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French Drains: Interior French Drains vs Exterior French Drains – What Is The Best?

Basements are among the most vulnerable areas in a home. They are below the ground’s surface. In some states, building codes require the installation of exterior or inside French drains.

These systems offer the best chance to prevent flooding, water damage and mold growth in basements. How can you choose the right system for your home? Here are the facts.

Exterior French Drains

French drains can be installed around foundation perimeters. The drain is a flexible perforated drainpipe that is buried in the foundation footing. To filter dirt and sediments, landscape fiber and gravel are placed around the pipe.

Water that pools around foundation walls will enter the pipe and drain away to a sump pump within the house.

Exterior drain installation is more difficult because it involves the removal and replacement of landscaping, driveways sidewalks porches decks, porches, porches, walkways, decks, and other elements. Maintenance is also difficult and expensive, which can lead to costly exterior excavation. Because the pipe is buried under several feet of soil, it can become clogged over time.

Interior French Drains

A perforated pipe is also used to create an interior French drain. It’s located around the perimeter of the basement floor. The gravel surrounding the perforated pipe filters out dirt and sediments, just like exterior drains. As it enters the basement, the pipe collects water and transports it to a sump pit. There, a pump pumps it away from the foundation.

Interior drains can be installed in existing homes without causing disruption or requiring as much labor as exterior drains. The preparation involves removing all belongings from the basement walls and using a Jackhammer to break down concrete.

Because the pipe is easily accessible, interior drain maintenance is much easier. The pipe is also less likely to become clogged because it’s not hidden under several feet of dirt. Interior systems are also protected against the elements, soil conditions and roots that may grow into the drainage system. They can also be installed all year round, regardless of the season.


French drains can be installed in both the exterior and interior of your basement to protect it from flooding or water damage. However, because of the difficulty and cost of servicing and installing an exterior drain on an existing house, it might be cheaper to install interior drains. Note: If you are building a new house, make sure to check your local building codes. To determine the best drainage system for your home, consult a basement waterproofing specialist.

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