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The Importance of Drainage Systems in Boston MA

There are three avenues for water to invade or penetrate a home’s envelope or shell. The parts that make up a building’s shell are the roof, windows, sub floor, and exterior walls and doors. Together they serve to prevent or slow the intrusion of air and water, especially where floor and foundation meet or the roof and walls meet, as these are the most vulnerable.

Although a building’s walls and roof typically have a water barrier, such as asphalt felt on the roof or a layer of sealant on basement walls, there still exists a need for some type of drainage systems in Boston MA. The three types of water loads a building faces are roof, surface (water on the ground from rainfall), and hydrostatic (water that coming up from the ground). Homes are built with various forms of drainage systems designed to handle water from any of these sources. The most common type capable of handling all three forms of water loads is the French drain.

A French drain is either a trench that is filled with crushed stone or pea gravel or a perforated piping whose purpose is to move both ground and surface water away from a building’s foundation. Although not known if it originated in France per se, it is definitely named after Henry Flagg French, who lived in 1800’s in Massachusetts, and outlined its use in his book on drainage systems. The earliest form consisted of roofing tiles incorporating gaps for water drainage.

Today’s French Drainage Systems in Boston MA are either installed under the basement floor on the interior perimeter or buried underground on the outside of the building’s foundation, with the latter preferred in homes. The typical process involves laying the tile or perforated pipe in the excavated trench and topping with a layer of gravel. Most contractors prefer to also add a layer of permeable landscape fabric that permits water flow while at the same time prevents sediment from entering the pipe.

While the main use of French drains is that of preventing water from invading or penetrating a building or home’s foundation, they also serve other needs, such as distributing water in a septic field. They are also widely used with retaining walls to provide relief from ground water pressure. Click here to read more about French drains and other drainage systems and their applications.

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