Install a French drain to protect your home’s foundation.
Category Excavation
4 May 2022,

Install a French drain to protect your home’s foundation.

The name may evoke something sophisticated or beautiful but actually, a French drain is very practical and necessary to your home.

A French drain removes water that accumulates in the home and keeps the foundation dry.They have 2 components; a ditch and a perforated pipe running underground which direct the water away from your property as it discards runoff to a drain or creek.

If you see cracks in the foundation walls or notice the basement is more humid than usual, the chances are that your French drain needs to be replaced.

The drainage system of any home is critical as it facilitates the flow of water from your land and preserves the foundation.

When should you consider replacing your French drain?

In this article, you will know what factors to consider when planning to install or replace a French drain and the budget you may need.

Our renovation partners will be happy to assist you with free estimates so you can plan your project accordingly.

Just fill out the form on this page to receive FREE and NO-OBLIGATION quotes for a French drain installation or replacement.

When to replace a French drain

Installing a French drain.

Cracks in the foundation walls, rainwater accumulating around the property, or a high level of humidity in the home are indicators that the drainage is not working as well as it should.

A French drain is a conduit around the house that removes water in the ground to prevent the concrete from degrading and prevent humidity.

When the drain is ineffective, the soil around the foundation retains water and becomes soaked during the rainy season. This results in increased humidity and leads to a deterioration of the foundation over time.  For this reason, French drains are absolutely important in Quebec.

If you don’t take any action regarding the problems with your French drain, your basement will develop moisture problems and cracks. This is not smart because your home will be in jeopardy!

Below arecommon scenarios where installing or replacing a French drain is highly recommended.

#1: Your house does not have a French drain.

Many old homes may not have a foundation drain. Today, building standards require effective drain systems to be put in place.

In case your home dates back to the 1970s, you should check if you have an effective drainage system and install one, if needed.

#2: The drain is clogged.

A French drain can become clogged due to sediments, mud, and other residues from the ground. A clogged drain prevents the effective flow of water from your property.  Consider remedies by speaking to a professional today.

#3: Presence of iron ocher

The presence of iron ocher will result in damage to the foundation and clogs the drain. It may be necessary to replace the drain completely.

#4: A sagging foundation

A good French drain will protect your foundation and prevent it from heaving, sagging, or worse, failing. Pre-emptive maintenance is always better than waiting for the foundation to fail and spending thousands of dollars to remedy it.

Contact our reliable renovation partners by filling out the short online form below to get the best advice from professionals!

The pros and cons of French Drains

French drains are very popular in Quebec where houses built after 1955 must be equipped with one.

Find out more about the pros and cons of French drains because being a well-informed homeowner will save you a lot of money.

Advantages of French drains:

  • Easy to install without any specialized equipment
  • An inexpensive drainage system that don’t require a previous one or a walkway
  • Clears water from the property to protect the foundation
  • Makes gardening more convenient

Disadvantages of French drains:

  • Excavation may be necessary to dig a drain
  • If not maintained properly, a French drain can result in overflowing and damage

Professionals are your best resources for home improvement projects or repairs. Make sure to consult one of our reliable partners for an effective and successful installation of a French drain.

What is the cost to install or replace a French drain?

Excavation increases the cost of installing a French drain.

Several factors affect the total cost of a French drain namely:

  • The size of the home
  • The space between you and your neighbors
  • The equipment and labor required for the project

A small project may cost a little less than $20,000 while larger projects could cost $30,000 or more.

Yes, installing a French drain can be an expensive undertaking but understand that it is ESSENTIAL to protect your home from damage.

Of course, it is quite possible for your drainage to cost less because every property is different.

Other factors can increase the cost of a French drain replacement such as

  • The type of soil
  • Damage to the foundation
  • Excavation work

It is almost impossible to accurately predict problems before digging starts because drainage is buried underground.

The best way to know is to compare actual quotes from our reliable contractors. Prices tend to be similar in most parts of Quebec although they can be higher in Montreal.

Compare multiple quotes, free of charge. Just fill out our short online form!

How contractors can help with a French drain

Our reliable partners can help you install or replace a French drain in a number of ways:

  • Determine and understand the existing problem regarding the drainage in your property
  • Repair the foundation
  • Choose the best type of membrane and filter
  • Waterproofing
  • Answer any questions about a French drain and how it works and provide professional advice

It is advisable to replace or install a French drain when the snow starts to melt. Plan ahead and speak to reliable contractors to detect problems with your drainage.

Their goal is to assist you with a successful project from beginning to end. You can compare up to 3 free and no-commitment quotes from our partner contractors to choose the right bid.

By being proactive and acting sooner, you can prevent many costly repairs in the future.

You can have peace of mind that all of our partners have been 100% screened and verified for your utmost protection.

FAQs about installation or replacement of a French drain

As we mentioned earlier, installing a French drain will cost thousands of dollars but it is a great investment.

To help you plan your project and get value for your money, we have gathered a few popular FAQs to get you started.

What are some signs of problems with a French drain?

Cracks in the foundation, water infiltration or accumulation, and increased humidity are the most common signs of problems with a French drain.

How much does it cost to fix a French drain?

The answer depends on the conditions of the drain and other problems such as foundation issues. Generally, homeowners spend from $15,000 to $30,000 to repair or replace a French drain. It also depends on the scope of the work such as if excavation is required or the foundation needs to be fixed.

Do I have a French drain in my house?

If your home was built in the late 50s or later, chances are that a French drain was installed on your property.  It could be connected to your sewer.

What is the white powder I see visible on the walls?

This is a sign of water infiltration. The powder you see is called efflorescence which resulted from long-term contact of the concrete with water.  It should not be present in a home and could be a result of improper foundation sealing. You must immediately contact a professional because your foundation is deteriorating.

How long does a French drain last?

French drains can last from 30 to 40 years but factors can shorten their lifespan. Some of these factors include sloping, iron ochre, clogging, poor installation, etc.

What is the difference between an interior and exterior drainage system?

You can keep your home dry using two methods – an interior or exterior drain system. They are both effective but every property would have an appropriate drainage solution.

In Quebec, exterior drains systems are more common and it requires excavation of the ground to install a French drain. Interior drain systems are relatively recent in Quebec. They use a drain inserted under the concrete slab of the foundation.  It does not involve excavation so the cost can be cheaper than an exterior drain.

Can you connect your gutters to your French drain?


No. Gutters were commonly connected to the agricultural drain of a house in the past but those days are over.

In fact, it is now forbidden and strongly discouraged to send water from the gutters into the foundation drain because this creates a surplus of water in the French drain that it cannot manage.

Is it really more expensive to replace a French drain if you live in the city?

Yes, the reason why it is more expensive to replace a French drain in the city is that access to the drain is more complex due to the proximity of the houses. This complicates the passage of mechanical shovels and sometimes requires specialized equipment.

Are French drains mandatory in Quebec?


For the last several decades, the installation of a French drain has been mandatory in Quebec. All new construction must install a French drain to drain the water around the foundation.

How should I choose the right excavator for a French drain replacement?


Check their qualifications and certifications and the quality of their services. Obtain multiple quotes and do due diligence.  We have partner contractors that are all licensed and insured for your peace of mind.

Compare contractors for drainage repair or replacement

Gutter repair or drainage repair for your home.

Don’t risk exposing your home’s foundation to moisture and mold problems! Consider replacing your French drain and get a more efficient drainage system with help from reliable professionals.

Because your home shelters everything that is valuable to you, it is important to make sure you protect it from damage!

Speak to our partner contractors about the quality of your drainage system and detect problems so they can be fixed before more costly repairs become necessary.

Whether you need gutter repair or a new French drain, you are in the right place!

Obtain free quotes using our short online form and get connected to the best home renovators near you!

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