French drain pipe installation can solve a lot of underlying issues that affect asphalt, especially in St. Louis where water issues are common.

What’s the Purpose of a French Drain Pipe?

A french drain pipe will collect water that is trapped under the asphalt and channel it away to a ditch or catch basin. When water collects under asphalt, it can saturate the foundation (called “sub-grade”), which makes it soft. As cars drive over that area, the asphalt will give and flex.

Over time, this giving and flexing will cause the asphalt to crack and allow water to seep up to the surface of the asphalt. These cracks also allow water to seep back into the sub-grade from the surface. Once the process starts, it only continues to worsen and the cracks will widen and multiply.

During the winter, water that is under the asphalt can freeze and expand causing the asphalt to lift up or “heave.” When this happens, the asphalt begins to break away and crumble causing potholes. At this point you’re probably looking at some asphalt repair work.

Where Does All This Water Come From?

St. Louis has a lot of areas where natural springs are uncovered during construction. Irrigation systems also provide a substantial amount of ground water. The water that we use to keep our grass green and healthy can run off and collect along the edges of paved areas.

Downspouts from buildings can also start the water infiltration process by dumping large amounts of water in a short time during heavy rains.

How Do You Know if it’s Time for French Drain Installation?

When you see cracks in your asphalt and water is seeping out of it, there’s a very strong possibility it’s time to consider french drain pipe installation. Here are a few examples from the St. Louis area:

Installing a French Drain

Installing a french drain pipe requires a few specialized pieces of equipment. A trench is cut approximately 8-10 inches wide and 2 feet deep at predetermined locations. Clean rock will then be placed in the bottom of the trench.

Next, a perforated pipe will be placed in the trench. This perforated pipe has a filtering sock and is installed to allow water to pass into to the pipe while keeping out larger debris, ensuring that the pipe won’t clog up. Clean rock will be placed around the pipe and compacted to minimize settling. Asphalt or concrete will then be replaced on the surface to match the surrounding material.

Featured Project: Parking Lot in Ellisville, MO

Installing a french drain in the parking lot of this commercial property helped relieve hydrostatic pressure that was damaging the surface. After digging a trench and placing the pipe, the area was filled and topped with a new 4” layer of asphalt. See the finished results and explore more client examples in our portfolio.

After installation, the water that previously collected and pooled under the surface of the asphalt will now fall into the pipe and be carried away.

Problem solved!

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In addition to french drain installation, we’re experts in a wide range of driveway and parking lot repairs. Learn about all of the asphalt and concrete services we offer in the St. Louis area. For questions or to discuss your next project, reach out to our team.