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What’s the Difference Between French & Trench Drains?

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Before we jump into the differences between these two types of drainage solutions, let’s address the fact that if you’re looking for ways to divert water away from your home’s foundation, you’ve already considered you might have an issue. 

Rest assured, homeowners everywhere have experienced these same concerns, and there are multiple solutions available to solve your water problem. 

At Foundation Support Specialists, we have over 30 years of experience providing homeowners long-lasting waterproofing solutions that fit any budget. If you have water around your home that needs to be removed, contact FSS today for a free waterproofing inspection.

Why is Pooling Water Around My Home Bad?

Foundation settlement is typically caused by poor soil located underneath and around your home. 

As a Texas homeowner, you should be very familiar with the near-constant drought we experience year-round. You can think of the soil around and under our homes as a sponge. During the dry periods, soil will dry up and contract essentially shrinking. It’s during this shrinkage that the weight of our homes will start to push down on that dry soil, and when that weight finds poorly compacted soil, foundation settlement occurs. 

On the opposite end, we experience heavy rainfall which soaks into the soil. Our “sponge” becomes saturated and expands. This expansion typically causes concrete around a home to raise back up to what might seem like it’s original level. Inevitably, the soil will dry up again and start to contract. 

When water is left standing around your foundation, it will create unstable soil that will lead to foundation settlement during our heavy drought times. 

If you’ve had this concern at your home, you should contact the experts at FSS to conduct a free, no-obligation foundation and waterproofing inspection.

French Drain vs Trench Drain

Both of these types of drains are intended to move water away from your home, but there is one key difference between the two. A trench drain focuses on surface water, while a French drain is intended to capture water that has saturated the ground below the surface. 

We will dig into the differences below (pun intended):

What is a French Drain?

Ironically, French drains have nothing to do with France! In fact, they are an American invention that came about in the 19th century created by an agriculturist named Henry Flagg French.

French drains are built to move groundwater away from standing structures like your home’s foundation. By design, not only do they move groundwater, but surface water as well. This type of drainage should be chosen for spots where soil is frequently saturated and prone to flooding.

The biggest concern with installing a French drain is to be aware of where utility or communication lines have been buried. Make sure to call 8-1-1 before digging or contact a professional to come out and mark your lines.

What is a Trench Drain?

Sometimes referred to as channel drains, a trench drain is a drainage system installed right under the surface of the ground, is surrounded by concrete, and includes a grated covering that is exposed above ground. This type of drain is typically connected to your local storm sewer or waterway.

There are many variations to the trench drain you choose. They can be temporary or permanent, and have varying grate strengths and appearances to fit most any property’s needs.

A benefit includes its ability to handle heavy weights without breaking or cracking.

Urgency Matters

As with many home repairs, urgency matters. The longer you wait to address your water pooling issue, chances are good the damage will continue to worsen and become more expensive. Remember, your home’s foundation is on the line. Don’t wait!

Contact the waterproofing experts at FSS today. With offices in San Antonio and Austin, we have you covered across Central and South Texas.

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