I need to get my gutter water away from my house. Which kind of pipe should I use?
Great question! There’s a short answer and a long answer.
The Short Answer
There are two main types of pipe used in residential settings to transfer rain water. Corrugated pipe and PVC pipe. Corrugated pipe is the cheapest, easiest, and most common option. But we advise people against using corrugated pipe to transfer water underground. (*Note: This article deals with transferring water with a solid pipe, not constructing a French drain. That’s another topic for another day!)
The Long Answer
Corrugated Pipe: The term “corrugated” applies to any material that has alternating ridges and
4″ Corrugated Pipe
grooves. You’ve probably seen a corrugated metal roof or even corrugated cardboard. But in this case, we are referring to corrugated plastic. The most common corrugated pipe used in residential settings is black with a 4″ diameter.
Pros of Corrugated Pipe:
Less expensive than other options.
Can be easily bent due to the corrugated nature. It can almost make a 90 degree bend in a tight space without using any additional fittings.
Is light weight and easy to work with.
Readily available at your local home improvement store.
Cons of Corrugated Pipe:
Debris and sediment has a tendency to get caught and accumulate in the ridges, therefore slowing down water flow.
The pipe walls are thin and soft, and they can easily be damaged.
If the pipe is exposed above ground, it is easily damaged by weed trimmers, lawn mowers, foot traffic, and pets.
If the pipe is buried below ground, the pipe wall can be penetrated by roots. Even shrub roots can penetrate the wall in search of water, causing up to 100% blockage.
PVC Pipe: PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride, and is commonly used as a more durable and less expensive alternative to traditional materials such as metal or terra cotta. PVC can be produced in many colors, sizes, lengths, and thicknesses. It is often used for sewer and plumbing, but it is also a
4″ PVC Pipe
great product for many yard drainage situations.
Pros of PVC Pipe:
It is much more durable than corrugated. Roots will not penetrate the walls.
The walls of the pipe are smooth so there are no ridges to slow down water flow or to catch debris.
Clean-outs can be installed for system maintenance.
For these reasons, it has a much longer life span than corrugated pipe.
Cons of PVC Pipe:
More expensive to purchase than corrugated pipe.
More labor-intensive to install.
Due to it’s rigid nature, fittings must be used to bend or turn the pipe. Fittings are commonly glued together using a special PVC cement.
Can be confusing to work with due to the various sizes and grades available on the market.
Although PVC pipe is more expensive and more difficult to install, it is well worth the extra investment in the long run. A homeowner that wants to do it right the first time, and not have to come back and fix the problem again in a few years, should strongly consider installing PVC pipe to transfer water away from the home. Visit our website to learn more.