Have you considered installing a french drain pipe (curtain drain) in order to divert water from your crawl space or basement? Sometimes the task can be quite difficult and if you are going to perform this project you want to make sure it is working for years to come.

If your home is under attack from groundwater or even sub-surface water, make a french drain your first line of defense. Here are some tips to assist you when choosing which pipe to install in your french drain or as some call it a curtain drain.

There are several choices of pipe available today for french drains. Corrugated pipe is the black pipe available at many hardware stores. Corrugated pipe can be solid or perforated so make sure you grab the right one.

It can have a sock already installed and even come with aggregate attached. The aggregate is designed to eliminate more dirt from entering the pipe and also helps use less gravel. Another option is a sewer and drain pipe.

Image of NDS ezflow

NDS EZ-Flow French Drain Drain Pipe

The NDS EZ Flow pipe is a great choice for a french drain. This corrugated perforated pipe comes with the sock and aggregate already installed. EZ Flow pipe has a 100 year material life span. This pipe can be used with no gravel, gravel and sand depending on the install and soil types.

EZ Flow pipe comes in 10 foot sections in many different diameters to make french drains simple to install. The most common we use is 3 inch and 4 inch pipe diameter. The diameter with the aggregate is about 7 to 10 inches on the EZ Flow 3 and 4 inch pipe.

Poly-Rock aggregate features engineered flow channels that increase capacity. The result is a superior flow rate – 30% better than gravel and traditional pipe according to the manufacturer. The Poly Rock aggregate is made from 100% recycled materials.

Sewer and Drain (S&D) French Drain Pipe

Sewer and drain pipe is another common pipe we use in basement waterproofing, crawl spaces and french drains. S&D pipe can be a little more difficult to install during a DIY French Drain Project simply because it requires more time to add 90s, 45s and couplings. EZ Flow pipe can bend making it quicker to install.

Perforated sewer and drain pipe needs a sediment sock and a lot more gravel than EZ flow corrugated pipe. S&D pipe can be more durable therefore less likely to crush in a french drain. Both products are great. Application, time and budget may determine which you would prefer to install.

Install Tip - Never run downspouts into perforated french drain pipes. It's OK to use the same ditch as the perforated pipe. Always run gutter water into a solid pipe that exits to daylight or a pop-up valve.

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About Michael Church

Michael Church has been involved with indoor air quality since 2005 and feels the unhealthy crawl space is one of the major problems causing poor indoor air quality.

13 Comments

  1. Audrey Kinley on May 21, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I never thought to have a drainage system installed, I guess that would help a lot with waterproofing. I should actually tell my aunt about this, she’s got a few floods in her basement. Hopefully she can do some waterproofing just in case she gets a serious flood.

    • Michael Church on May 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks Audrey. If your aunt has a flooded basement you should encourage her to look into basement waterproofing or perhaps a french drain system outside.

  2. Bob Lowe on May 23, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Thank you for the post. I think a french drain is ideal for helping a wet area in your yard to have proper drainage. I think the process is fairly simple to do, but it makes sense to hire out a company to install the system. I think they will be able to know where to place the system, and keep the proper slope to keep water draining properly.

    • Michael Church on May 25, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for your insight Bob. We have seen many waterproofing mistakes that ultimately costing more money if someone is hired that is not familiar with french drains and how they work.

  3. Gloria Durst on July 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I agree that you want to consider a curtain drain system to keep water out of your basement. It would make sense to find someone who is experienced with this to install it. My basement flooded recently, maybe if I had a drain pipe I could have avoided that mess and clean up.

  4. Wade on April 28, 2018 at 8:29 am

    What do you guys recommend for a house with 12 to 15 inches of crawl space, can’t find anyone to encapsulate. Old farmhouse.

    • Michael Church on April 30, 2018 at 8:02 am

      Hello and great question. We would either remove sub-floor or dig out areas to allow us to move around. Sorry, sounds like a big job.

  5. Greg on August 30, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Just purchased a home in Southern Missouri with a crawl space. There is lots of water getting down there and I want to install a water proofing system. Do I install the system outside or inside the crawl space? I want to use EZ Flow pipe and route it to a sump pit. After I put the EZ Flow pipe in the ground, what do I cover it with since it already has the styrofoam around it? Thanks in advance! Love the videos on YouTube!

    • Michael Church on August 31, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Hi Greg, Great question. There is a possibility you may need to install both outside and inside if you are taking on a lot of water. Outside, depending on soil would be 6-18 inches deep as a french drain would help divert a lot of surface water. In East Tennessee we have a lot of clay so closer to the surface outside is better for us. Inside the crawl space you only need to capture surface water in most cases so level with surface is fine. I’d use excavated dirt for the trench to weigh down the pipe which can float given enough water. Hope that helps. Thank you so much for watching our YouTube videos. Who knows if you like crawl spaces enough after finishing your project, Check out our Franchise.CrawlSpaceNinja.com site. 🙂

  6. Nathan on February 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Michael,

    I have a home in Alabama and the backyard is significantly higher than the front yard. We have diverted most all of the water from the crawlspace but there are still times where water is creeping into the crawlspace. Its only a few sections of the crawlspace but I feel there are cracks in the foundation block on the outside letting this water inside still. In lieu of digging up all the exterior walls, can I just install a crawlspace trench to expel the water that is still making it into the crawlspace and then encapsulate the crawlspace? There is already a heavy vapor barrier down so I would just be adding onto that existing barrier and then covering up the areas where water is still leaking in. My main goal is to just keep the moisture in the soil and out of my crawlspace to prevent mold. FYI … When I say water in crawspace I would say 2 inches or so on a 20-30 ft wall. The water does go into the soil but might be standing for a bit while it works it way in.

    Love the site, thanks!

    Nathan

    • Michael Church on February 10, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Nathan, thank you so much. We always recommend a full perimeter trench with a perforated pipe leading to a sump pump when we install a french drain system in a crawl space. Not to say a trench alone doesn’t move water but in order for us as a company to do the work we would need to install it that way to ensure we can warranty it in the future. Hope that helps.

  7. Hunter on March 2, 2020 at 11:25 am

    I have water seeping through concrete block into crawlspace on one side of the house. Would laying the NDS EZ-Flow French Drain Drain Pipe at an angle divert that water away from the house? And by an angle I mean towards the front of the home at a downward slant. Found it at local hardware. Do I need to add sand or gravel?

    • Michael Church on March 5, 2020 at 4:23 pm

      It could certainly help but once the water makes its way in, really difficult to stop without and interior or exterior foundation approach to handling it.

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