The french drain is an important component of the waterproofing system. The French drain is usually installed outside the perimeter of the footings at ground level. Its role is to minimize infiltration of water under the footing or between the base and the foundation. It is normally connected to a pump. The drain can be wrapped in a membrane to reduce access to solids that can clog. But this wrapped drain technique is no longer recommended because the industry has found that the thin fabric cover is easily obstructed over time. The recommended approach is to cover the drain and the outer portion of the footing of net crushed stone to improve the flow of water to it. Subsequently, before the backfill, the stone is covered with a 30 inch wide geotextile to limit the contamination of the stone and drain the soil, thus maximizing the drainage properties of the system.
In soils conducive to iron ocher, a bacterium which tends to clog the french drains, it is often recommended to replace the flexible drain with a rigid PVC drain. Then, the drain is covered with stone and stone covered with a geotextile membrane as described above.
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