Can you Finish a Basement With a French Drain?

Having your very own “Man Cave” in your basement is an exciting thing to have. Usually, man caves are located in the basement of your house. You have to make sure that when it rains, all your equipment will be safe from a flooding basement. To prevent the basement from flooding, you will have to install a functional waterproof and drainage system.

YES! you can finish a basement with a French drain system. The drain system is where the seeping water will travel through to prevent any floods in your basement. Another good thing is to do for avoiding floods is to stop the water from the source. You can do this by sealing all the cracks and adding absorbents where moisture builds up.


A French drain system eliminates water from a basement by gathering moisture that seeps into the walls, especially on a rainy day. If you live in a rainy city or town, you should consider installing a drainage system for your basement.

The moisture is collected in a shallow trench and pulls it into a pipe that later expels to a sump pump. The water will seep into the holes of the angled trench system and through the sump pump. The sump will now lead the water into a deep well, in sunlight. If the city you live permits it, you can also connect it to the storm sewer systems.


The common cause of basement floods is heavy rain. The rain over saturates the soil and will later seep into your basement walls. The water can travel through the cracks and leak out into the room. Before installing the French drain system, make sure you get all the cracks on your wall sealed and fixed.

Clogged gutters in your household can be another cause of water pressure. The expanding soil will create lateral pressure against the wall foundations. The tension will later seep into the walls of your home and cause water leakage.

If you experience floods in your home, you should be ready to clean it up. You can purchase products that will help you with the process:

  • Green Expert Utility Pump

(Price: $55)

This pump will assist you when you experience floods in your basement. The engine has ¼ horsepower, and it is energy efficient. It can remove a maximum of 26 gallons of water in minutes. It is easy to install so you can use it right out of the box.


(Price: $30)

This easy to use spin mop will help you dry the surface right after you are done pumping the water out. It has a built-In wringer that is foot activated. You can easily replace the mop once it gets filled with dirt and grime.

Once you have cleaned out the flood, make sure to call the water department or a service provider to check all the leaks. You must prevent this early on if you do not want to deal with more damage in the future.


A drainage system can prevent your basement from flooding. Your man cave will contain a lot of your expensive equipment such as your entertainment system, gaming systems, and a lot of your precious belongings. You do not want all the equipment to get damaged or break. You might have insurance for your home, and you can get reimbursed for the damage. However, it is such a hassle to purchase new equipment and set it up all over again.

If you are beginning to set up your man cave, it is better to start installing the drainage first before moving any equipment. When installing the system, you may have to tear down walls and reinforce them with waterproof materials. Plus, the drainage system will require you to dig up the sides of each firewall to install the pipes. You want a close to empty space, so it is more comfortable to work on the installation.

Most people think that waterproof products like sealants and waterproof cement is enough to do the job, but installing a drainage system is the best way to keep a basement from flooding although waterproof materials can be a big help of further preventing any water from entering your basement through the walls.


There are several drainage installations services all around the United States. The best thing to do is to search the internet and inquire with them. You can also do it yourself if you have the ability and experience.

You should also find out if you need any building permits for installing a drainage system. Make sure you call the right departments in your area to make sure you are not violating any construction laws.



You can do it yourself if you have experience with construction. You must have the proper safety tools and equipment to install a French drain by yourself. It is better to have a friend help you because it can be a lot of work depending on the size of your basement. If you have all the tools, I’m sure you know how to use them. Any DIY projects can be fulfilling, even the easy ones. I would say installing a drainage system is one of the hard tasks, but I’m sure you can do it.


You will need necessary construction skills and maybe electrician skills if you will be dealing with wires. The number one thing you need to watch out is for your safety. Make sure you have the skills to use heavy machinery and power tools. If you think you can handle the installation yourself, go for it. It is your man cave, after all. However, there is no harm in hiring a professional contractor to do it for you. It will cost you more money but will relieve you from all the stress and hassle.


  • Mark the path of the draining pipes

The pipes should run at about 1 foot away from the exterior walls. Place the sump or basin in the place that absorbs the most moisture.

  • Dig out the basement floor along the path

You need to dig out the trench at about 8 inches wide and 18 inches deep. You can use a pickaxe or a jackhammer (if you have one) to break through the flooring. Later, dig the soil with a shovel or pale.

  • Level the trench

The trench should go at a downward angle towards the basin. This method will allow the water to flow down the drain quickly.

  • Place the piping into the trench

When you place the French drain piping, make sure the perforations are facing down on the soil.

  • Connect the piping to the basin or sump

After laying down all the pipes in places, make sure you connect all the pipes to the water collection basin.

  • Fill the trench with water drainage gravel

The water drainage gravel will allow water to seep down the holes of the piping that flows down to the basin. Do not pack the gravel tight so the water can flow downwards.

  • Seal the trench

You can now seal the trench system with your choice of cement. You can use quick-dry cement for this step.


  • Properly landscape your yard

The slope of your front and back yard may be angled towards your home. As crazy as it sounds, it can contribute to the flooding in your basement. Make sure you properly landscape your lawn and backyard so that it is leveled.

  • Inspect for cracks on the foundation

Cracks in the foundation will cause water to leak in through the walls. You can visually inspect the interior and look for leaks. If you find any discoloration, it means that there must be a crack in the foundation.

  • Clean and maintain downspouts and gutters

Maintaining the cleanliness of all your gutters and downspouts will help prevent any floods in your home. Make sure that the drains are free from any debris and leaves, so it does not get clogged. You can add extensions, so water flows away from the foundation.

  • Sump pump maintenance
  • Before a storm or heavy rains fall, make it a habit to check if your sump pump is working correctly or that it is plugged in. Some insurance companies do not cover a flooded basement in the agreement, so make sure you be clear on what your insurance terms are.
  • Install window well covers

Window well covers and other sealants can work well in preventing any water seepage and leaks. You may also want to inspect the walls of your basement for any signs of leaks such as discoloration.

  • Clean and inspect septic systems

Inspect your sewage and septic tank systems. Lack of maintenance may cause clogs and water overflow, which will later lead to puddles and leaks inside your home. Make it a habit to inspect all your water pipe systems at least once or twice a year.

Preventing water from flooding is always better than solving the problem. These steps can apply to any part of the household and not just your man cave or basement.


The importance of having a properly functioning drainage system in your man cave should not be overlooked. By installing a drainage system in the beginning, will save you a lot of time for relaxation in the days to come. A French drain system is suitable for a basement man cave as well as other types of drainage systems. Protecting your man things and your man cave itself is the key for a longer time to chill out, unwind, and kick it with your friends.

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