The French Drain in the Ground-Level Room

Leading up from the basement, the French drain continues into the the ground-level room, which is next to the garage and mud room. I have been calling this the “Bonus Room” because it can be used for anything. We’re considering using it as a TV Room (install the flat screen on the wall). Other people with this layout, use this room as an office for their home-based business.


The French drain was paramount here because there used to be moisture under the double windows, which was due to the original old, rotted out gutters on the house. I took this photo walking up the steps from the basement. The 1960’s-style railing will be removed and John will frame out a wall in place of it.  Right now, while under construction, things are stored here.



Before: John added the “clean” 3/4 stone…


He then added the waffle-like material, mixed the concrete (as he did in the basement) and poured it.


AFTER: The “Bonus Room’s” French drain is finished.


With the stacked 2×4’s, it’s time to frame out the west side/garage wall so that insulation can be added as well as adding the wall where the old railing is located.

The French Drain is Finished


As I mentioned before, John finished the French drain in the basement, and installed the sump pump. The last phase of the job was mixing and pouring the concrete which I wrote about last week. Finally, it’s done and we’ll always have a nice, dry basement.


John lifted the sump pump lid and asked me to try to get a photo of the motor inside. If the power goes out, our generator will kick in and save us from a flood.


On the south side basement wall, the French drain leads upstairs to the French drain in the ground-level room next to the garage and mud room.


You can also see that the plumber, Evan, has been hard at work installing all new plumbing in the house. He started in the basement first (and connected the sump pump).

We’re really happy with the plumbing company we chose. If anyone on the Main Line needs an honest and good plumber, please email me and I’ll pass along the company name to you.

After further discussing it with John, we will finish the entire basement floor with concrete and paint or stain it. We were considering tiling it but reconsidered.


Finishing the French Drain: Waterproofing a Basement


This waffle-like plastic material is placed on top of the 3/4 stone.


The sump pump was installed in the corner of the basement.


John mixed the concrete, poured it and worked his magic.


The French drain is finally almost completed. There was a bit of a stall due to so many other jobs to be completed at the house. The trench had to be dug a little deeper, the sump pump barrel inserted, the 3/4 stone poured on top of the drain in the trench and then the concrete pour.

A French drain is a lot of work, but in the end, it’s well worth it; we’ll never have a wet basement. If the power goes out, the sump pump’s motor will obviously not work, but fortunately, we have a generator. Without a generator, the sump pump would have to manually be bailed out. We had to do this several times at our previous house. When Hurricane Sandy hit NJ, the power went out almost immediately and we were up all night bailing water out of the sump pump. Otherwise, the basement would flood.

For those of you who live in other parts of the country, where French drains and sump pumps are not too familiar, it’s fairly common in this part of the country. Many people have basements that are wet or flood. Having a French drain solves this issue and also adds value to a house.

imageIt was a torrential down pour when John got the first of two loads of 3/4 “clean” stone. Each load weighed a 1000 pounds. The pile he’s standing on is 1000 pounds.

It’s not easy installing a French drain. But it’s also very expensive to have it professionally done; there’s a lot of labor involved (like everything else with home renovation). But if hiring someone is within your budget, it’s well worth it. Your basement will be DRY!

Laying Perforated Pipes for a French Drain

Starting on the west block wall in the bonus room (underneath the windows), John jack hammered to the footing, and dug 6″ adjacent to the footing, where he put the 4″ perforated pipe in the trench. The tape measure is pointed to where the 4″ pipe will go through the block wall and connect to the French drain below in the basement.



John will drill a hole through the block below and the 4″ pipe will connect to the right angle in the basement.


For right now, if you can, ignore the garish, dirty, yellow walls. After the waterproofing is complete and the paralams are installed, the basement will be painted and the floor will either be polished concrete or tiled. At this stage, we’re still undecided about the floor.


The lower basement perforated pipe will connect to the right angle (in the above photo) with a vertical non perforated 2″ pipe (pipe is on basement west side wall).


Basement east side wall where the sump pump is located…

Andy, from Waterproofing One (HomeAdvisor), will be coming to the house on Friday for the second consultation and to drop off the 3/4 stone. He’ll look at John’s work to date and guide him on what needs to be done next.

Stay tuned…