Corrugated vs. Solid Drain Tile

Corrugated and solid drain tiles are used for residential and agricultural drainage systems.

Drain Tile

Corrugated perforated pipe allows water to infiltrate the ground slowly, and solid pipe conveys water away and discharges it to a safe place. The type of pipe to use depends on the objective, site conditions, cost and maintenance.

Plastic pipe, manufactured for subsurface drainage systems, is widely used for construction and agricultural applications. It's often called drain tile, after the clay drainage pipes that were used previously. The pipe comes in corrugated and solid form, as well as heavy-duty and light-duty types. Perforated pipes have holes punctured in half or the full circumference of the walls of the pipe to let water in or out of the pipe. Solid pipe, sometimes referred to as tightline, is not perforated.

Solid Drain Tile

Solid drain tiles are used when the objective is to move water from one area to another quickly. For example, downspouts may be connected to solid pipes to direct roof runoff away from a foundation. Solid pipes may also be connected to drain inlets around a property. The pipes are strong enough to be installed underneath roads and flexible enough for rough ground. The velocity of water running through solid pipes keeps them clean.

Corrugated Drain Tile

Corrugated pipe, or drain tile, is flexible perforated pipe, available in 100-foot lengths. The flexibility makes the pipe suitable for uneven ground. Flexible pipes relax as they fill with water; this quality reduces wear and tear on the pipes, helping them last longer. Thin corrugated pipe is easily damaged by backfill and equipment; It's best for shallow installations. Corrugated pipe with thicker walls can be used to a depth of 4 feet maximum. It's the least expensive drain tile and easy to install.

Rigid Drain Tile

Rigid perforated pipe comes in short lengths from 10 to 20 feet and so requires good connections at each end. It's more expensive than corrugated pipes and recommended for depths greater than 4 feet and where traffic will be driving over the site. Both corrugated and rigid perforated pipes are used on residential sites in French drains and dry wells and for agricultural subsurface drainage systems. Pipes with diameters from 4 to 12 inches are adequate for these types of projects.