How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

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Jamie1955
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Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:30 pm

How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by Jamie1955 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:37 pm

I need to know if I truly need a French drain in my basement and I sent them or if the companies are just trying to make a sale. Also do I need their fancy white vapor block and humidifier and sump pump. Thank you.

dbr
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by dbr » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:00 pm

Do you have a problem with water in your basement?

Carl53
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by Carl53 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:05 pm

Is this a home under construction or existing? If existing, do you have mold or high humidity issues? The home I live in supposedly had a deep french drain initially installed (apparently not correctly), but subsequently collapsed. There are some springs in my area. Had the original drain remained viable the original owner ought have had no need to retrofit the basement with a tile around the basement interior, sump and pump. I do use a dehumidifier during the summer. Floor drains provide a means to continuously drain condensate, likewise for the furnace/ac. Having such a drain does not preclude the necessity to properly grade around the house and divert/drain runoff.

eucalyptus
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by eucalyptus » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:14 pm

A vapor barrier doesn't really fix anything, it just treats the symptoms.

A dehumidifier can be very useful; it may be incorporated into an air handler (ie as part of your HVAC system). One downside of a dehumidifier is that it cam generate a lot of heat.

A sump pump IMO is a really good thing to have!

We have all three.

But, as the other posters have noted, your question can't be answered without knowing why the drain, etc have been suggested.

carolinaman
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by carolinaman » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:12 am

I had one of these companies give me a proposal several years ago. Part of their proposal was an interior french drain. That makes no sense to me. IMO, it is better to stop the water from getting into the crawl space. I did an exterior french drain instead. I also extended drain pipes 10 feet from house and put heavy plastic in crawlspace using stakes.

I do not know your situation, but these crawl space encapsulation solutions are expensive and oversold. All of the things you mentioned can create their own set of problems if not properly done. There is sometimes a need for encapsulation, but many times you can fix the problem a lot cheaper with other solutions. The pro encapsulation companies have flooded the Internet with their sales pitches which almost make seem like this is the only way to solve the problem. It is not and you can do it a lot cheaper.

The first key is to have proper drainage. The flow of water should be going away from your house. If this is not the case, you will need to do fix that with some landscaping. An exterior french drain and extended drain pipes provide added insurance water is not getting into your crawl space. That will solve most people's problem.

Do some research and talk to other companies before spending a lot of money on encapsulation. Push back on their high costs and see what alternative options they can offer.

BuddyJet
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by BuddyJet » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:28 am

If this is an older home, before deciding about drainage, you might have the drain pipes scoped to see if any have collapsed or disconnected. We found that our water problem was from collapsed cast iron drain pipes in a 50 year old home.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:35 am

Have you ever had water in the basement?

If no, ignore them.

If yes, consider fixing the problem. It won't go away on its own.
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Cubicle
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by Cubicle » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:28 pm

What's prompting your getting quotes for a French Drain? That will determine everything else.

For my & my parent's houses, both in "watery" areas which have flooded before, we both have French Drains & sump pumps (with backups). Both our houses will have water flowing into the sump pits during rain storms, which tells me the drains & pumps are needed.

We haven't needed any moisture barriers. We used to run a de-humidifier on my parent's basement, but that was because the sump pumps weren't properly covered & it was actually moisture from the warm ground water. Once that was sealed up, no need for it.

Test the humidity in your basement, often, & keep a log of it. Lots of ways to do that.

https://www.google.com/search?q=humidity+level+meter

I got this book free years ago at a home renovation convention. And it is one of my favorite books of all time, ever, including texts, medical, finance, auto repair. (I'm a weird person.) I have no financial interest in the book, have never used any product of the author, do not own or have interest in any basement waterproofing company, but it really makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend it.

https://www.amazon.com/Dry-Basement-Sci ... 0977645703

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:53 am

If OP has not had water in their basement, then one has to wonder why an estimate was obtained.
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batpot
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Re: How do I know if I really need a french drain in my basement or if The companies are just trying to make a sale?

Post by batpot » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:06 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:12 am
I had one of these companies give me a proposal several years ago. Part of their proposal was an interior french drain. That makes no sense to me. IMO, it is better to stop the water from getting into the crawl space. I did an exterior french drain instead. I also extended drain pipes 10 feet from house and put heavy plastic in crawlspace using stakes.

I do not know your situation, but these crawl space encapsulation solutions are expensive and oversold. All of the things you mentioned can create their own set of problems if not properly done. There is sometimes a need for encapsulation, but many times you can fix the problem a lot cheaper with other solutions. The pro encapsulation companies have flooded the Internet with their sales pitches which almost make seem like this is the only way to solve the problem. It is not and you can do it a lot cheaper.

The first key is to have proper drainage. The flow of water should be going away from your house. If this is not the case, you will need to do fix that with some landscaping. An exterior french drain and extended drain pipes provide added insurance water is not getting into your crawl space. That will solve most people's problem.

Do some research and talk to other companies before spending a lot of money on encapsulation. Push back on their high costs and see what alternative options they can offer.
basement != crawl space.
It's far easier/economical to put a french drain in a basement, than dig 8+ feet to install external drainage.

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