When Installing a Drainage System, What kind of Drain Pipe do you use and what size Drain Pipe Do you need?

For a Drainage System you have 3 Choices of Drain Pipe.  You can use ADS,  Or Sewer and Drain, or Thick Walled Pvc Pipe.

ADS is Black and Flexible.  It is used in a majority of Drainage Systems.  It works well and is the easiest to install.

Covering

Covering ADS Drain Pipe

ADS is available in 3 inch , 4 inch, and 6 inch for residential and small business Drainage Applications.

Sewer and Drain Pipe is white, green, or grey and is thin walled.  It is used for cheap plumbing applications such as sewer lines.  It is also used for inexpensive Drainage Systems.  A Drainage System using Sewer and Drain Pipe is slightly cheaper than ADS.   It is rigid and harder to install than ADS. It takes more time to install and more digging is required at the joints or connections.  It is very difficult attaching a rigid Drain Pipe to a Curb outlet because the Pipe does not flex at the connection.  The pipe hits the curb outlet at a downward angle and does line up straight with the connection.  Many Drain Installation Companies use a piece of ADS on the end of the Sewer and Drain pipe and then connect it to the curb outlet.  Many times there is no other way to connect them depending on your downward slope.

 

Sewer and Drain

Green or White Sewer and Drain Pipe

Sewer and Drain is brittle after a short amount of time.  You can break it with a hammer.   Tree roots, many times squeeze the pipe and crack it causing it to leak.   It is not a good long term solution for anything.

Old Sewer and Drain Pipe

Old Sewer and Drain Pipe

Thick walled PVC is superior to ADS and Sewer and Drain.  It will last a lifetime.  It won’t crack under normal circumstances.

That being said, It is The most difficult of all to install.  It is not for weekend warriors or your brother-in-law who says he knows what he is doing.  Someone with a lot of experience is needed to install a Thick Walled PVC Drainage System.

SD and 40 schedule

40 Schedule PVC Drain Pipe on the right, Sewer and Drain on the left.

Oh, by the way, 40 Schedule or 200 Class PVC is by far the most expensive.

If money is no object, then absolutely hire an Expert to install a Thick walled PVC System.

There are two types of Thick Walled Pvc Pipe available for Drainage Systems, 40 Schedule and 200 class.

Forty Schedule is always the same thickness at a particular size pipe.

Two Hundred Class gets thicker as the pipe gets bigger.

Forty Schedule is thicker in pipes smaller than 2 inch.

Two hundred Class is thicker in pipes over 2 inch.

Typically 4 inch pipe is most commonly used in a Drainage Systems.  Forty Schedule and 200 Class are both very good in the 4 inch Size.

 

The size of Drain Pipe you use in your Drainage System is fairly simple.  You can use 3 Inch, 4 Inch, or 6 Inch.  Sometimes 2 inch can be used on a small single drain but it is easily overwhelmed by too much water.

Four Inch, as stated earlier is the most common size used in a Drainage System.

If your system is a Drainage System and not a Flood Prevention System, then 4 Inch Should be fine for most applications.

If your drainage system must handle a lot of water in a hurry and is designed intercept water to protect property then two 4 inch pipes may be needed or one 6 inch Pipe.  It can vary.

In 2015 we installed a Flood Prevention System that had two 6 inch pipes in the same trench.  Our customer never had water in her garage again.

If you can afford larger Drain Pipe or more than one Drain Pipe in the same trench, your Drainage System should do its job well.

If you connect 5 large Surface Drains to one small 3 inch pipe, be prepared for poor performance.  I’ve seen a large French Drain connected to a 3 inch pipe.  The water shot out of the exit point like a cannon and the problem drainage area stayed flooded for a long time.

I try not to use 3 inch at all for a Drainage System and I am very careful not to attach too large or too many drains to 4 inch.

Comments
  1. […] under the gravel.  The water fills into the pipe and moves down hill to the desired Exit Point.  French Drains like the one in the picture above that are in the sun most of the day will have grass that […]

  2. […] and can be used in many situations.  It can be installed by itself or incorporated into a Drainage System with Surface Drains or Gutter Down-Spouts connected to […]

  3. […] placed in sandy soil, a special trench liner must be placed in the trench before the perforated Drain Pipe or the Gravel are installed.  This helps maintain the integrity of the trench over time.  It also […]

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