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Flex-Drain 52003 Flexible/Expandable Landscaping Drain Pipe, Perforated with Filter Sock, 4-Inch by 50-Feet
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- Pipe unfolds and expands from 4 to 50-feet
- Perforated pipe with a sock is for ground water drainage where soil is fine like sand (French drains, dispersing water from flower beds)
- Exceeds all applicable ASTM Standards
- Compatible with most traditional 3-inch and 4-inch corrugated pipe and 4-Inch PVC
- 30-Percent higher load-bearing rating than standard corrugated pipe
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Flex-drain 52003 flexible/expandable landscaping drain pipe, perforated with sock, 50-foot a pipe with spaced slits, covered with removable polyester sock. Appropriate for ground water drainage (french drains, dispersing water from flower beds) in applications where surrounding soil or sand is fine enough to require filtration and/or surrounding debris is considerable. Works effortlessly with our complete system of connectors, couplers and adapters. Exceeds all applicable astm standards. Made with no-break copolymers for professional grade strength and integrity. Proprietary peak and valley design offers greater surface area and a 30-percent higher load-bearing rating than standard corrugated pipe. Guaranteed not to split, crack or break when used in accordance with local building codes. Flex-drain is compatible with virtually all traditional 3-inch and 4-inch corrugated pipe and 4-inch pvc. All flex-drain products are made in America.
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When I first got it out of the box it felt strong and looked the part of a french drain pipe. However, I immediately thought it looked small. Regular corrugated pipe you buy in a roll at a hardware store is labeled by the inside diameter of the pipe. This product however is 4 inches measured to the outer diameter when collapsed. Since this is shaped like an accordion, there is less than 3 inches inside diameter. I put it next to my existing 4" corrugated pipe and I was shocked by the difference in size (see picture). It is very misleading to label this a 4 inch pipe. Their description of "Compatible with most traditional 3-inch and 4-inch corrugated pipe and 4-Inch PVC" is also incorrect. None of my 4 inch corrugated pipe connectors would work with this because the Flex-Drain outer diameter is more than an inch smaller.
Next up is the most important part, its strength. In the description it states "30-Percent higher load-bearing rating than standard corrugated pipe". The "strong" feeling it had went away when it was expanded. The plastic on these pipes is thin enough that as I was pulling it to its full length it started to collapse under the tension (see pictures). A standard corrugated pipe can handle a lot of weight, and I can easily stand on it with no problems. I could collapse the Flex-Drain with my hand. I know this because I tried to get the collapsed parts to come back out but ended up having more of the pipe collapse. This is a big issue because french drains are meant to be buried. This means weight of the ground surrounding it and the objects that roll over that ground will compress this pipe. Moreover, roots will crush it.
Finally, the perforations are very roughly cut into the plastic leaving rough melted plastic around all of the holes. This catches the sock while expanding and can rip it. This is by far the smallest issue, but overtime I could see the rough edges gathering debris and slowing the speed it takes in water. Standard perforated corrugated pipe has smooth slits.
I know what you are thinking. "Hey, if you disliked it so much why the two stars?? Why not one?". Well, I can see this being used for very small projects where you don't want to lug the heavier corrugated pipe, you don't expect to have much weight on it, and you don't need years of life out of it.
However, if you are like me and want your french drain to last as long as possible, then spend the ten more dollars and get the real corrugated pipe. After all those back breaking hours digging the trench and filling it with gravel, I don't want to even think about doing it again.