Linear French Drain

Old 05-30-02, 03:59 AM
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Linear French Drain

Am looking at buying 1st home. Inspector says once crawlspace dampness rectified by correcting slope from rear of house (or adding French drain) structure will be good to go.
Current owner will split cost of excavation, got a guy coming soon for free (my favorite kind) estimate.
Have read about French drain, perforated pipe ($21 per 100 foot @ 4" diameter)laid into a 6 inch trench 24 inches deep. This may be the way to go if est. from excavator too high (inspector said roughly 1 to 2 thousand bucks, depending on any rocks encountered for correcting the slope).
Further checking shows a Ditch Witch w/ backhoe @$300/day, though the bucket is a 12" width and would thus take 2x the gravel to fill over the pipe once it is laid.
Would like to know the rough cost of the French drain, and how you can get a 6" wide trench with a 12" bucket (at's a lotta sideways digging?)
Old 05-30-02, 09:23 AM
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Ya can't get a six in. wide trench with a 12 inch bucket. The very narrow buckets are more of a pain in the A** anyways - hard to get the dirt out if it has any moisture in it. Aside from having to move extra gravel, I think you will find the cost of the extra gravel isn't that much - the cost is in the trucking. If you can get a ditch witch, how wide is the chain on that? May be the best alternative.
Old 05-30-02, 06:34 PM
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Apparently, firstshift hasn't actually seen a Ditch Witch.
Firstshift, a Ditch Witch is a trenching machine with a chain of small digger buckets that can be 4" wide and up.
The backhoe is on the other end, and you shouldn't even need it for a French drain. A Ditch Witch may or may not have a backhoe attached to the other end.
You can usually rent a Ditch Witch of the size (bucket width) that you need. Don't rent one with a backhoe, unless it just comes with the one you're renting.
They're easy to operate. You just crank them up, adjust the depth of the trencher and let it do the digging.
You should be able to d-i-y for far less than $1,000 bucks.
They key thing is know where ALL underground electrical, plumbing (supply and drain), phone, cable TV, and any other lines are in the area that you're digging.
Have them all marked (free service) or locate all of them yourself with a shovel.
Good Luck!
Old 05-31-02, 08:53 AM
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Your right Old Guy - I hadn't thought maybe he had never seen one. The only "problem that might come up is rocks are tough on a ditch witch (and the operator). Myself, don't have that problem - you couldn't find a rock of any size in the sand pile I live on

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