Tips and Advice for Installing a Storm or Channel Drain

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017

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Homeowners who live in a rainy climate can suffer thousands of dollars of damage from flooding and improper drainage. The water can trickle into the basement, destroying property; seep into the foundation, contributing to rot; and even drown your lawn. Installing a storm or channel drain will help a lot, but the process should be carefully planned. If the process seems daunting, hiring a professional is a reasonable choice and may save you dollars from having to redo the construction.

Surveying Your Land 

Before you hack away at the patio or dig up the lawn, be sure to pick the wisest location for a storm drain. The first thought may be to pick the spot where all of the water collects, but be sure that the piping you’ll extend from the drain has an easy drainage route. You also want to avoid in-ground service pipes and utility cables and may want to hire professionals to scan the concrete and land for potential problems and service avoidance. Depending on the depth of the pipes and wires, you may be able to go underneath or around them. It’s best to know the drainage pipe’s path before you start digging. 

The type of materials and equipment you’ll need will vary a bit depending on where you’re installing the drain. Here’s a short checklist, but you’ll probably want to consult salespeople at the home store you use. 

-- Tape measure 
-- Storm drain (choose a size that will adequately drain water in a timely fashion. If placing near a driveway, you may need a larger drain to ensure the pavement stays dry. -- Pipe cutter or hacksaw (if you need to cut through pipe) 
-- A wheelbarrow 
-- PVC Piping and connectors (you may need to get a variety of connectors to be safe) -- PVC primer and cement 
-- Pick 
-- Shovel 
-- Dry concrete to mix 
-- Concrete / Asphalt Saw (if digging up patio or driveway) 

While the instructions will vary, you want create a trench for the pipe that’s six inches wide and two feet deep. That depth makes it particularly important to plan the path. If next to a house, the piping should be no closer than three feet to the foundation.

Joining the PVC Pipe 

Once you know the pathway of the drainage pipe, you’ll need to cut the PVC pipe to size, install connectors where needed, and make sure all of the pieces line up. A hacksaw will work for trimming the pipe to the proper length. Use both PVC pipe primer and cement to join sections of the pipe. 

Refilling the Trench
Before laying the pipe into the trench you created, you’ll need to fill it with dirt and gravel and ensure that the pipe has a gradient of 1/4 inch for every foot of pipe. Without that decline, gravity won’t be draining the water for you. 

Installing the Drain
To hold the storm drain in place, you’ll want to place a layer of cement so the drain will line up a 1/4 inch or so below where you want the water to drain. Cement will also need to be on the sides to ensure the drain doesn’t tip with dirt erosion. After the cement thoroughly dries, a layer of asphalt patch will help create a top lip between the driveway or ground and the drain.

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