Friday, 25 October 2013

Oh La La! Installing a French Drain

The illness of last week has left the blogging schedule in tatters, the mystery virus / flu type thingy has left me absolutely knackered this week.  Prior to the outbreak of snot and pestilence we have been getting lots of jobs jobbed at casa Melton...namely prepping to paint, and fixing the flooring lots to follow on that very soon!

Our neighbours, who we share rear property access with went on their holidays last month so we had the perfect opportunity with a break in the weather to fix up the shared path between the houses.

When we dug the trench at the start of the year in readiness for the damp proofing, some of the concrete was less then solid, so when we dug some out, a great whacking big chunk came out right in the middle of the pathway, plus there was a great ankle breaking drop at the edge of the path.  My neighbours elderly father has a wheelchair, so the broken path was not ideal, plus it's pitch black back there at night.  The solution was to patch it up and install a french drain to tide us over till the pathway is ripped out in the future, as it's too high on the neighbours side as well. 

First, Matthew used some wooden stakes we had hanging around, the old skirting boards from the house, and some scrap wood that came with the bath when it was delivered to build a simple frame to hold the wet concrete in place.  We just measured a foot from the wall, and laid it in as straight a line as 100+ year old warped floor boards would allow and secured it with the stakes a mallet, and some screws in a couple of places.

The other stuff we had on hand was a brick trowel, a half bag of Mastercrete,  a half bag of ballast and a couple of sacks of sand, all left over from other other jobs around the house.  But all in, this lot would probably come to around £25, with a bit extra if you need to buy wood and stakes too.  We grossly underestimated the amount needed so Matthew had to make an extra trip to Wickes to pick up more supplies once we figured out we didn't have enough.  This job was still nice and cheap though as ballast, sand etc. is cheap as chips.  All in we spent the following:
Ballast x 4 bags: £7.36
Pea Shingle x 10 bags: £24
Mastercrete 2 x 10kg: £8.38 
Total: £39.74      

We also had some scrap wood on hand to act as a mixing board, as those things are pricey at the DIY shop, and luckily Mastercrete is like a cake mix, it has the recipe on the back so except for the stirring which made Matthew's man muscles ache like a bitch, it is pretty easy, just add water and a couple of drops of washing up liquid to act as a plasticiser - what this does I have no idea, but I'm sure the Google will tell you!  As it dries we mixed it in small batches and then dumped it in the gap, making sure we tamped it down to get the air bubbles out.     

Work those man muscles you sexy
Once we had finished with all of the cement mixing, filling and smoothing (it turns out Matthew would make a much better cake decorator than me), we filled the gap with a load of pea shingle up in there to provide drainage.  I smushed it down with a stick as my back recovery program prevented me from doing any of the actual hard work...Hehehehehe! 

Tah Dah!
And that's how you install a simple French Drain...and it has the added bonus of no longer being a neighbour deathtrap / civil suit waiting to happen...Boom! 

1 comment:

  1. Seems like it was a satisfying little job well done.


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