Should I Get French Drains?

The Pros & Cons of French Drains/Underground Drains

rain pouring over a guttering system

French Drains*, or “Underground Drains” can be very helpful in preventing and eliminating chronic basement flooding issues, water-pooling issues and foundation problems. 


First, let’s start with what might be causing these chronic issues.

Causes of Chronic Rain Water Problems

A typical guttering system empties rain water near the home’s foundation. For this reason most homes have splash blocks and downspout extensions to carry the water a few feet away from the foundation. This works well if the ground around the home is sloped away from the foundation. 

However, most homes don’t have proper sloping on all four sides. Usually, somewhere along the house the water comes out of downspout and instead of flowing away from the home, it flows towards it. 

The result? 

Thousands of gallons of water could be sitting against the side of a home’s foundation every time it rains. water has pushed the dirt away from the foundation

Eventually, the pressure from this water will seep into the basement, crack the foundation, lead to mold and other problems. No one has time or money for any of that nonsense!

This is where underground drains come in. 

What Is An Underground Drain?

An underground/French drain is a pipe designed to carry the thousands of gallons of water collected by your gutters far away from your home. It does this by connecting to the end of your guttering system – the downspout. 

straight run underground drain

At the connection point, it is buried underground and taken far enough away from the home that the water released will not cause any damage. The only evidence of an French Drain is where it connects at the downspout, and at the release point, where you will see a pop-up drain.

A pop-up drain is flush to the ground until the water pressure builds up. Once the water pressure is built up, the top of the drain will open and allow water to disperse evenly across the yard.

What Are the Pros & Cons of an Underground Drain?

Pro: An Underground makes sure that the water coming from your roof is carried far enough away from your home that the water will not damage your foundation or basement.

Sounds fantastic right?!

Con: An Underground Drain can clog. downspouts causing issues to homes


If debris gets in your gutters, it can flow down the downspout, into your underground drain – and there’s no where for the debris to go from there. 

If this happens, the water will begin to back up – all the way back to the top of your gutters and they will begin to over flow. Which brings you back to square one – water landing against your foundation. It might even be a bigger problem then before, because now to fix it you will have to clean out your French Drain. Imagine the difficulty of cleaning out a clogged pipe that is 20-30 feet long buried underground. Ugh!

Don’t give up on underground drains just yet. There is a solution: Make sure your gutters don’t clog. 

Sound fanciful? 

Actually, it can be a reality. 

How to Prevent Your French Drain From Clogging

The Advantage Gutter Guard® is a solid gutter cover that guarantees your gutters will never clog again. It will guarantee that your underground drain works at peak performance.

Say goodbye to rainwater problems! And hello to peace of mind during rainstorms!

Give Gutter Cover Kansas City professionals a call. In addition to an estimate for Advantage Gutter Guard® they will be happy to evaluate your home’s guttering system to determine if and where your home can benefit from underground drains. 

Planning on digging your own underground drain? Next month we will feature an article on the Do’s and Don’ts of digging an underground drain.

*Underground drains are commonly referred to as “French Drains”. However, French Drains have a more specific application:

There are two types of French Drains that exist in the home improvement world.

1) A drain to help with draining of the yard itself due to sloping issues – not directly as part of the guttering system. It is often confused with Underground Drains because the process looks similar.

2) A complex draining system installed under basements that chronically flood.

However, since French Drains and Underground Drains are colloquially used interchangeably French Drains refer to Underground Drains in this article.