Dry Well vs. French Drain: Which One is Better for Your Property?

When it comes to waterproofing your home or property, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution that will guarantee the same results for everyone. Every home is different, which means the solution that works best for you might differ from the solution that works for your friends down the road. Dry wells and French drains both serve a common purpose. Each system helps to manage water and redirect it to a better place so that it can’t harm your foundation or your structure. While both options have that in common, they are also very different by design. 

In this guide, we will explore the differences between dry wells and French drains and help you better understand what each one is. You will learn the benefits of each system and more about how to choose which will be better for your needs. 

Understanding Dry Wells

A dry well is an exterior drainage solution. These waterproofing solutions require digging a large hole, placing waterproof materials and large basins, and then establishing a system to direct water to a better location. The dry well is designed to help reduce runoff and prevent flooding. Dry wells are often used when you tend to have excessive water in the yard. If you notice water standing after rainfall or snow melts, a dry well can help soak up the water and drain it out of your yard to much deeper levels of the substrate soil. This moves water around so that it doesn’t lead to flooding or end up in your home or basement. 

A dry well is installed by digging a trench that is sufficient for the needs of your property. These trenches are usually substantial in size and will require some digging and installation to achieve. The basins are then placed and the trenches are filled in with loose gravel to close them up and make them look better. The basins are attached to piping systems that collect water and push it to a better place so that it doesn’t flood your yard. In some cases, properties can even have multiple dry wells to help achieve better yard drainage. 

Understanding French Drains

French drains are more commonly used on the interior of your home. However, the concept can be used for internal or external drainage. French drains use a shallow trench that is dug in problem areas or around the foundation as a protection mechanism. Rather than several feet, it’s more like several inches to one foot of a trench. Then, a perforated piping system is placed into the trench and covered with gravel. The perforations allow water to easily divert into the pipes. The gravel is permeable, so water can easily trickle past the gravel and head to the pipe system to be diverted well away from the foundation or problem area. 

Think of a French drain as being like a drainage ditch, but on a smaller scale and only for the perimeter of a home or building. The water is directed toward a downward slope and moved well away from the foundation to keep your home safe and dry. The French drain is specifically designed to manage water at ground level, much like dry wells do. They simply work in different capacities. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Dry Well and a French Drain

How do you determine which is best for your property needs? You really should work with a professional. Professionals can inspect your space, take a look at your needs, and help you figure out the best solution. There are several details to consider before getting your drainage system in place. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Budget
  • Soil type
  • Property location
  • Drainage needs
  • Do you need both? 

The answer is – it depends on what your property needs and the water issues that you are trying to resolve. Both of these systems are great in their own ways. 

Remember that a dry well will need a drain pipe and won’t be connected to any nearby water source. This well redirects water deep into the ground. On the other hand, a French drain will need to route water to a water source of some sort, which could be something like a pond or lake. These are easier to install because they require less digging and space to set up. 

Let Drycrete Waterproofing Help You with All Your Waterproofing Needs

Drycrete Waterproofing is a waterproofing specialization company with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. We take pride in helping our customers find the best solutions and then ensuring the job gets done correctly. We’re here to help! If you need waterproofing or drainage solutions or you’re considering systems like the French drain or dry well, give us a call. Contact us today to get a free quote