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Oklahoma City French Drain Installation, Photos, Norman, Edmond

A NEW FRENCH DRAIN IN OKLAHOMA CITY

Recently we installed a large Drainage System in OKC.  It was a 4 inch System using 4 inch ADS French Drain Pipe with Soc and 4 inch ADS Solid Drain Pipe.  The “Intake” of the Drainage System had two parts.  Water from the gutters on the house was fed into the Drainage System.  There were 7 gutter downspouts around the entire house that were connected straight into the Drainage System with Solid Drain Pipe and a Gutter connection.

gutter connection to drain

Gutter Connection to French Drain

The French Drain we installed ran across the back yard in two places, then it connected to solid ADS Drain Pipe and Ran to the street where a Curb Outlet was installed.

new curb outlet

Curb outlet for French Drain.

Installing a curb outlet takes experience and skill.  We cut the curb with a concrete saw.  Water is used with the saw to make better cuts and to keep the concrete dust to a minimum.  The cut in the curb will be at least two inches wider than the curb outlet that will be set in concrete.  This ensures strength and longevity.  When installing the cement we use cement with Acrylic to further ensure the strength of the outlet.  It takes a while for the concrete to cure.  The new concrete will be darker than the surrounding curb for a while but eventually it will match up.

solid pipe installation

Solid Drain pipe running to the street

We cut the sod out by hand when installing Solid Drain pipe.  The sod is set to the side while the 4 inch pipe is installed.  Then some of the dirt is placed back on top of the drain pipe and the sod is placed back in its original position.  Some of the dirt is left over that is displaced by the new drain pipe.  That dirt is hauled away.

 

French Drain, Midwest City, Lawton, Chickasha, Weatherford,

Recently Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair Installed a French Drain as part of a Drainage System in Mid West City Oklahoma.

Our customer had a back porch Sun Room.  Every time he had a hard rain, Water would run in one door and out the other.  An indoor creek across his Sun Room.

We installed a French Drain in front of the South Door.  It was 26 feet long and ran from a gutter downspout which it was connected to,  in front of the South Door and along the house covering the entire “Low” Area.  Then we connected 4 inch ADS Solid Drain pipe to the French Drain and ran down hill around the corner of the house to the street.

pipe to street

French Drain pipe running to street

Once the 4 inch solid drain pipe was connected to the French Drain and the two gutter down spouts, a pop-up emitter was installed to release the water at the street.

The next step was to cover the drain pipe with dirt and put the sod back in place on top of the pipe.   There was about 8 wheelbarrows of dirt left over that was displaced by the drain pipe and the French Drain.  The extra dirt was scooped up and hauled away.

While installing the drainage system, it was necessary to move two sprinkler heads that were in the way of the drain pipe installation.  This was no problem.  Installing drainage systems and French drains for folks who have a sprinkler system is very common.  Moving Sprinkler heads or pipes sometimes is necessary.  We always leave the sprinkler system in complete working order and we discuss any changes in the sprinkler system with the customer before we do it to make sure that everyone is on the same page.  In most cases the customer cant tell that we made any changes to the sprinkler system at all.

connecting gutter to French Drain

Connecting Gutter to French Drain

Do It Yourself French Drain, French Drain Information, Surface Drain Information, Drainage System

Before you ever build a Drainage System,  you need to decide where you are going to take the problem water too.   Most residential Drainage Systems release water farther on down the hill, or release it out into the street.  Street release is either over the curb or through the curb.

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It is a good idea to do a little research on the effects and liabilities of releasing water at your home.  What does the city think if you release water through the curb vs over the curb?  What does your downhill neighbor think if you are releasing water into his yard?

Some Drainage System Locations have many options for ” Exits.”  Others have vary few.

Don’t Start a Drainage System if you don’t have a good place for the water to exit!

This is even more important, if your Drainage System needs to be a “Flood Prevention System.”  We talked about this in the previous blogs on Drainage.

A Flood Prevention System may need more than one exit to increase the Drainage Systems Capacity.

 

OK, So you have a good Water Exit Strategy and have identified where the water is going to go.

Lets go back and talk about Pop Up Emitters and Curb Outlets.

A Pop Up emitter is used to release water down a hill or over a curb and into the street.

Pop up emitter next to sidewalk

Popup Emitter to release water from a French Drain in Yukon

 

 

Pop up emitter and ADS

Pop-Up Emitter before Installation

Water hits the Emitter and fills it until the water pressure lifts the lid and the water drains out.

Good “Fall” or ” Slope” is necessary for a pop up emitter to work properly.  Many times a Drainage Pipe does not run down hill enough for a Drainage System to work well. You need “Slope” for your drain to work.   Water may move very slowly and never lift the lid and it just sits there.

We will talk about having the correct amount of “Fall” or “Slope” in a Drainage System in the next blog.

Curb fittings or outlets is the other way to release water.

 

cement curb outlet

Curb Outlet as an Exit Point for a French Drain in Edmond

First off,  For your average DIY Guy.  Installing a Curb outlet may be beyond your skill set or capacity.  If that is the case just place a Pop Up Emitter up against the curb and go on about your business.

That being said, you may still want or need a Curb Outlet set in concrete.

If you are good with concrete and a concrete saw, this option poses no problem.  If this option seems too much for you, it probably is!  Consider sub contracting the curb outlet.  In higher populated areas, finding someone to do “Light” concrete work is relatively easy.  You sill can save money by installing the rest of the Drainage System yourself.

If you are sill going to install the “Curb Outlet,” here are the steps for a “First Timer.”

Step 1  Find a Curb outlet fitting.  They are round on one side where the drain pipe connects and rectangular on the other to fit in the cut out area for the Curb outlet.

Curb outlet fitting

Curb outlet fitting

They are sold in many Drainage Supply Businesses.  You may not find them at “Lowes” or ” Home Depot”.  It varies.  If a Specialized Drain Supply business is not available then use a “Heat and Air” Floor vent as your curb outlet.  They are made of metal in most cases but still will work very well.  I have done this many times.  The floor vent is typically wider and thinner than a standard Curb Outlet Fitting.  Just cut a wider hole in the curb.

Step 2 Watch an instructional safety video on using a concrete saw.

Step 3 Rent or buy a concrete saw.  A used one can be found in pawn shops for about 300$ to 600$.  A New one will run around a Thousand Dollars.

a Rental will run about 50$ to 150$ depending on your area.

Step 4  Find a Curb outlet that matches the size of your Pipe.  If you have a 4 inch Drain pipe then install a 4 inch curb outlet.   Sometimes a Six inch Curb outlet is too big to install in many roadside curbs.  It is too tall in many cases.  In most situations if you want a curb outlet and have a Six inch Drain Pipe, you must install two 4 inch outlets side by side.

If you have the need for a six inch Drain Pipe,  that means you have a lot of water to move.  You don’t want to create a bottle neck at the curb by installing a 4 inch curb fitting as your exit on a Six Inch Drain Pipe.

What you need to do is dig a large hole at the curb so you have room to work.  Next you attach a 6 inch “Y” fitting onto your drain pipe above the curb several feet.  You then install Two Reducer Bushings in both outlets of the “Y” fitting.  Next you attach 4 Inch ADS Drain Pipe to the outlets and run two 4 inch ADS Drain pipes to the Curb.  Now you install two 4 inch curb fittings side by side.

It is very important to use ADS Pipe coming out of the 6 Inch “Y” fitting.  It is Flexible and can be easily bent to fit your application.   PVc Pipe is rigid and won’t bend.  Very few people can do this process using PVC.  In 26 Years of installing Drains, I have only done it 3 times using PVc.  It is very Difficult and Frustrating.

Step 5 Watch a Video on Light Concrete Work if available.

Step 6 Connect the curb fitting to the drain pipe and install cement around it.  I have had the most success using a ” Quick Set” concrete that comes in a small bucket and has an “Acrylic” Additive or Base.

I don’t recommend cutting the curb yourself and installing a curb outlet if you are only going to do this once in your life.  If you are are or will become a drainage contractor, then this is a skill that you definitely need.

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Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair –  Email us at

frenchdrain.sprinklerrepair@gmail.com  or call or text to 405 203 9419

French Drain Installation,  Drainage System Repair, Sprinkler Repair, Emergency Sprinkler Repair,

French Drain Do It Your Self, French Drain Installation, Drainage System Information, Surface Drain Installation

This is a series of blogs that first explains exactly what French Drains and Surface Drains are,  and how they are used in a Drainage System.

Next, I will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks are of each type of drain and why you would use one type of drain over another in many different situations.

Last, I will explain the specifics of how to install your own Drainage System and how to diagnose exactly what type of system you need in the first place.

At the top and  bottom of every blog in this series will be a listing of all the connecting blogs that you can “Click” on to easily move back and forth through the series.

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Problem Drainage Area

This is a good spot for a French Drain

A final thought on Intakes as part of a Drainage System.  Remember, an Intake is a French Drain or a Surface Drain.  It is the part of the Drainage System that draws water into the Drain Pipe.

Once you have decided where and  how many Intakes your drainage system needs,( how many and what kind of Drains ) the next thing to think about is the Transition other wise known as the Drain Pipe.  For a typical Drainage System there are three choices of Drain Pipe by Size.  ( 3 Inch, 4 Inch, and 6 Inch )

Three inch is least expensive but can easily be overwhelmed if a large amount of water needs to be drained away.

Four inch is by far the most common.  It also can be overwhelmed if too many Intakes (Drains) are connected to it.

Six Inch Drain Pipe is almost never overwhelmed, but it is bulky and hard to work with and is by far the most expensive.

4 inch Drain pipe

4 Inch Drain Pipe before it goes in the trench

What Do I mean by overwhelmed?  It means that water is going to the Problem Drainage Area faster than the Pipe can move it away.

This is very important to some people and not important at all to others.  Here is why!

house flood

This is a great place for a French Drain

Really, think for a minute about why you want to install a Drain in the first place.

Do you want to prevent water from ever reaching Problem Drainage Area?  Or is it OK for water to reach the Problem Drainage Area and then be drained away over time.

If, for example, you are trying to protect your prize plants, you don’t want flood water reaching them at all.  Or you might be trying to prevent water from reaching part of your house because it then runs into the basement.  You don’t want water, under any circumstances,  to reach a specific spot or area.   If this is the case,  You want a

Flood Prevention System

A Flood Prevention System is actually a type of Drainage System, However the goal is different and that can change the Design.

On the other hand if you don’t mind so much if water gets into the Problem Drainage Area,  you just want it to drain away in a relatively short amount of time.   This is called a

Drainage System

If your motivation is to have a Flood Prevention System,  Then the Drain Pipe being overwhelmed is a really bad thing.  It means that your Flood Prevention System has failed.  Your Drain Pipe could not move the water fast enough to provide the Safety that you desire.   Your plants have drowned and your basement has flooded.

If your motivation is to have a Drainage System, Then the Drain Pipe being overwhelmed is not so bad.  Even though water is flowing into the Problem Drainage Area faster than the Drain Pipe can take it away,  The Drain Pipe is still moving a lot of water and eventually the rain will stop and the Drain Pipe will catch up.  In relatively a short amount of time, the water will be gone.

What you want, dictates how you design your Drainage System!

Drainage Systems are not as robust as Flood Prevention Systems.  A Flood Prevention System has all the same basic concepts and structure as a regular drainage system, just more!

If you want a Flood Prevention System, the goal is to intercept water before it runs somewhere.

This means:

  1.  More Intakes ( Lots of Drains) French Drains Or Surface Drains
  2.  Larger Drains,  6 inch French Drains, or 18 inch Surface Drains for example
  3.  Larger Transitions ( Larger Drain Pipe )
  4.  More Transitions (  More Drain Pipes )
  5.  Larger Drainage Exits
  6.  More Drainage Exits

I know we haven’t talked about Drainage Exits, but we will in the next blog.

A Drainage System is less of everything listed above.

Obviously a Drainage System is less expensive, less evasive, and easier to install.

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French Drain, Do It Your Self, DIY, French Drain Information, Surface Drain Installation

When Determining what type of Drain you need for your Drainage System.  In our last blog, we talked about Surface Water and Sub-Surface water and why you need to understand them before designing your Drainage System.  If you need to review, click below.  If you have a question or comment please leave it at the bottom of the page. I will respond as quickly as I can.

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Before we get into Water Movement, we need to discuss Surface Drains.

Surface Drains come in many shapes and sizes.  The two most common are Basin Drains and Channel Drains.

A Basin Drain has a Square Grate and it sits on top of a catch basin.  It will have a single pipe connected to it or it will have a drain pipe running into it and a pipe running out of it.  We used this picture in a previous blog, but I want to show it to you again.

Surface Drain Connection

Surface Drain connected to a Transition Pipe

Below is a Basin before the pipe is connected to both sides.  The pipe is cut and connected to one side.   Another piece of Drain Pipe is connected to the other side.  The Drain pipe does not run straight through the basin.  Water must have a way to enter the Drain Pipe.  The Surface Drain in the picture is the most common size used in residential applications.  The Drain Pipe connecting to it is 4 inch ADS Solid Drain Pipe.

For a Surface Drain to work well it must be placed in a low lying area of standing water.  It is not intended to intercept moving water or to drain away Sub-Surface water.

 

In review, detecting Surface Water is straight forward.  You can observe how it flows into the Problem Drainage Area.

Sub-Surface water is not so easy.  You can’t see it move into the problem area.  So What do you do?

First take a look at your soil.  What type of soil do you have?

Soil with a lot of clay will have less Sub-Surface Water, Maybe none at all.  If you do have some it will move into the area slowly.  If you have sandy soil the underground water will move there in a hurry.  Most people will have something in between.

To be sure, a few simple tests can help.

Next check the problem drainage area when there is no water standing in it.  Is it soft and mushy when the surrounding area is more firm?  This is an indication that Sub-Surface Water is still flowing into the area.  Another way to collect information is to dig a small hole about a foot deep in the area. Check it every day for several days.  If water is standing in the hole, you have a Sub-Surface Water issue.  How fast it flows into the hole is also important.

OK, you have Sub-Surface water along with Surface Water in your problem drainage area.  Your Choice for the correct “Intake” for your Drainage System should be a French Drain.

OK, You have no Sub-Surface water. You only have Surface Water flowing into the problem area.  You need a French Drain If you are trying to intercept the water as it comes into the area.  Many times water will run around the surface drain and still flood the area.  Also the Surface Drain is much more easily overwhelmed and water will run past it that way too.  Again, this is very important,  If you are trying to intercept water before it gets to where its going, don’t use a Surface Drain.

A Surface Drain should be used in a Medium to Low Volume Water situation.  The water needs to be stationary or moving very slowly.  It should be placed in an area that is the lowest point in the Problem Drainage area.  They also work well in smaller confined areas such as pool decks, along sidewalks, or in flower beds.

More than one Surface Drain can be connected to one drain pipe in a “Daisy Chain” of Drains if you have several low spots in a larger area.

In many cases a small french drain can be installed in almost every place that a Surface Drain might be installed.  People opt for a Surface Drain over a French Drain because they like the way the Surface Drain looks more than the way the French Drain looks.  For some People, Looks are more important than functionality.

Channel drain in concrete

Channel drain in concrete

Setting a Surface Drain in Concrete such as a driveway or a Sidewalk is a good application for a Surface Drain.  Many times it is better to install a French Drain in your yard over a Surface Drain.  What ever makes you happy!

French Drains can be made to look very decorative.

decorative french drain

French Drains can be decorated with many types of stone

In conclusions,

French Drains are used for :  1.  Higher water volume situations  2.  Intercepting moving Surface Water  3.  Solving Sub-Surface water problems

Surface Drains are used for: 1.  Smaller water volume situations  2.  Standing Surface Water that has reached its destination   3.  Smaller and more confined areas  4.  Set in concrete such as sidewalks or Driveways

 

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Oklahoma Drainage and Sprinkler Repair –  Email us at

frenchdrain.sprinklerrepair@gmail.com  or call or text to 405 203 9419

French Drain InstallationDrainage System Repair, Sprinkler Repair, Emergency Sprinkler Repair,

French Drain, Do-It-Yourself, French Drain Information, DIY, Surface Drain Installation

French Drains and Surface Drains as part of Drainage System

This is a series of blogs that first explains exactly what French Drains and Surface Drains are,  and how they are used in a Drainage System.

Next, I will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks are of each type of drain and why you would use one type of drain over another in many different situations.

Last, I will explain the specifics of how to install your own drainage system and how to diagnose exactly what type of system you need in the first place.

At the top and bottom of every blog in this series will be a link  that you can “Click” on to easily move back and forth through the series.  If you have a question or comment, please leave it at the bottom of the page.  I will respond as quickly as I can.

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French Drains are Perforated Pipe in a Drainage Trench with the dirt removed.  Gravel is then placed surrounding and on top of the French Drain Pipe.  Typically French Drains For Residential and Small business applications have perforated pipe that is 3 Inch, 4 Inch or 6 inch.  The larger the pipe the more water your Drainage System can handle.

I personally believe that ADS French Drain Pipe is very good.  Pvc French Drain pipe is very bad.  I have made a very good living replacing PVc French Drain Pipe with ADS French Drain Pipe.

ADS holds up over time much better.  It has a Neoprene Sock around the perforated pipe that keeps dirt from clogging the drain pipe over time.  PVc French Drain Pipe becomes brittle and cracks and deteriorates in only a few years.  It will not have a “soc” around either.  If you are not sure which one is which, Ads is Black and Pvc is white.  The choice is yours.

Anyway, Sorry! i’ll step off my soap box.

Limestone covering a French drain

Large 6 Inch French Drain

A French Drain is designed to move a large amount of water in a large area such as a yard, flower bed or on the side of a house.   They are installed in dirt and are covered with some type of crushed stone or gravel.  A trench that a French Drain is going to be installed in looks like this.

A Trench Liner can be installed in the trench as well.   It is cloth that is designed to go in the empty trench before the Perforated Pipe and the Gravel is installed.  The Trench liner can be found at most retail drainage outlets.  If you can’t find any, ” Weed Matt” in the garden section that goes in flower beds works very well.

A trench liner will increase the cost of a French Drain.  Many times they are not necessary.  Sometimes they are very necessary.

A Trench Liner will maintain the integrity of the Drainage Trench over time.  But, If you have a “Sub Surface Water Problem they may impede how well your French Drain Works.

Don’t worry, It will make more sense as you read this blog and ones that follow.

A completed French Drain looks like this.

river rock french drain

French Drain covered with River Rock.

Moving a large volume of water is not the only reason to install a French Drain.

When Diagnosing a Drainage Problem, the first thing to consider is how does the water get into the Problem Drainage Area.  The most obvious way is by flowing over the top of the ground.  This is called “Surface Water.”  Water comes from somewhere else by flowing over the ground.

I know that’s overly simple but right now its necessary.

French Drains do a Great Job in moving Surface Water away from the flooded area.  For example, the water flows out of my neighbors yard, down the hill and into mine.  It then runs into my French Drain, Then into the drain pipe, it then moves through the drain pipe to the exit point at the curb outlet  and into the street.

( Simple Enough)  Ahh, but there is more!

The thing that people miss, don’t anticipate, and don’t understand, is “Sub-Surface Water.”  Sub-surface water is not accounted for many times, in the design of a Drainage System.

OK, Think about the example above again, only this time the water is flowing underground as well as over the surface.  So, in fact, you have at least two sources of water feeding your Drainage Problem Area.

Why is that important?

Surface Drains are not designed to move “Sub-Surface Water.”  Just as the name says, Surface Drains move Surface Water.

Many times a Surface Drain is installed out in a yard to solve a drainage problem instead of a French Drain.

Surface Drain Connection

Surface Drain connected to a Transition Pipe

Don’t get me wrong, Surface Drains are great!  I have installed literally thousands of them since 1993.  They do an awesome job when they are installed for the right reasons.  Problem is they do absolutely nothing to drain “Sub Surface Water”.  In later blogs we will discuss the correct application of a Surface Drain.

Back to the French Drain.  A French Drain can take in water topically. ( In the top of the drain) It also can take water in Laterally. ( Through the Sides underground)

So you must determine before installing a Drainage System,  how the water gets into the problem drainage area.

Is it Surface Water?  Sub-Surface water? Or Both?  Our next blog will discuss this.

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Do It Your Self French Drain, DIY, Surface Drain, Drainage System, French Drain Information

French Drains and Surface Drains as part of Drainage Systems

This is a series of blogs that first explains exactly what French Drains and Surface Drains are,  and how they are used in a Drainage System.

Next, I will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks are of each type of drain and why you would use one type of drain over another in many different situations.

Last, I will explain the specifics of how to install your own Drainage System and how to diagnose exactly what type of system you need in the first place.

At the top and  bottom of every blog in this series will be a listing of all the connecting blogs that you can “Click” on to easily move back and forth through the series.

Next Blog

A French Drain is just a part of a Drainage System.  Many people refer to basically any type of Drain in or around their home as a French Drain.  This actually in not correct.

 

Before you can really understand what a French Drain is, you first must be familiar with a Drainage System and what it involves.

A Drainage System has three parts.  It has an “Intake” to bring water into the Drainage System.  It is placed in a low area where water is standing or is in area where water sometimes runs across it over the surface or under the surface or both.  An “Intake” will be a French Drain, Surface Drain or Sump Pump.

In a Simple Drainage System there will only be One “Intake.”  In a Complex Drainage System there will be several Intakes.  They may vary in type and size.  For Example, You may have a Drainage System with a Surface Drain, and a French Drain and a Sump Pump all as separate  Intakes in the Drainage System.  The Intakes will vary in number and type depending on what water issues you are trying to fix.

The “Transition” is the second part of the Drainage System which is the Drain Pipe that moves the water out of the area that is flooded.  It is your water “High Way, ” as it were.  Typically there are two types of Transition Drain Pipes that will be covered later.

Finally you have an “Exit” which releases the water from the drainage system.  It must be in an area that is lower than the French Drain or Surface Drain that is you “Intake.”

 

 

A French Drain  is a perforated pipe that is basically full of slits or holes.  A trench is dug across the problem drainage area.  The dirt from the trench is hauled away.  The perforated pipe is placed in the trench.  The Drainage trench is dug deep enough so that the perforated French Drain Pipe is several inches below ground level when placed in the trench.  Next gravel or some type of crushed stone is placed on top and around the French Drain perforated pipe until the trench is full.

 

Once a French Drain is completed you will see gravel on the surface in a place where dirt use to be.

A French Drain is designed to take in and move a large amount of water.  It covers a large area with water standing on or moving across the area.  It needs to have some “Slope” or “Fall” to drain the water.  The pipe needs to run down hill to the exit point to release it from the Drainage System.  If it is up hill in all directions from the French Drain then there is a problem.  We all know that water will not flow up hill.  Some times this can be overcome when it is only slightly up hill by digging the trench deeper as you go up hill.  Still the exit point in the Drainage System must be lower than the French Drain where the water is taken into the drainage system, or the water will never drain.

In conclusion, a French Drain is a perforated Pipe in a trench covered in gravel.  It is the “Intake” part of a Drainage System.  It covers a wide area and needs to be higher than the exit point of the Drainage System.

This is the first in a series of blogs about French Drains and all other types of Drains as well.  If you would like to learn more just Click on the “Next Blog” below.

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