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Old 12-02-2019, 12:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Drainage pipe. Why do they use corrugated?

I assume I'm stupid and that there's actually a good reason for it, because on the surface it seems like a dumb idea to use pipe like that with ridges that beg for sticks to jam up and start a clog vs. smooth pipe.

So, why are so many drainage pipes out there corrugated rather than smooth?


I got water issues and usually just redig a trench to let it run off. I'm considering burying a pipe and hoping I won't have to dig it up in a year or two to unclog it. Considering another alternative with pouring a concrete ditch of sorts as well. Not a long run, but can't go too deep either.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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strength for the biggger stuff and flexibility for the smaller

and the good stuff is smooth on the inside, corrugated on the outside

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Old 12-02-2019, 12:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I thought the ridges had holes to let the water leach out
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I thought the ridges had holes to let the water leach out


in
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I thought the ridges had holes to let the water leach out
only some does, and usually(not always) its to let water in
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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in
it can also be used at the exit side so there is no above ground pipe showing, which is only a good idea if you have a screen on the intake
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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in
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only some does, and usually(not always) its to let water in
I guess that makes more sense
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Guessing you’re asking about HDPE (plastic) pipe. In the big picture (outside of political interests and big industry pressures) It’s all about the lowest cost for a pipe that will do the job. Plastic won’t rust, corrugations add strength allowing for less plastic (hence cost). Double wall and perforated versions are available. I spec it just about every time I need a drainage pipe. It’s good for up to about 4’ diameter at a depth of 50ish feet. Then you pretty much have to either reinforce with metal ribs or go to corrugated metal or concrete. Those don’t last as long, at least not the steel. Good CMP will give us about 50 years and can sort of stretch to 70 (if you don’t mind rust perforation after 50 with the potential for collapse). Cheap CMP might only last 10 or 20 years. HDPE has been around for about 40 years or so, I suspect it will last 100 plus years if good material installed properly without too much bed load rattling through it.

Oh, it’s also flexible to some degree so if in a large fill or a landslide area, it will do a lot better than most of the other drainage pipe options.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Corrugated is also good for frost zones with heave. The cheap recycled shit at lowes only lasts a few years before disintegrating. If you want quality corrugated, it needs to be virgin plastic. As mentioned above, it should last 100+ years and it's $$$$.

I'm building a few hundred yards of drainage in my front yard now with gutter tie ins. I'm using only solid pipe, no corrugated. 4" from all the downspouts to a 6" trunk.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Corrugated is also good for frost zones with heave. The cheap recycled shit at lowes only lasts a few years before disintegrating. If you want quality corrugated, it needs to be virgin plastic. As mentioned above, it should last 100+ years and it's $$$$.

I'm building a few hundred yards of drainage in my front yard now with gutter tie ins. I'm using only solid pipe, no corrugated. 4" from all the downspouts to a 6" trunk.
I had intended to do something similar for my downspouts. Its significantly more expensive and, IMHO, time consuming since itís not as forgiving to work with as corrugated.

After reading your first paragraph, Iím regretting that decision... lol
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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As mentioned the holes let water in. A 5 inch corrugated tile will drain water from about 25 feet on each side. The water actually goes below the tile and comes up from the bottom. Also, once the tile gets some mud in it, the bottom eventually just fills with dirt and is smooth. We lay a piece of pvc on outlets with a little gate gizmo to keep critters out. Also also, may seem like common knowledge and it probably is here, but some people cannot grasp the fact that water runs downhill. Not up. Some people are shocked when you tell them that.

My family has been laying field tile for like 70 years. Started with a dozer and clay tile. Current machine should have been replaced 30 years ago.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Its corrugated so its flexible. No, sticks dont get caught in it, because sticks dont belong in water drainage systems.
The shit comes in big ass spools. Hard to spool up drainage tile that's not corrugated. Also, tiling machines dig and lay the tile at the same time, and the tile has to bend to go through the tiling machine.
It just works.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Guessing youíre asking about HDPE (plastic) pipe. In the big picture (outside of political interests and big industry pressures) Itís all about the lowest cost for a pipe that will do the job. Plastic wonít rust, corrugations add strength allowing for less plastic (hence cost). Double wall and perforated versions are available. I spec it just about every time I need a drainage pipe. Itís good for up to about 4í diameter at a depth of 50ish feet. Then you pretty much have to either reinforce with metal ribs or go to corrugated metal or concrete. Those donít last as long, at least not the steel. Good CMP will give us about 50 years and can sort of stretch to 70 (if you donít mind rust perforation after 50 with the potential for collapse). Cheap CMP might only last 10 or 20 years. HDPE has been around for about 40 years or so, I suspect it will last 100 plus years if good material installed properly without too much bed load rattling through it.

Oh, itís also flexible to some degree so if in a large fill or a landslide area, it will do a lot better than most of the other drainage pipe options.
This is a great explanation. Also to add: Smooth lined corrugated "stick pipe" is industry standard on pipes larger than 8" diameter nowadays. 6" diameter and down usually comes coiled and is flexible. On the rare occasion corrugated inside wall stick pipe is still spec'd on steep pipe runs to slow the water down.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Since I don't need flexible I'll go with solid.
Got a 40' run, then a 30 degree turn, then another 20'.

You guys with tractors and backhoes, my back is jealous...
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Its for strength. Like how a piece of paper folded back and forth a dozen times is 10x as strong as a flat piece.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I thought the ridges had holes to let the water leach out
Holes let it out. Slits let it in
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Holes let it out. Slits let it in
I sure I will need to know this later on.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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corrugation slows the water down so that it doesn't wash out the dirt around either end of the pipe so bad
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:46 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Get the rigid smooth shit. I hate the corrugated stuff. I've seen them plug with fine silt. Impossible to slope proper.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If youíre in any sort of wildfire area, plastic pipes burn. Catch on one end and go off like a big old underground cigar spewing black smoke and crazy flamethrower flames for a bit. Smooth bore or single wall, both burn.

Plastic pipes wither join with plastic collars held by zip ties or form fit rubber gasket/belled ends. Neither joint has any sort of strength if your fill has any propensity to move around at all.

Corrugated steel (or aluminum) can be joined with annular (or bias ring) couplers that actually have some strength to them. Dimple bands not so much.

Iíve never seen angles for plastic pipes.

Clogging with silt is more a function of the slope of the pipe. If itís steep enough it should flush okay. Should be steep as or steeper than the slope of the incoming water, especially if itís an inboard ditch. Sticks and debris probably more a matter of pipe size: if thereís a lot of debris you can use a trash rack but thatíll just clog instead of the pipe. Forest Service used to install a vertical post in front of intake to turn sticks parallel to the pipe, more likely to flush through. I donít know how those work.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Iíve never seen angles for plastic pipes.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:00 AM   #22 (permalink)
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If youíre in any sort of wildfire area, plastic pipes burn. Catch on one end and go off like a big old underground cigar spewing black smoke and crazy flamethrower flames for a bit. Smooth bore or single wall, both burn.

Plastic pipes wither join with plastic collars held by zip ties or form fit rubber gasket/belled ends. Neither joint has any sort of strength if your fill has any propensity to move around at all.

Corrugated steel (or aluminum) can be joined with annular (or bias ring) couplers that actually have some strength to them. Dimple bands not so much.

Iíve never seen angles for plastic pipes.

Clogging with silt is more a function of the slope of the pipe. If itís steep enough it should flush okay. Should be steep as or steeper than the slope of the incoming water, especially if itís an inboard ditch. Sticks and debris probably more a matter of pipe size: if thereís a lot of debris you can use a trash rack but thatíll just clog instead of the pipe. Forest Service used to install a vertical post in front of intake to turn sticks parallel to the pipe, more likely to flush through. I donít know how those work.
Plastic joints have no strength ? Ever try to pull apart a properly seated joint in 8 inch or plastic joint?

What do you mean no angles for plastic pipe? Use them all the time
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:32 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I used SDR35 green glue pipe for all my french drains and gutters
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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You can buy fabricated fittings for corrugated pipe, but they are $$$. Also joints can be had just like PVC pipe, bell and spigot which are plenty robust, and have a rubber gasket.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:49 AM   #25 (permalink)
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We have a shed full of angled couplers from 3 inch to 15 inch. And they are ridiculously stout.

Tiles are going to clog up if you leave it open. They are not meant to be open on both ends, just the outlet. If the inlet is going to be exposed, it gets a ďriserĒ, a piece of pvc with holes in it that sticks up above the ground. If the end is buried, it gets a plastic plug that snaps into the corrugated ribs. The outlet, as I mentioned above, gets a piece of pvc (Because corrugated is strong but pvc stronger) with a one way metal gate gizmo that keeps critters out.

Pro tip: start at the outlet. Work your way up hill. That way you can always make sure you have enough grade. How you ask? Because water always runs downhill. Every time.
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