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Taking elevations is critical to designing a drainage system that works

The designers at Bobcats for Hire will carefully evaluate your site conditions to design and install an appropriate drainage systems to your location that will meet the needs of your site while complying with local stormwater laws. Our systems are constructed using rigid PVC pipe, wide roll protective filter fabric, and plenty of 2 ½" crushed stone for drainage. We will shoot elevations and calculate both flow rates and pipe sizing to ensure that your system will work as intended. Your project designed by our engineer and the installation is also carefullly monitored to ensure that it is installed to our standards. This care in installation ensures that your underground drainage system is going to function as intended for many years into the future. Our equipment uses wide rubber tracks that operate excellent in swampy, wet areas which are usually found in drainage applications. These wide track machines enable our company to install a professional drainage system in much less time, with much more crushed stone, and also with much less damage to existing lawns than conventional rubber tire machines. Because larger French Drain systems are constructed below ground and may require as much as fifty to seventy-five tons of stone, it is imperative to hire a contractor who understands the nature and limitations of water flow and is using dedicated track equipment. This ensures that your project will be designed correctly and will receive the required, difficult to move materials to function as intended. Our articulated excavators allow for digging in compact areas and also against a building which is usually needed when addressing a leaky basement.

Free "As Built" with every installation on request.

We will beat any written estimate for a drainage system that has been designed by an engineer who will also provide an onsite "As Built" that verifies a correct installation.

Flooded yards can be fixed with drainage!Exterior French Drains & Foundation drains cure Saturated lawns & basement flooding.Flooded front yard before drainage is installed

Creek overflowing in back yard

Ground Water Exposed------- full story...

Wet yards can be repaired with drainage

Mosquitoes breed all summer long

Solving Drainage Problems will:
Improve your home's value and usefulness
Eliminate Mosquitoes & Tick areas
Additional play space for children

Reduce Mold & dependency on a basement sump pump

Regrading for Drainage

The purpose of a French Drainage System is to carry unwanted free standing water away from a building, such as your home. French drains are commonly installed near the perimeter of a building at the lowest point or anywhere where standing water is found. The system may terminate at any point where the water will not drain back toward the house. The best approach is to connect to a city storm drain, where possible, to totally remove the water from the property. A second best solution would be to run the water out to the street or to a dry well. French drains can be shallow or deep drainage systems depending on soil type and grade changes. However, as with your plumbing waste drainage, French drains operate on the principle of gravity. The drain must slope downward. The minimum recommended slope is 1/4 inch per foot. If the landscape grade runs upward along the French drain path you will have to dig deeper to maintain a downward slope.
There are many variables that affect how individual houses develop water problems. Often it is a combination of factors that develop over time. French drains work by curing a symptom, not the cause. They extract the water collected in the drainage pipes to an outside location away from the area intended to be kept dry. It is always more beneficial to divert water on the outside of a foundation wall before it ever has an opportunity to penetrate the foundation. This method has several advantages which include reducing or eliminating mold, protecting the foundation from excess moisture, and also (usually), the benefit of a gravity only system.

Don't Despair, we'll repair

New Jersey Drainage Consultant, Designer, and Installer

Beware of slick salespeople that suggest an inside French Drain to cure your basement water problems. It is always more beneficial to divert unwanted water before it has a chance to penetrate your foundation walls, allowing it to flow away via gravity instead of using an electric pump to remove the water from your basement sump pit. "Inside French Drains" encourage the water to pour through your foundation walls where it will collect in a sump pit. The only thing between you and a flooded basement is that small electric pump and a steady supply of electricity during the storm. Keep in mind that power outages most frequently occur during a storm. Also, an inside French drain does not "waterproof" your basement, but instead collects the water and dampness inside your basement to be pumped out with an electric pump. Both water and dampness remain inside your basement with an "inside" French drain.

Wet Basements Breed MoldThis Basement can be dry and Mold Free, and so can your's with a properly designed and installed foundation drain.

The foundation drain and waterproof membrane shown to the right will ensure that this basement will be dry and mold free over time. The exterior membrane prevents the foundation walls from contact with saturated soil, and the foundation drain ensures that water collected has a gravity path to be discharged away from the structure.


Often, people ask us how effective a French Drain will be.

What really happens on the bottom of a French Drain? Click here to see for yourself !!!

Foundation drain and waterproof membraneRegrading for Drainage

french drain design


Installation:Installing a French drain is usually a simple, but labor intensive project. Obstacles, however, can make the project costly and time consuming. These include: Decks, concrete walkways, driveways, tree roots, boulders, and underground utilities. If you build a house, be sure to ask the builder to include inside and especially outside French drains on your new house. They may not seem important now, but as your house ages, water incursions can change over time, and a cheap installation now may relieve expensive headaches later. During construction, the cost of a French drain is negligible. Spring for it. Demand it!

French drains for the NJ region

It's called an exterior French or Foundation Drain, and this will keep the water out of your basement before it ever has a chance to get inside. This method is far superior because the water and dampness stay outside, and it needs no electric!!!Excavation for drainage project 

French drains cure ground water saturation


This home in New Jersey had a saturated backyard even during the summer months. Mosquitoes were a major problem due to this persistently saturated condition. Following numerous quotes from area landscapers who simply wanted to add top soil, the homeowner called upon Bobcats for Hire to solve the water problems plaguing their property. A comprehensive design was proposed that included a combination of French drain and also connection of leader drains.


Soggy Yard before french drains   - Example_1a

Upon excavation, we found a large contributing factor to the problem which could only be solved using our gravity based system of drainage. The neighbor's sump pump and roof drainage water were being surreptitiously directed to the border of the properties with nowhere to go except in the lawn. (See pictures to the right) A long trench had been excavated approximately four feet deep and diagonally across the property so that the water could be routed to a city storm sewer instead of this customer's backyard. The drain is also protected with Typar filter fabric and backfilled with 2 ½" crushed stone. Two pipes are used as conduit for the water. The lower pipe at the bottom of the trench is a four inch perforated PVC pipe used to carry the seeping water to the storm basin. The visible pipe is also PVC, but solid to carry away the water intruding from the neighboring property directly to the storm sewer.

french drain across a lawn

The entire trench is then wrapped in the protective fabric where lawn will be replanted. The end result is a dry back yard with the added benefit that the basement sump pump now runs much less frequently than it did prior to the installation of the drainage system in the backyard.

Taking elevations is critical to designing a drainage system that works

This entire system runs by gravity and never needs a pump or electricity! Professional grade filter fabric is being used above to protect the trenches from sediment buildup. This fabric is shipped on a fifteen foot wide roll to ensure that the new drain is properly protected.  The fabric allows water to flow through to the drain, but keeps all sediment from contaminating the stone.  Filter fabric is the best way to ensure that your drain will perform for many years to come.


french drain protect5ed with filter fabricGroundwater discharge from neighboring property

Some installers do not take into consideration all of the site's unique features and boundaries, and can cause problems for adjacent properties as a result.

Ground water or a well?

This underground well was discovered at a residential property in Nutley, NJ while installing a drainage system at this home. The well was hand dug and built by hand with bricks. Its age was unknown. The homeowner did not know that this 24 foot deep well was buried about six inches below his front walkway entrance to the home. Steps were taken to seal the well to prevent the safety hazard. Occasionally, we will also discover septic tanks that have not been properly filled and can pose a collapse hazard.


Underground well discovered while installing a french drain

Exterior waterproofing is best for your wet Basement

This house in New York had been getting water in the basement, burned out three sump pumps, and also had numerous wet spots in the backyard for days following a rainstorm.  This wet soggy condition led to mosquitoes all through the summer months.  Following a careful assessment of how to best solve the problem, we decided on installing an outdoor French Drain along the entire perimeter of the home in addition to several surface drains and a French Drain in the backyard.

French Drain

French Drain
Sure it costs a little more, but isn't your family's health worth

The first step is to excavate below the basement floor to the foundation. Next, the conc rete wall is carefully cleaned and then damp proofed with either a tar based substance or waterproofed with a Paraseal membrane. Filter fabric is then installed to protect the trench. A perforated PVC pipe is used as a conduit for the water to flow through, and then the entire trench is backfilled with plenty of 2 1/2" stoneThe entire run of perforated pipe is continuously sloping downhill to remove the unwanted water twenty four hours a day, seven days per week. This entire system works by gravity with NO PUMPS or ELECTRICITY to burn out or go out!!! Perforated piping is then fitted where it will ultimately be protected by filter fabric and surrounded on top and bottom by crushed stone to act as a conduit for any water to flow through on its way to the sloping PVC pipe. The pipe will always slope away from the residence as it carries away the unwanted water. The end result is a basement that is dry by way of a gravity system that removes water twenty four-seven without allowing it to penetrate your basement walls or requiring the use of an electric sump pump to remove the water.

French Drain

A deep trench is dug from the end of the house towards the city storm drain. Notice the amount of water draining away from the house through this deep trench. Again, filter fabric, perforated PVC pipe, and 2 ½" stone are used to carry the unwanted water away from the home. Ultimately, the drain is completed with the end result being a bone dry basement by way of an outdoor French Drain.

This basement is now ready for a children's playroom which includes carpeting without worry of future flooding!!! Among the advantages of an outdoor drain are that no water seeps through your home's foundation walls, thereby eliminating water damage to your foundation.  Additionally, an outdoor system does not rely on a sump pump to remove water collected in your basement.  Water is routed away from your house before it even gets to the basement. When considering an indoor type French Drain, ask yourself if you would rather rely on a sump pump and electric during a storm, or if you would prefer good old gravity to remove the water instead.  Pumps and electric can fail, but gravity is always there. Additionally, this type of French drain has the added benefit of removing all roof water through the leader system and also in quickly drying out the rest of the property and landscaping so that the children and pets can play outside without getting muddy!!!  No indoor only drains can accomplish that, too.  Dollar for dollar, an exterior French Drain provides a much better value because it not only removes water from your basement, but also from your lawn areas!!!

French Drain

Water will drain by gravity away from this home's foundation.

Ultimately, the drain is completed, the property is graded, and a Paving stone patio is installed in the rear yard.  A tremendous value has been added to this house by making the wet basement now useable for a play room and also in drying out the rear soggy yard!

The hassle of burning out sump pumps, occasional flooding, and constant dampness are all gone thanks to a GRAVITY based foundation drain at this home.

pavingstone patio after basement waterproofing

Another wet, soggy lawn that is now dry

French drain installed in rear yard

Due to a long, steady sloping rear property, this lot on the left had been plagued with a continually wet back yard.  This lawn stayed wet even several weeks following a rain.  In the spring of 2003, Bobcats for Hire had been asked to diagnose the problem and to provide a solution to the drainage issues.  Following our proposal for a solution, this homeowner opted to have his cousin dig up the yard with a rented excavator.  (See photo below)  Following two days of destruction, the homeowner called Bobcats for Hire to repair the damage and complete the proper installation of the needed drainage system.  To the left is a photo of a trench running across the length of the property.  The black filter fabric is used to protect the drain, while the perforated PVC pipe and 2 ½" stone are used as a conduit to carry all unwanted water off the property.  The trench is later backfilled with stone and covered with the filter fabric for protection.  Due in large part to the depth of this installation, the backyard lawn had become noticeably dry even prior to the completion of the work!!!  The children can now play safely in the backyard without later bringing mud intothe home.

How NOT to dig for a French Drain

(Don't ever use your cousin "Vinny")

This fellow learned the hard way that it's best to leave the design and installation of a French Drain to the experts who do it every day.

This house in Hackettstown, NJ was the lowest property of all the adjoining lots. Water flowed onto this lot from all directions, and during even moderate rainstorms, the backyard became an unwanted swimming pool. This backyard never dried out, even in the summer months. In this case also, the homeowner started the project only to find that it was much too large for a do it yourself type project. Our expert design routed all of the water by gravity to a large collection basin where it was then pumped out to an existing city storm sewer across the street. This design worked flawlessly with the result being a very dry lawn in this same area! (rollover picture on left) Everybody was happy to see both water and mosquitoes disappear.How NOT  to dig a french drain

Persistent Flooding and wet lawn year 'round  
FLOOD in the front yard IS HISTORY!!!
(Rollover Image with mouse for `After')

This flooded property suffered from a constant stream of water draining from the neighbor up the hill.  Water accumulated in this area all year long not only due to the long uphill grade in the background, but also because the neighbor's sump pumps discharged water almost continuously.  Bobcats for Hire successfully designed and installed a French Drain system to remove the unwanted standing water from our customer's property.  Our rubber track equipment easily moves about the muck where a wheel type loader would get stuck.

Flooding and wet yard Solved again!!!
(Rollover Image with mouse for `After')

A combination of an underground an French Drain system and surface drains were used to dispose of the unwanted water at this home.The neighbors property still delivers a steady stream of unwanted water, but now that water is carried away just as fast as it appears leaving our customer's property and driveway dry.  The "wet" and "dry" pictures of this job were taken three weeks apart.

Footing Drains will dry your basement

(French drains). For residential or other small-scale buildings, perforated 4 in. (100 mm) plastic, ceramic, or concrete pipe is normally used around the periphery (see figure 9). It is laid in a trench, at the level of the footings, and protected from sediment with Amoco branded filter fabric. 

The drains will collect rain water falling within the catchment area or lower the ground water level, thus reducing the quantity of water affecting the wall. The collected water must then either drain by gravity (preferred) or be pumped to nearby storm sewers.

Footing drains (French drains). Perforated pipe is placed opposite the footing to drain both ground water and excess water from periodic rain storms. Such drains will reduce but not necessarily eliminate rising damp in a wall.

exterior footing drain diagram

When properly installed and sized, footing drains perform well. They will positively drain water from the catchment area.   Drains can last indefinitely, but periodic inspection and clean-outs are required to ensure that silt does not build up and that tree roots or animals have not damaged the piping.

Footing drains are most practical for suburban sites or others where the entire periphery of the building is readily accessible and positive drainage is possible (i.e., pumping is not required). Urban site can pose several complications including the inaccessibility of the building periphery to trenching and inability to establish positive drainage of collected water (pumps are often required).

Concrete Seepage tanks will disburse water onsite at an elevation lower than your basement floor.

Seepage pits are required by many townships
dry well

Our 337 Excavator easily lifts this concrete seepage pit to place it at a precise elevation to disburse water collected onsite.  This tank is designed to allow water to flow out all sides and also the open bottom.  Several feet of stone are placed below and around the tank as well as in a rectangular area over six hundred cubic feet.  This design allows for storm water run off remaining onsite without causing flooding problems to either the property owner or his neighbors.  This is accomplished with a large area of excavated earth filled with loose stone and into which water is directed for infiltration into the ground.  Many towns today will require storm water to remain onsite when building a new addition to an existing home. It is an environmentally friendly manner to dispose of your storm and drain water without adversely affecting one's neighbors.

Our Bobcat compact track Excavators have the distinct advantage over a traditional backhoe because they can articulate their booms thereby allowing them to excavate immediately adjacent to a building's foundation.  This is critical in exterior foundation drain installations which are frequently used to waterproof a basement with a gravity type system. One of the many advantages to installing an exterior foundation drain to remove water via gravity is that it takes away the lifeblood of mold and mildew. Our French Drain systems designed with Paraseal's combined rubber and Bentonite membrane will not only remove the water seeping into your foundation, but also remove the source for mold that is growing in your damp walls. Studies have shown that mold spores can be harmful to the health of a home's occupants, and also that by eliminating the source of water completely can also kill the mold. Many businesses attempt to cure a home's flooding basement with an "indoor" style French Drain. This type of system lacks several key benefits of an exterior gravity system. First and foremost, an interior type system encourages the water to flow through your foundation walls which by definition keeps the walls wet and hospitable to mold spores. An exterior foundation drain properly designed will keep your home's foundation walls dry and safe from the weakening structural effects of constant dampness. Second, an "interior" French Drain doesn't actually get rid of the water. Instead it directs the water into a small swimming pool in your basement. Not only does this pose a potential safety hazard for small children, but also it forces you to rely on electricity and a mechanical pump to keep your basement dry during a heavy storm. Everyone has experienced a power failure during a storm, and it's most likely that a pump will fail when you need it the most. These are among the reasons why an exterior gravity based foundation drain is a much more efficient and reliable method for drying up your basement. Thirdly, an exterior drainage system has the added benefit of also drying up your lawn and landscape so that pets and children have a cleaner environment in which to play in. No "interior" type drainage system can accomplish all of that and operate with no moving parts, electricity or maintenance!!!

Be smart and do the job right the first time. We have installed many exterior gravity systems to homes that already had and "interior" style drain that just didn't do the job properly. Engineer onsite for your installation to ensure it is built correctly.
Add substantial value to your home by installing an exterior French Drain system to dry up your basement, lawn, and Landscape!!!

NJ counties served: Bergen County * Essex County * Hudson County * Hunterdon County * Middlesex County * Monmouth County * Morris County * Passaic County * Somerset County * Union County * Warren County

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