Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sweat Equity Part One.

This is the first installment, of a new series I am writing called Sweat Equity. As some of you know, I recently acquired my first home, which is located in Seattle, WA… in a small area of town called Ballard.

In this first series, I have documented the design and installment of French Drains. My approach to “fixing” up my house has been straightforward; I find good sources of knowledge, i.e. people and sponge off them (Want a good place to find people, check out http://seattle.craigslist.org). Once I find the right person, usually after a pseudo interview, I make sure to compensate them for their time… i.e. pizza, beer. :)

I had some concerns about finishing out my basement, and it flooding from all that Seattle rain. I could also see signs of past damage (yellowing coloration) to the cement wall sides... indicating possible water flow behind or beneath. Other things I set out to do, was to connect all of my rain gutters to the French drain system, and build out a couple of dry wells for run-off drainage water. French drains are not very hard to do, however they do require a BUNCH of manual labor. At a high level, we started digging trenches about one foot wide and one foot deep, around the perimeter of my house.

Once the trenches were dugout, we graded each side of the house making sure to slope then trenches about 1 inch every eight feet. After grading was done, we then lined the trench w/ river rock.

The river rock is used to control the flow of water and erosion control. Once a bed of rock was laid… about 1-2 rocks deep, we then laid four inch perforated flex piping along the bed of rocks. We also made sure to cover the perforated flex piping w/ a sock-like material to prevent soil and roots from entering the piping.

After laying tubing, etc… we then laid some more rock over the top of the tubing and then some landscape fabric over the top… again to prevent root systems, etc. from entering. Once this was done, I covered the fabric w/ soil… back to normal.

Here you can see how we attached the gutter system to the French drain system… We also had to use a concrete cutter (very neat tool) to remove small slabs.

Here is Mike digging one of the dry wells, this was the largest of the three, coming in @ 3 feet by 3 feet deep. The dry well was prepped and finished similar to the trenches.

The dry well will collect drainage water and control the flow of it back into the ground… away from the house. Additionally my dry wells will be incorporated back into the overall landscape water run-off.

I spent roughly 900 – 1,000 bucks on my project…, which included some parts and labor. The project took roughly 3 days to complete, and I still cannot believe how much rock and dirt was moved. Thanks to Mike – the mastermind of the project, Pat, Kyle and Dave, all who had helped.

Recently, I have been contemplating a career change… and I am happy to say I have ruled one out, Landscaper / Hole Digger.

Within the next couple of weeks, I plan to start finishing out my basement… stay tuned. For compete pics of my French Drain project, check out:




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