French drains and gutters are great options for residential water management. Gutters work near the roof; French drains work on the ground level. What’s the best way to manage water on your property? What’s the difference between French drains vs. gutters? Read on to understand your options.
How French Drains Work
French drains are pipe systems embedded into the ground. They typically consist of a perforated drain pipe surrounded by rocks. In some areas, the rocks are then topped with a layer of sod to blend in with the ground. In other areas, the rocks are left exposed and act as a decorative feature on the property.
Water flows more easily through the rocks than it does soil, so it’s able to collect around the drain when it rains. The tube inside then directs the water away from the property, usually as a way to protect the foundation. If there is a low-lying area of your property that is prone to excess water, a French drain could be a great management solution for you.
How Gutters Work
Gutters control water from the roofline. They sit at the bottom of the roof to collect rain and melting ice. The gutters sit at a slight angle to direct water to the downspouts, and then the downspouts take the water from the roof to the ground. In an ideal setup, the downspouts guide the water away from the foundation to prevent water infiltration.
Learn more: How Gutters Work
Differences in French Drains vs. Gutters
French drains and gutters both serve the purpose of managing water. In many ways, French drains are just gutters in the ground, and gutters are just French drains near the roof. Nevertheless, there are differences in how they operate and where they are best suited.
A French drain can be placed almost anywhere on the property. If you have a sloped yard and need a way to control water at the bottom, you can install a French drain to do just that. Gutters have to be attached to the house, but they can manage water before it reaches the ground level. This is great for foundation protection because it minimizes how much water pools up around the home.
What’s the Best Residential Water Management System?
Both French drains and gutters have their pros and cons. The best water management system for your property will depend on where rain collects in the area. Most experts agree that nearly all homes need gutters, but not all properties need French drains. If you are dealing with unmanaged water at ground level and you already have gutters in place, a French drain may be the perfect addition for you.
Can You Have Gutters and a French Drain?
Yes, you can have a residential drainage system that includes gutters and a French drain. In fact, many homeowners use a French drain to manage water at the end of their downspouts. The goal is to create a layout that keeps water away from your basement or foundation. This may require only one of these systems or a combination of the two.
Schedule a Quote for New Gutters
If you’re in need of new gutters for your home, Sargent Gutters & Siding offers free estimates. We’d be happy to schedule a quote and discuss your gutter layout in person. Please give us a call at (800) 465-7460 to get started.