french drain under pavers

marloniusFebruary 28, 2010

My concrete driveway is at the base of a small but steep scarp, and collects a fair bit of water with any amount of rain. The driveway is also irregularly shaped (one car width at street, two car widths at house) and narrow to boot, so I usually have at least one inside wheel hit the mud while pulling in or out. Over the soggy winter we have developed quite a rut which collects a very large puddle when it rains.

I'd like to solve two birds with one stone by laying a french drain from the house end of the driveway to a dry well or rain garden at the street end, lay down gravel appropriately and then possibly some permeable concrete pavers. Will the standard 4" PVC pipe be able to support the load of a vehicle?

There is not enough room between the driveway and the base of the slope to widen the driveway and place a french drain outside of the new driveway boundary. Option two is to cut into the slope and put in a small retaining wall (something I might want to do anyway for aesthetics but would like to put off for a while for budget reasons).

Thanks for reading.

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A french drain along a driveway is a very bad idea that can lead to damage of the drive. Keep excess water on the surface. If you must, use a surface drain inlet and solid pipe to handle areas that cannot be drained otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:34AM
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I agree with Pls8xx.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 2:35PM
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Thanks for the advice, it's definitely nice to find out a plan is wrong before you enact it rather than afterwards.

If I may ask a few follow-up questions, is this a bad idea because the location of the french drain will encourage water to seep underneath the concrete, leading to damage, or because digging the soil out immediately next to the driveway will undermine the concrete and decrease its strength?

I ask because I fear that I already have water seeping underneath the driveway and can't think of another way to fix it. The concrete is already cracked in several places, and I'm looking for a solution that will last a few years before ultimately the whole drive has to be replaced. The house is fifty years old but I have no idea how old the driveway is.

Thanks again, I appreciate any advice.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:01AM
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