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Old 12-22-2015, 07:41 AM   #1
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NDS, EZ, & other Styrofoam Peanut French Drain?


Hi all,

Im going to install a French drain at some point in the near future, I just had a few question I was hoping someone could help me out with. Im leaning towards buying the "prefabbed" French drain stuff from lowes that already has Styrofoam peanuts and is wrapped with a sock, but im worried about how long that will actually hold up. And if I do the old fashion method with stone, I know that will eventually need to be cleaned out, but I think that it should last a bit longer than the Styrofoam peanut style.

Basically im just trying to decide on whats more cost effective over the next 20 years. If the stone style drain will last me 25 years & I wouldn't have to mess with it again until I potentially sell the house -and- whether or not id be replacing the Styrofoam style every 5 years.


Thanks,
Drew
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:08 AM   #2
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I can't tell from your post what you mean by a French drain, people on this forum use the term French drain to mean a lot of different things. If you mean a buried, perforated pipe, surrounded by stone, that type of drain has been in use for hundreds of years, and if properly constructed will last at least a hundred years, and may never need cleaning.

The key is to use durable perforated plastic pipe like schedule 40 PVC, holes down, bedded on suitable material like fine 3/4 inch crushed stone or perhaps fine gravel. Then you fill above the pipe with at least a foot of crushed stone, and surround the stone with the filter fabric. If you are trying to drain water from the surface down to the pipe, you should fill all the way to the surface with crushed stone, this will form a permeable column that will allow water at the surface to drain downward to the pipe. Your pipe should be pitched downward slightly, maybe 1 or 2 percent, and needs to drain to daylight, well away from the house.

If you are planning to run the pipe into a sump pump, then you can run the pipe flat. As to the styrofoam peanut pipe, I have never seen it or used it, not sure how it would work.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
As to the styrofoam peanut pipe, I have never seen it or used it, not sure how it would work.
Ayuh,.... Never heard of it, 'n wouldn't buy it,.....

Sounds like something that would clog Quicker,.....


We run the black plastic coil drainage lines, either with, or without the sock on it,.....
The pitched gravel bed is the most important part,.....
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeckel7234 View Post
Basically im just trying to decide on whats more cost effective over the next 20 years. If the stone style drain will last me 25 years & I wouldn't have to mess with it again until I potentially sell the house -and- whether or not id be replacing the Styrofoam style every 5 years.
The styrofoam peanut drain product is pretty new to the market as far as I can tell. I don't think anyone (even the manufacturer) can tell you how long it will last as no one has had it installed for that long. Might be great, might not be great. I might be tempted to try it if I had a really short stretch of drain that I needed to install and if it was relatively easy to dig it up if it failed. If I had a big drainage problem and needed to invest a lot of time and effort and money into the installation, I'd think I'd go for the known installation practice.

That's one of the things you need to be aware of, in DIYing as well as other things in life. Slick new products with fancy advertising hit the market every day. Whether it ultimately lasts 10 hours, 10 days, or 10 years; they already have your money if you buy it. I like to see other people's experiences with a product before putting my money on it.
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
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Just for anyone that hasn't seen it, ive linked a clip at the bottom from "this old house" that briefly covers the Styrofoam peanut drain.

Thunder Chicken, I agree and that's whats leading to my skepticism with it being a new "hot" product.

Im getting a builders level in the next week or so to make myself a topo map of my yard, and now since I haven't found any direct negative comments and I figured I might as well be the guinea pig. Im planning on digging the trench and im just going to lay the Styrofoam style drain as it will be much cheaper/easier to lay, worst case scenario it gets me through my first couple years, then ill just have to come through and do a traditional French drain.


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Old 12-30-2015, 02:30 PM   #6
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I'd think if you installed it properly with the stone as shown in the video you'll be OK, but for the effort putting in a PVC drain tile and covering it with filter fabric isn't much harder, though it might cost a bit more.

I've seen a couple of installs where people just dig a trench in clay soil, throw in the styrofoam french drain, bury it and call it done. If they aren't clogged the day after installation, I'd be pretty surprised.

Thanks for taking one for the team and being a guinea pig. Be sure to update this thread with your results. As my mother told me, if nothing else you can serve as a bad example!
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:06 PM   #7
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I definitely will keep this updated, but I have several obstacles that im going to have to deal with first.

Im new to the city and i guess didnt do all the research that i should have before i bought the house. The ditch that runs in front of my house pretty consistently stays full. For example tonight we had about 3 inches of rain in a few hour period and, well you can see the pictures. The night pictures were taken about an hour later, and had very little rain in that period (sorry for the quality of the night pictures but the water level is considerably higher than the hour prior). Most of my neighborhood seems to be this way to a point. Im going tomorrow to talk with the county dot engineer to see if they can clean out the ditches or what if anything they can do.


Id like to run the drain out to the ditch, but if the ditch stays relatively full or fills to this level, the pipe will just back fill every time we get a decent rain


From My Driveway













The end of my street (maybe 30 meters past my driveway) water drains downward this way. The right side of the street is my side



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Old 12-31-2015, 04:02 PM   #8
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Where are you? Looks like Missouri at low tide.

Yeah, if the water level is higher than the high end of your drain, you might actually be providing a path for water to move toward your house.

French drains might still work, but they'll need to deliver to a sump which is continuously pumped out. You probably want to talk to a engineer for this.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:42 AM   #9
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My thoughts exactly I called and spoke with an engineer from the highway dept (they are responsible for the ditches). He supposed to come out sometime this week and see if there's anything that can be done or if he'd have any other recommendations.

A buddy of mine at works wife is the head engineer of the highway dept in a county over from mine and she said they don't have the budget and will almost definitely not clean out the ditches or anything else unless the water is interfering with traffic, which its not.

So hopefully this guy will at least help me find another option. And im pretty pessimistic about the situation, being that the city is only 8ft above sea level and how much of the city floods during a heavy rain.

But Ill let yall know what happens when I talk to the engineer
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:14 PM   #10
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Where are you?

Backing the discussion way up, are you actually having water problems in your house? If you're only 8 ft above sea level, that doesn't give you a lot of room for digging sumps and such. If your house is dry even if everything around it is flooded, you may just want to leave things as they are and ride out the occasional rainy season.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Id like to run the drain out to the ditch, but if the ditch stays relatively full or fills to this level, the pipe will just back fill every time we get a decent rain
Ayuh,.... Looks like yer kinda screwed,....

Water flows downhill, but if yer at the bottom, there ain't no drainin' anything,....

Yer situation really gives new meanin' to the ole real estate sayin',...
Location, location, location,.....

I saw some of this foam covered socked drainage tile today at a big box store,....
I'm not impressed, 'n will continue to use socked or unsocked corrugated plastic tiles,...
covered with crushed limestone, 'n capped with top dirt if necessary,...

I can almost see that stuff yer talkin' 'bout, literally Floatin' to the surface over time, 'n those flood conditions there,...

I've seen septic tanks float, it ain't a pretty sight,....

Last edited by Bondo; 01-05-2016 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:28 AM   #12
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Elizabeth City, NC. And the house stays dry, I have been told by the neighbors that the water from the ditch has gotten about half way up my yard, which is about 20ft from the house during hurricanes. Which I haven't been through yet at this house but the pictures I posted earlier were from 3-3 1/2 inches of rain in a few hours and came maybe a 1/3 of the way up my yard, so Im a little skeptical about that claim. When I purchased flood insurance, they told me that there had never been a claim put on the property.


The house has a crawl space, which is overall pretty dry but it failed a moisture inspection at somewhere around 27%, maximum allowed was 22%. The previous owner had a dehumidifier & a complete moisture barrier installed shortly before we took over the property. So the only immediate issues im worried about would be water getting in the garage which I should be able to clean up relatively easily.

My issues that im trying to resolve, are that Im really unable to go in 80% of my yard to throw ball with my son or really anything else without becoming a muddy mess. And the potential problems that could occur if the water starts settling around the foundation and what horrors could come from that.

We moved into the house in the middle of August, and it was usable for the first month, and I know the "rainy season" is playing into my current problems so im optimistic that when spring and summer comes around it should dry the yard out, but we've had a very warm winter so far and ive hated coming home and not being able to really go out in the yard, and my dog tears it up just by running through it, not to mention every time he comes in the house hes covered in mud.


Bondo, location, location, location is right lol, and yea that was one of my first thoughts with that Styrofoam stuff about it getting a little to moist around it and it forcing itself to the surface. I am at the low end of my street, which is why all the water is running down to me, but that ditch flows down from my house to the one intersection I had in the pictures, but im not really sure where it should flow after that. That's one thing im hoping this county engineer could at least help me out with.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:24 AM   #13
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As others have pointed out, any French drain system needs to go downhill. In your case, when you need the drain to work is the time it is least likely to be able to go downhill, since it looks like the outlet is flooded. Certainly you want to talk to the town about maintaining their storm drain system, but they may simply claim lack of resources, or alternatively they may tell you that the area is low and has always flooded. But it certainly does not hurt to discuss the issue. As to the styrofoam peanut drain, I don't see where it is going to save much money, you are still buying the perforated pipe, you still need to dig the trench, you still need to backfill with stone, and you still need the fabric. Maybe a little faster, but I would like to see the total install cost before declaring that this is a money saver.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:28 PM   #14
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You can get a nice canoe on Craigslist for short money - might be a nice family activity after the rains hit.
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