French Drain Question
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    Yank's Avatar
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    French Drain Question

    My barn sits in the corner of a field in a low spot. When it rains hard, water comes underneath the walls on two sides. I have dug an 18 inch ditch around those two sides that will empty into a small stream that runs down the property line. The soil is about 50/50 clay/loam mix. Can I fill this ditch with larger rock back to ground level or do I need to build some sort of bridges to get in and out of the barn?
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    angular rock with no fines will drain and move water fine.....eventually over time they can fill up with silt and clogg but that is a fuction of your location and how much silt is in the run off water

    angular rock is not creek gravel....its a very common mistake to have a trench like you mention then go scoup up creek gravel and fill it and expect it to work
    Last edited by ttazzman; 08-03-2019 at 11:20 AM.
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    Why would you not lay in some drainage pipe first into the ditch & then the rock. It would be a cheap insurance policy. I'm just asking if that could help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddog View Post
    Why would you not lay in some drainage pipe first into the ditch & then the rock. It would be a cheap insurance policy. I'm just asking if that could help.
    Are you talking about something like 6 inch plastic corrugated pipe?
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    If you do not have gutters on the building,,
    you can expect to go through the digging and refilling,,,
    only to have the water to continue coming in,,

    Lack of, or clogged gutters is the problem,, 90% of the time,,,
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    If you do not have gutters on the building,,
    you can expect to go through the digging and refilling,,,
    only to have the water to continue coming in,,

    Lack of, or clogged gutters is the problem,, 90% of the time,,,
    No gutters
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    Similar issue with my pole barn. The grade of the ground is about even with the slab and for us it was normally more of an issue with snow melt but lots of rain would cause the water to go under the wall as well. I dug down a bit (10" or so) the entire length of that wall, lined it with plastic like used for a vapor barrier, then added 6" drain tile that has the cotton sock like material over it and covered it with river rock. In my case it was only one wall and I could direct the flow around the back of the building which then goes down hill. Never had an issue since then.

    When I say drain tile it is a plastic flexible pipe that has holes all the way around it. The sock material is there to help keep it from clogging up. There is a similar pipe available without the cotton sock or holes that won't help much in your case so watch out for that. With the new garage build I am going to splice into it because we will have a 52' long 6" gutter for the new garage which will kick out a ton of water. It would drain right toward the pole barn but I am going to dump that into a box which will then tie into the drain tile. I hope I don't overload it too much. We don't have gutters yet though and can't do that until we get siding and soffits.

    The key to this solution though is having a place to direct the flow to. Our house is on high ground. The pole barn is 65' or so away and just slightly lower grade but from there it goes down quite a bit. So I just needed to direct it away from the wall.

    With french drains you want to go deep enough to be below the frost line in our case you are looking at 5' at least. It wouldn't be very practical to try and dig that deep along the wall. So you would have to direct it to something.
    Last edited by sennister; 08-03-2019 at 09:41 PM.
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    Drape the sides and bottom with fabric Lightweight Nonwoven Geotextiles | ACF Environmental
    leaving extra material to cover the top afterwards. Apply 6” of clean rock, angular or round, to the bottom of the ditch ( on top of the fabric) and lay a perforated pipe on top of the rock. Holes down if it’s got drill holes in it. Then fill the ditch with rock until your 6” below finish grade. Then wrap the rest of the fabric over top of the rock. This ensures no silt gets in the rock, or the pipe. We call it burrito wrap. It’s standard procedure for footing drains. After wrapping the rock and pipe, you can put your choice of material on top without it infiltrating the trench. End result side profile should look like a 12”x12” square of clean rock with a pipe in the exact middle, wrapped all the way around in fabric. Angular rock will behave better and not “squish” around as much as round rock.
    Don’t go no bigger than 2” rock, or you’ll crush the pipe. And don’t just put a 3’ piece of fabric on the bottom and one on top. Get a good wide roll and wrap the whole thing. 5’ should do fine if you didn’t blow out the sides too wide.
    How to Install a French Drain - Southern Exposure
    This ^ is a good example.
    Last edited by Kbar; 08-03-2019 at 11:44 PM.
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    If you’ve dug the ditch 18 inches deep. I would lay some PVC with holes in it like they use in septic by the building. Then T that into the trench away from the building. You will want to at least a quarter inch per foot drop in the pipe going away. As long as you have the pitch to the pipe it won’t freeze up.
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    Go on YouTube and watch French Drain Man's videos... he explains everything VERY clearly...

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