundation instead of away.
If you have water inside the foundation walls, you'll probably have to
install some kind of interior drain and a sump pump to remove the water
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