Using French Drains for Crawl Space Drainage

Your crawl space is the area between the first floor of your home and the soil beneath. Crawl spaces are a great way to access floor joists, wiring, and pipes for repairs, but when they accumulate moisture, you can run into serious issues.

Because the floor of a crawl space is often made of soil, they commonly become wet, humid, and even moldy. Even if your crawl space floor is concrete, water can still seep in through the foundation walls, causing those same excess water problems. These problems can lead to severe water damage, rot, and pests. Rot can impact the structural stability of your home, pests can eat away at the floor joists, and mold can affect the air quality in your home, which can affect your home environment and even make your family sick.

It’s important to drain and waterproof your crawl space in order to remedy those issues and prevent them from returning.

What is a French drain?

A French drain is a trench lined with an aggregate of some kind, like sand or gravel, that diverts sub-surface water to another location. Some French drains also contain a perforated drain pipe to handle a larger capacity of water; this pipe is typically wrapped in a special filter fabric material to avoid drain failure or clogging.

This style of the drainage system has been used by farmers, gardeners, and construction experts alike for over 150 years. They can seem like a low-tech solution to a common problem, but in fact, they are sophisticated and reliable crawl space drain solutions that can alleviate your waterproofing issues.

Signs You Need Crawl Space Drainage

To find out if you need a crawl space drainage system, take a look around for the following signs.

  • Standing Ground Water: The most obvious sign you need crawl space repair is if you have standing water or a muddy crawl space floor. While flooding could be caused by leaky pipes, it can also be due to poor drainage. 
  • High Humidity: If your home feels more humid than typical, this can actually point to an issue with your crawl space! When moisture builds up there, it can lead to condensation on appliance surfaces, pipes, or the inside of windows. If your paint is peeling, you smell a musty odor, or you see mold or mildew in your home, there is definitely a cause for concern.
  • Sagging Floors: Remember that your dirt crawl space floor can retain moisture if it’s not properly waterproofed. This can weaken your floor joists, causing them to sag or slope.

Why install a French drain system?

The French drain is a reliable, cost-effective crawl space drainage solution for several reasons:

  • We custom design your drain for grade and length to make sure it fits with your crawl space, foundation, surrounding property, and nearby areas.
  • They capture the water that collects at the dirt floor and wall joints before it has a chance to collect in the middle of your crawl space.
  • They are more cost-effective than some other crawl space products.
  • They are a clog-resistant, perimeter drain system that works in tandem with the rest of your crawl space system to effectively drain and waterproof your crawl space.
  • They are a non-invasive option that requires little installation time compared to some other crawl space drainage solutions.
  • Interior French drains are fairly easy to maintain, meaning you won’t need to deal with expensive repairs or maintenance in the years to come.


How we use French Drains to waterproof your crawl space

When we perform crawl space repair, we focus on drainage and waterproofing. Adding a French drain is the first step.

First, we determine where to install your drain. French drains in crawl spaces are sometimes referred to as perimeter drains because, typically, the edges of the crawl space are the best place for them. This allows the drain to collect water that seeps up through the floor and through the walls. However, French drains work via the power of gravity, so if the lowest point of your crawl space is not the perimeter, we can adjust the placement of your drain to best suit your home.

Once we finalize a location, we dig the drain’s trench and add in the pipe.

French drains typically use perforated corrugated pipe or PVC pipe. Corrugated pipes allow for greater flexibility but can be prone to cracking, while PVC pipe is stronger but can be harder to manipulate. To address these issues, Helitech recommends using the HydraDry drain system in place of those traditional options.

The HydraDry is made of thermally bonded plastic and needle-punched fabric. This construction allows the drain to take in more water than traditional French drain systems, thereby removing more water than those typical pipes can. The HydraDry is highly resistant to clogs and has a 0% failure rate, making it the obvious choice for crawl space drainage you can trust.

Once we install the Hydraway drain, we cover the rest of the trench with more aggregate, like rocks and gravel. 

This French drain is just one part of our crawl space waterproofing system. We design the trench and pipe to divert to a sump pit and the Super S1 sump pump. This system is a guaranteed-dry solution; when you combine with our HydraLock encapsulation system and HydraAir crawl space dehumidifier, you’ll never have to worry about crawl space drainage issues again.

If you notice one of the problem signs mentioned above, the first thing you should do is call us to discuss your options. We’ll set you up with an appointment with Project Specialist who will come to your home, assess your damage, and give you a free quote for a crawl space drainage system that works best for your home.

We’ll explain how we use French drains, the HydraLock Crawl Space Encapsulation System, and HydraAir dehumidifiers to create a perfect match for your wet crawl space repair.

Set up your free estimate.

Contact Helitech to get your free crawl space drainage quote today! 

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