Monthly Archives: January 2021

What is a French Drain?

french drain

Is a French drain necessary?

Your landscape contractor has told you that your lawn needs a French drain. So, what is a French drain and why do I need a French drain? Well, the first thing you need to know French Drain is named after a person, not the country or food item. It was Henry Flagg French, an American, the president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, that invented the French drain. 

This landscaping tool sounds exotic, but it is common and in some landscaping situations, it is an important tool that removes water from an area that doesn’t have good drainage.  It is used a lot in fields and today, it is common around homes with landscaping issues from standing water. Essentially, a French drain is underground gutter system for your yard and moves water from where it won’t drain and causing problems.   

Water runs downhill naturally, so when humans build houses or retaining walls, it tends to get the way of that natural process. A French drain is an effective and simple to reroute water from a crawl space, driveway, foundation, or retaining wall.  When water isn’t running downhill or the bottom of the hill is your home and landscaping. 

When should you use a French drain?

How do you know if your landscaping and yard needs a French drain?  If you are experiencing any of the following issues, you should talk to a landscaper about installing a French drain: 

  • Crawl Space Floods: If the crawl space of your home is flooding, having a French drain installed will send that water away from your home.  Leave it as it is, you are leaving your home in danger of being damaged, mildew and mold building up under your house, and more. 
  • Soggy Yard or Driveway Washed-Out: If your yard takes days to dry out after a rain before you can mow, or you have to rake rock back into your driveway after a good rain, a French drain could be the answer to your problems. Keep your lawn healthy and driveway rock where it belongs.
  • A Retaining Wall: If you have a retaining wall or plan on building one a hillside or slope, the first thing you should do is have a French drain installed. With this installed behind the first course of the retaining wall, it will keep the water from building up at the bottom of the wall and draining toward your home.

Do French drains really work?

Like anything, A French drain can only work as good as it is installed. French drains require a perforated pipe, a trench, and geotextile fabric with gravel. If the slope isn’t adequate, a French drain won’t work as well as intended, a factor that is overlooked too often, giving French drains a bad name.   An adequate slope is no less than two feet lower for every 100 ft of pipe. A four inch drainpipe should be covered with two inches of soil once it is in place. This will allow water across the surface to drain and the French drain to work properly. 

How long do French drains last?

A professionally installed French drain can last up to forty years. However, there are two factors that can shorten that expected life cycle: 

  • The French drain becomes clogged with dust, mineral, and grain particles from the soil that surrounds the drain. This can be minimized when the French drain is installed by putting twelve inches of crushed stone over the drain. 
  • The French drain is incorrectly installed, common when installed by contractor that isn’t experienced installing French drains, usually not deep enough or the slope isn’t enough. 

French drains are affected by the environment and can wear out over time. Simply having it rebuilt and adjustments made will give you another 40 years of water moving service. 

How deep should a French drain be?

As shallow as eight inches and as deep as two feet. The depth will depend on the goal intended as to where the water is a problem and where you need it redirected.  The base of a retaining wall will likely require a French drain to be deeper than it would be around the foundation of your home.  An experienced landscaper will have the knowledge to determine the proper depth. In some rare cases where a basement or crawlspace keeps taking on water and the French drain isn’t being as efficient has hoped, a sump pump may need to be installed. 

drain

What’s the difference between a French drain and trench drain?

A drainage system is more than just digging holes. There are French drains and Trenches, both are effective ways in moving water, but they are different. A French drain is below the surface whereas a trench drain is on the surface. 

  • A French drain is a gravel-filled trench that has a perforated pipe on the gravel with a permeable fabric along the bottom of the trench to keep any roots intruding. It then siphons the water down and away from where it isn’t wanted.  
  • A trench drain is an above-ground method of draining water by way of embedded materials. A long and narrow trench is dug and then a grate is installed over that trench. 

You’re likely asking, “Do you have to have a landscaper or other professional install a French drain, or Can I install a French drain myself?”, and the answer is yes. With all the online videos and the big box stores offering assistance, some even offer classes, any homeowner with DIY motivation and tools can install their own French drain. Call 817-400-7625 today!

Are Drywall Cracks Serious?

A Drywall Crack

Are drywall cracks serious?

If you see a crack running up the wall, your first reaction might be panic. Don’t panic. A drywall crack isn’t necessarily a serious problem. When should I be concerned about drywall cracks? Some cracking may occur after construction because of drying and shrinking. You should be concerned with cracks that are jagged, stair-stepped, or at a 45-degree angle because these cracks could indicate some sort of settling or other structural movement. Even then, the greatest concern should be with the width of the crack. If it’s more than 1/4-inch wide you probably want to have professionals like those at Solid Rock Foundation Repair check it out, especially if it runs horizontally near the connection of partition walls and ceilings upstairs. Call us today at 817-400-7625 for expert wall repair in Dallas-Fort Worth Area, TX

Why is my drywall cracking?

A drywall crack might appear for several reasons. Some are serious, others are often of little concern. Your drywall might be cracking because:

  • Seasonal temperature changes or humidity
  • Foundation settling
  • Frame deterioration from rot or insects like termites
  • Poorly sized framing or bad connections

Does drywall crack in cold weather?

Seasonal temperature fluctuations can cause most building materials to expand and contract, but most builders compensate for these issues if the material is installed properly. People, however, often notice that a drywall crack will appear in the winter. Usually, the problem isn’t with the cold weather itself. Below freezing temperatures won’t cause the drywall to crack.

But, because you are heating your home regularly, and in particular if you have problems with inadequate insulation, cracks can develop in time. Moisture often builds up when there is inadequate insulation and this leads to problems like your wood frame rotting. Moreover, if you are in a newer home with a single-piece truss supporting your roof that truss can expand and contract in cold weather when attics aren’t adequately insulated. The truss can then lift and create cracks between upper-level walls and the ceiling.

Drywall crack on ceiling

As with cracks in walls, cracks on your ceiling aren’t necessarily a cause for alarm. If insufficient drywall mud was used in the home construction, cracks can develop later, but these cracks tend to be superficial and can be ignored. What’s problematic are cracks that are wider than 1/8-inch. Cracks of this size often indicate a structural problem. Truss lift, which occurs because of temperature fluctuations, can also lead to ceiling cracks and can only be permanently fixed by reattaching the drywall blocks or clips on interior wall plates. If a crack is discolored, you have a moisture problem, and you’ll need to determine where the leak originated and repair the leak before you repair the ceiling crack.

How do I stop my drywall from cracking?

Most drywall cracks are caused by poor installation, usually at the seams, and are hard to prevent. The seams aren’t supported with enough drywall mud and tape. Another installation problem—nail popping—occurs when the nails holding the drywall in place pop away from the stud. The drywall surface dimples because of this. You can prevent nail popping by using high-quality lumber so the studs won’t warp.

Can you caulk a drywall crack?

When you are patching drywall cracks, you can make the repairs with paintable caulk instead of patching compound. A water-washable caulk can be applied directly to the crack with your finger. After any excess is wiped away, it will take about 30 minutes for the caulk to set.

Will paint fill hairline cracks?

When patching hairline cracks around doors and windows, you might be tempted to fill in the crack with paint. This won’t work. Several other materials can be used to repair drywall cracks. One common repair method is to cover the crack with paper, fiberglass, or mesh tape and a flexible joint compound. Also effective is using the spackling compound for really fine cracks, although some people use spackling paste, the paste is not as effective. Paintable caulk is the simplest to use and can be spread into the crack with your finger or a putty knife.

A Drywall Crack Over a Door

Drywall crack repair near me

Often cracks in your drywall are not harmful, and such cracks generally just require some cosmetic repairs you can do yourself. However, if you take the time to measure them, especially really jagged cracks, and discover they are more than 1/4-inch wide, it might be time to call in a professional to look at the crack. Such cracks may be the result of structural damage in your home, including foundation damage. If serious damage is discovered and you need drywall crack repair in Dallas-Fort Worth Area, TX, look to the experts at Solid Rock Foundation Repair. With years of experience behind them, our technicians are quickly able to diagnose the problem and provide you with the right solutions that will ensure the job is done right. You can find out more about how we can help by calling 817-400-7625.