What Type of Drainage Pipe to Use Under The Driveway?

Chanel drain kits encased in concrete collars are the best types of pipes to use under a driveway. They resist cars driving on them.

You can also use a 4” or a 6” corrugated solid pipe for drainage under your driveway. This pipe should be buried at least at 15-inch depths. Ideally, you should bury the corrugated plastic pipe 20 inches under your driveway if you plan to run your car over it daily.

If you have water buildup on or around your driveway you need to consider a drainage pipe. There are various types of collecting water from the driveway and directing it away. This article explores your options by various budgets.

Why do you need a drainage pipe under the driveway?

Rainwater can accumulate on your driveway quickly. It can get into the house, in the garage, or simply puddle. It can even be unsafe for you to walk on your driveway with so much water lying around.

Another valid reason people put drainage pipes under driveways is the melting snow risks. Snow can melt in direct sunlight to water and then freeze to the ice at night. This makes your driveway unsafe during the winter as well. However, there are 2 main technical reasons to learn what type of drainage pipe to use under driveways.

  • Catching rainwater on the surface of the driveway

While you can build your driveway at an angle you might still need to catch rainwater on its surface. Drainage pipes direct all water that falls on the driveway and directs it to a place of your preference.

  • Directing the water from one side of the driveway to another

Drainage pipes can be installed under driveways at an angle to direct water from one side to another. You can direct water from the left to the right side and the other way around using a drainage pipe.

Where does the drainage driveway water go to?

After you catch the water you need to find a good place for it to go. Water can’t be released near the house as you’re trying to prevent flooding your yard.

  • Existing drainage

Drainage pipes under the driveway can direct water into existing drainage. You might need to tap into existing drainage but this is the easiest way to find a place for the collected water to flow.

  • A retention pond

A nearby retention pond might also be a valid option. If your driveway sits next to a lake you might be able to direct rainwater from under your driveway into the lake.

  • The side of the pavement

Some homes can direct water from the driveway onto the road or via the curbside. This is one of the main options for homes built in areas without an existing drainage system.

What Type of Drainage Pipe To Use Under the Driveway?

Drain pipes for driveways are also called French drains. You can sometimes install them yourself depending on your skills. Here are the main types of drain pipes for driveway use.

Chanel drain kit with a metal grate

A channel drain kit can be used to collect water under your driveway. It collects water in a channel to direct it then using a system of pipes. Galvanized steel grates ensure you can drive your car over the pipe.

Corrugated solid pipe

Corrugated solid pipes are the most affordable drain pipe for driveways. Made from corrugated HDPE plastic these are durable and easy to cut. Most importantly, they are flexible. This means you can consider corrugated solid pipes for asymmetrical driveways where a straight drain pipe is not an option.

Inlet drain basins can be connected to corrugated solid pipes. The role of these drain bases is to collect surplus water from around the driveway as well.

Otherwise, corrugated solid pipes can be perforated and installed into the ground with the holes at ground level (slightly to an angle). These holes allow water to get into the pipe and away from the driveway.

Perforated singlewall pipe (4” to 6”)

Perorated singlewall pipe of at least 4 inches is used as drainage pipe for driveways as well. You install it by first digging a ditch. Rocks are added to the bottom of the pitch for structural purposes as well as around the pipe so that water can pass to the pipe.

Trench drain channels

A simpler option is the classic trench drain channel. It can be connected to the home’s existing drainage system.


What is the pipe under the driveway called?

Drainage pipes under driveways are called French pipes. The role is to prevent flooding and they collect all rainwater and melting snow leading it away from the driveway.

Should you use PVC or corrugated pipe for drainage?

Drain pipes for the driveway can be made from PVC or corrugated plastic. Both are solid enough when paired with rocks to drive over.

What drain pipe can I drive over?

Drain channels encased in concrete have the highest load capacity for vehicles such as cars and SUVs. You can drive over some corrugated pipe for drainage as well. The ditch in which the pipe is laid has to be filled with rocks in case of corrugated or PVC pipes.

What is the best drainage pipe?

Drainage pipes made from corrugated HDPE plastic are best for driveways you walk on. Chanel drain kits with metal grates encased in concrete collars are best for driveways you drive on.

Can you drive over a buried PVC pipe?

You can drive over PVC pipe that is buried deep into the ground. It’s recommended to go deeper than 15 inches if you want to drive over the PVC pipe constantly.

Can you drive over 4-inch drainage pipe

Yes, you can drive over 4-inch drainage pipes that are buried deeply. If they’re buried at 15-20 inches into the ground they can be driven on by lightweight vehicles such as cars.