Drain Pipe under Driveway – Your Guide

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    Are you trying to install a drain pipe under your driveway but not sure where to start? In this article we will teach you everything you need to know about installing a driveway culvert pipe in your driveway to improve drainage and prevent flooding – keep reading to learn more!

    The drainage pipe for a driveway is an important part of the drainage system. This drainage pipe installation guide will show you how to install drainage pipes in your driveway so that water can drain from it and not get into the basement of your home. This drainage pipe installation guide has been written for homeowners who want to do this project themselves, but there are many cases where hiring a professional might be a better option if you have any doubts about whether or not you should hire one.

    What is a Driveway Culvert?

    A driveway culvert (aka a driveway drainage pipe) uses a small pipe that runs horizontal to your driveway and allows water to pass along a drainage ditch. These drains are usually found at the bottom of a trench drain or channel drain that helps route surface water away from a nearby road until it can drain into the surrounding soil.

    These drains are usually built of corrugated pipe, pvc pipe or concrete to give them a long lifespan – but they are not load bearing their only job is to allow water to pass. Many drains will also include gravel to slow the flow of water.

    How to Install a Driveway Culvert

    Here are step-by-step instructions (including the tools required) to install a drainage pipe in your own driveway. Keep in mind that you may need a permit and to review the location of buried gas lines if you live in the city before you start digging!

    Tools Required for Digging a Driveway Drain

    • A shovel
    • A trench digging machine
    • A plastic pipe or concrete pipe for culvert installation
    • Gravel
    • Drain grate

    Step by Step Directions

    1. Plan and measure the drain

    Start by measuring and planning the new drain so you get the correct length of pipe and know how far to dig. Remember, measure twice and cut once. Planning the new drainage can prevent you from digging too close to a road or your foundation and causing another drainage problem.

    2. Dig the trench

    Second, it is time to dig the trench that you will lay the pipe in. If it is a small driveway with gravel and creek you may be able dig the trench with shovels and a few friends but if it is concrete and more than a few feet deep you may need a trench drain.

    3. Lay the Pipe

    Next, it is time to lay the pipe. Make sure to lay it as a slight angle so that it will naturally drain.

    We recommend using concrete for a larger pipe that is buried deep underground or under an asphalt driveway. If it is a short distance you may be able to use a plastic pipe in order to save a few dollars.

    4. Bury the Culvert

    After laying the pipe in the correct position it is time to rebury the pipe. Start with a small layer of gravel around the for additional drainage then bury with dirt and finally relay the driveway gravel or asphalt.

    5. Install Debris Filter

    The final step is to install a debris filter on both ends. Installing a filter prevents clogs and costly repairs in the future.

    The biggest risks are from small animals crawling inside, trash during rising flood waters and kids toys preventing water from passing through and eventually turning one side of the culvert into a small pond.

    PVC vs Corrugated vs Concrete Piping

    The three most common materials for a drainage pipe are PVC, corrugated plastic and concrete. Each material has pros and cons so it is important to do your research and pick the right material so you don’t have to replace the line.

    • PVC is best in small projects that don’t have a lot of heavy traffic
    • A solid plastic pipe is a good choice for light loads and ‘medium’ sized culverts
    • Concrete is the best choice for public roads that will have consistent traffic or heavy trucks

    Preventing Drain Blockages

    Debris might block pipes if you leave them uncovered. We recommend installing protection on both ends of the pipe so you don’t have to remove a clog or stuck animal or ball down the road.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the pipe under a driveway called?

    A black corrugated pipe under the driveway is called a culvert pipe.

    How do you install a drain pipe under a driveway?

    Use a shovel or a trench digging machine to dig trench, lay the drain pipe, then refill the dirt to rebuild the driveway.

    How deep should drain pipe be under driveway?

    A drain pipe should be at least 3 feet under a gravel or concrete driveway.

    How much do culvert pipes cost?

    If you hire a contractor to install a drainage culvert it will typically cost between $1,000 and $5,000. A gravel driveway is cheaper than a concrete or asphalt.

    What size culvert do I need for my driveway?

    Most residential culvert pipes are between 12 and 15 inches in diameter. If they

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