Shown above is a section of 4″ perforated corrugated drainage pipe. It has slots cut into it, with slot placements staggered between rings.
Shown here is a 100-foot coil of 4″ unperforated drainage pipe.
I’ve been ordering supplies online, to avoid having to make multiple small trips to the home centers given COVID-19-related travel and shopping restrictions. I need about 40′ of perforated drainage pipe for an upcoming experimental sub-irrigated wicking planter project, and will likely need more later in the season.
I figured that maybe a 100-foot coil from my industrial supplier would be a good idea, rather than picking up 10-foot sections from the local home center. I thought I’d use what I need and toss the remainder into storage or the garage attic for next year.
I paid a small premium for the coil over what it costs at the home center, but not a lot more, and it seemed worth it for the time and effort savings.
Well, a truck carrier dropped off the coil today and I didn’t check the pipe closely enough before they left. Big mistake.
I ordered perforated drainage pipe and received non-perforated drainage pipe. There are no slots and no holes other than at the two ends. *sigh*
I just got off the phone with my supplier. To be honest, I’m not confident they’ll be able to send a replacement without the same problem happening again. If the mix-up happened once, it will likely happen again if I order a replacement right now. To their credit, they offered to put a note on the order for the warehouse to verify the replacement would be the correct item, but I wasn’t convinced that it’ll work.
So, I requested that we do a return and a refund. I thought I’d get this off my hands, and will just pick up smaller sections at the home center, which I admit is what I should have done in the first place.
Great, they can process the refund.
But, due to how much it would cost to pick up the coil of unwanted non-perforated pipe, it’s mine to keep, they won’t be picking it up. Uh-oh. Well, that’s disappointing, but understandable. They said I could give it to a neighbor or something.
So now I have a 100-foot coil of non-perforated drainage pipe, and nothing I can do with it.
Maybe a local contractor can use it, I’ll have to ask around. But if not, bulk trash pickup is a few months away. Local bulk recycling drop-offs have been suspended for the time being. Regular recycling pickup definitely won’t take it.
But before I move it to storage, the garage attic, or into storage, maybe there’s a way I can use it so it’s not wasted?
Is there any way to perforate this myself? There’s no way am I willing to drill holes into it. First, larger holes will clog with dirt, and although this can be remedied with landscaping fabric or a fabric sock that slips over the pipes, that’s an additional expense. If I’m going to spend more money, I’m just going to buy what I need in the first place – perforated pipe.
What about smaller holes? There would have to be more of them, and how much time and effort will that take over the span of 10 feet? 40 feet? The entire coil of 100 feet?
Maybe I can cut slots with a miter saw? But that will be extremely labor-intensive, especially considering that the first part of my upcoming project requires 40-feet of perforated pipe. There would be maybe 48 slots per foot, so that would be nearly 2000 cuts, and in 8 different positions given the way slots are staggered.
My refund is being processed, and I’m putting together a list of other stuff I need from a high-impact run to the home center. Meaning, in my mind I’ve already accepted that I’ll have to store this large coil of pipe until I can either give it away or discard it, whichever comes first.
But, maybe there’s some way I can effectively perforate it easily and without costing much in the way of fabric socks or covers?
Aside from donating it to an irrigation or drainage contractor, sending it off to recycling, or putting it at the curb with a “free” sign, what else can I do with this stuff? I briefly considered maybe some kind of external planter water reservoir, but that seems like a solution in need of a problem I don’t have right now.
Maybe I can… use it to create some kind of… I don’t know. Ideas?
How about a rope cutting gun, anything along this style might be the fastest way:
And maybe try coating the blade with non-stick cooking spray to cut down on melted plastic buildup.
Or try a very light/small cordless circular saw, lock up the the blade guard but keep the blade set very shallow. Lay out the plastic pipe so it can’t roll and just do speed cuts every inch. Once the full length gets one pass then roll it and start again.
Nothing will be instant or fast with the high number of cuts but there are creative ways. We all seem to have time on our hands currently.
Oscillator or an angle grinder with a thin wheel. I cant see anyway to make more then one cut and be accurate without a jig , and still all 2000 cuts are necessary
I second oscillating tool, use it with a 1/4 inch blade so it doesn’t make holes too big. But I would time how long it takes to do 1 row of 1 foot and multiply that times the number of rows and the 40 feet you are going to do to see how much labor the labor costs. But its hard to imagine, unless you are really quick, that it would be worth it.
I needed 30 feet of perf’ed drain pipe for a project and an extra chunk of non-perf laying around he wanted rid of so he gave it to me for free.
Used trim saw set to a very shallow depth and a jig to both hold the saw steady and guide the pipe and then pulled the pipe across the saw blade allowing it to cut a groove or slit in the high part of the rings.
Make a pass, rotate the pipe an inch, make a pass… rinse and repeat until you have the grooves you want.
Not pretty but it worked for me.
Shotgun with birdshot?
Maybe a rotary tool with the correct blade could cut slits in it fairly quickly.
Have a Habitat for Humanity type thrift store nearby you could donate it to?
I’m sure it would keep kids entertained for hours.
Agree – a Dremel with the reinforced cut off wheel would make the slots, but to get the depth given the ridges without the angle you’d need to cut it at you’d likely need to use the flexi shaft attachment. Should make quick work of it and the slots would be not much different than factory. Dremel makes a wheel for plastic but don’t know what the real difference is between the metal ones and the plastic ones other than the typical review comments ‘less melting’ and ‘lasts longer’ and ‘may be thinner’.
I’d put a thin disc in an angle grinder, could probably work your way down the length in a few minutes.
Larger ID PVC pipe cut in half, hinged, with razor blades on the inside where you want to perforate? Probably not cost or time effective for a “one time problem”.
Or using a handsaw. Always better to bring the work to the saw whenever possible. Rather than bring the saw to the work.
I meant bandsaw*
Take a 6″ long piece and cut it lengthways so it opens like a clamshell. You can place that around the bottom of small trees and shrubs to protect them from string trimmers and other abrasions that can damage the trunk. This is especially useful if you have young fruit trees or bushes and you need to edge up close to them.
Now only 99 more feet to think of uses for!
See if you can donate it to Habitat for Humanity with them doing the pickup.
Maybe a jig would work to punch multiple holes at once – either from the outside. Nails spaced appropriately and poking out along a board could be the punches.
It would still be time consuming – and points to the oft encountered dilemma that we face – when confronted with a “should I buy or should I make?” decision.
Mike (the other one)
I second the birdshot idea. May as well have fun doing it.
Pros use rigid pipe.
Mike (the other one)
i vote for a thin kerf blade in a circular saw. then cut lengthwise just barely getting into the top of the rib. maybe an 1/8 inch deep. nothing to lose.
Ha. Great minds think alike. I swear your comment wasn’t posted when I started typing mine. 😉
How about using a circular saw (or one of those tiny M12 circular saws) with the blade just barely protruding past the guard, then cut lengthwise. If the blade is adjusted just right, you will only cut the tops of the ridges, not all the way through.
I realize that’s the opposite of the way the perforations are supposed to be, but if the pipe is strong enough it could still hold together. Plus you could do that in seconds – other than finding some way to safely hold the pipe steady.
Long cross-rib slots like that could potentially collapse due to weight of several cubic feet of wet potting mix and plants, at least if the cuts are too deep. It could be alright for vertical applications, but possibly not horizontal. With how the slots are supposed to be arranged, there shouldn’t be any load-bearing slot deformations. If the cuts are too shallow, I’m thinking there might not be enough perforation surface area for efficient wicking.
Thanks! Still seems worth trying.
I’ve installed culverts under roads a d drives, and if you form a U bottom where you are placing the tile and pack carefully around it, you should be fine. After all, gopher holes keep their shape with no liner. Also, if you are planning to use it for irrigation most of the flow will be outward, making it less likely to have dirt wanting to get inside. I personally wouldn’t be afraid of cutting slots lengthwise. If concerned about strength just cut one or maybe two close together so most of the tile keeps its rigidity. Again for irrigation and not drainage you shouldn’t need much flow. Good luck
I’ve seen this done on 4” corrugated pipe with no issues. You just need to make sure the slit is very shallow and that it’s pointed down when installed. Multiple cuts might be necessary depending on how much water you need the pipe to evacuate.
Another benefit of this method is you can slit the pipe where you want, meaning it can evacuate water from a specific area and transport it without depositing it in other areas.
Take a baseball bat and put large nails in it. Lay the pipe on the grass and beat the sh$t out of it. Then, roll it over and beat the sh&t out of it again. Do only as much as you need. Make some fun out of it. Dress up like a medieval warrior. Heck, you may even get others to do it for you for free.
Here is a half-baked idea – an iron maiden. If you have the tools split a slightly larger metal pipe into two halves. Weld a hinge or two on one seam. Weld a handle to the top half and on the bottom half a mounting plate. on the inside of the two halves weld on some sharpened metal scrapes as knives (or maybe sharpened metal pipes like syringe needles if you want more open holes for drainage) . Then feed and press sections of the hose. It might be a fun project, but I doubt it. A similar thing could be made of PVC with screws doing the perforation and some wood handles. on a different note the fastest method would be to have a jig with spiked rollers pointing inwards that you could feed the tube through and just pull it so there would be no alignment issues. Just pull it though and the pulling motion would perforate it (there is a change of ripping the hose in half if the holes weaken it too much)… sort of like a lathe steady rest but the rollers oriented parallel to the direction of travel. Here is sort of what I mean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GMXRTzMHnQ
Koko the Talking Ape
OMT or jigsaw. If you could get a thin enough blade, maybe that nifty Milwaukee cut-off tool.
I think you should get some ferrets, they love tubes. String it up all over the house, and they can have fun running though it.
I did consider maybe a ball-drop roller coaster of some sort, but that’d work a lot better with smooth PVC.
But it’ll be a lot louder and more fun with the corrugated.
Just use a cordless reciprocating saw with an appropriate blade. You’d need a helper, but you should be able to move right down a section without too much trouble very quickly. I would guess 10 or 20 cuts and you should have a good rhythm down and have your cut depth worked out.
Unfortunately, I’ve had to do something like this before. I’d place two six to eight foot 2×4’s flat as a jig and then bungee down the middle and ends. That would keep it flat and straight.
Oscilating tool, drill bit, …
I have found the sock necessary and use it typically, unless I can be sure enough volume will pass through to flush it clean, but primarily to keep soil level above it stable.
The non slotted pipe is great for the sections you want to keep dry, then go to slotted where you want to distribute the water.
All these crazy people coming up with weird ideas.
You just need to bite the bullet and use the right tool for the job.
Just need to reinvest your savings from the free roll, and start a business…
Sharp utility knife?
Stretch it out on your workbench, hold in place with clamps, poke poke poke poke poke, unclamp, turn, reclamp, poke poke poke poke, unclamp, turn, reclamp, poke poke poke poke, etc.
From the pics it looks thin enough to poke through.
Just a Medic
Finally! A utility knife is the simplest tool suitable for this task. There is no need for power tools here, I’m sorry to say.
Little Turkey Subs
Not certain how your wicking planter design is going to be laid out, but assuming this is going to be the water supply line I believe I would drill holes on the side that will be on the bottom as water is probably not going to grain out of top. Also larger holes less likely to clog u[ and not drain as well.
I’m following a couple of “SIP planter” projects, with the piping on the bottom and filled 2/3 with water, with water wicking out of the slots/holes and up into the planter soil/potting mix.
I have different parts on the way, with two ideas about how to fill the tubes. One involves drinking water-safe PVC tubing as fill-tubes (which is common), or right angle fittings connected to an additional pipe section that comes up the side of the planter.
A lot of online designs feature landscape fabric or sock-wrapped pipes, but I found one source that showed the pipes don’t generally clog or fill with dirt.
It seems that holes will allow for dirt to pass through much more easily than slots of similar opening area.
With sub-irrigated/wicking planters, water does seem to mostly wick into the mix from the sides of the pipes, but the slots on the top are necessary for drainage, for occasional top watering or rainfall.
Had nearly the same exact problem, it sounds like you are making a large sub irrigated planter. I did it on a smaller scale (wicking buckets). The Table saw is the answer. You will need to pre cut the lengths you need and use the extra to make and dial in a jig for the table saw. The corragated pipe ridges are more rounded than the thickness of the plastic. So it’s possible to shave off the tops of the ridges while keeping the structural integrity of the pipe intact. But depending on the lengths you need it may not be worth your time and aggrivation. You definitely will need landscape fabric if you go this route.
How about re-work the forty feet you need and donate the rest.
Going forward buy it yourself or double check delivery.
I have no problem donating all of it, if I can get a local taker.
One box was at the doorstep, the other behind my vision by the garage. I should have held the driver until I could check it. I could have worked around some shipping damage, but wasn’t thinking about what else could have gone wrong.
Not without end caps.
Skee ball? But that would be a lot easier with rigid PVC piping than this stuff, which is pretty flexible.
The right answer is to take the refund and order the right pipe, then donate this once the pandemic subsides.
It’s gonna take a lot of labor to turn this into what you wanted, and it doesn’t sound like thata something you want to put your time into. Understood. I wouldn’t want to either.
That’s the most likely plan, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask for ideas.
I made 60′ of 6in corrugated pipe, perforated….
Took an hour, one angle grinder and most any cutting blade.
Stuart, leave it on the roadside and someone will pick it up. That’s how we get have gotten half of the 4′ pipe we used…… 75′ more out in the back right now…..
That doesn’t sound too bad at all actually.
I might cut off a section and see how long it would take me to cut it with a miter saw. I like the idea of a miter saw because some have depth stops for uniformity, and because the kerf is larger than it would be from a band saw or regular cut-off wheel. Or, maybe an oscillating multi-tool, but I’d worry that would more melt the plastic than cut it cleanly.
I tried our Fein Tool, but that was before I got a round Drywall blade for it, so it didn’t work so well, plus I’d be afraid it would burn up for prolonged use.
Good luck! Also, be prepared for a sore back, I’m young so I dealt with it.
Man receievs pipe with holes!
Times are getting tough… how isnt this being picked up by every media outlet?
May not hurt to check your downspout drainage while you have the material. Heck, maybe even route your downspouts to the new garden
I had everything upgraded last year, from a single 3” to dual 4”.
I do need to repair part of our French drain, but that requires perforated tubing too.
Fabricate soldering “multi-pin” Iron that punches holes where you want. High wattage seems like a good idea…
For goodness sakes. I can buy 100 ft rolls of 4” either perf or non-perf for $38 -43 RETAIL at about a dozen different places within a half hour of my home. If this was your largest mistake the day you bought it, it was a good day.
It’s not worth your time to TRY to convert it. Forget it and move on. Go get the right stuff.
BTW, some ideas to “fix” your mistake are downright dumb.
I didn’t make the mistake, I ordered perforated drain pipe and the supplier sent the wrong stuff. They’re issuing a refund, and I’m left with 100 feet of the wrong stuff taking up space. My only mistake was not being fast enough to reject part of the order and send it back on the truck.
Even if I “go get the right stuff,” I’m left with a large coil of 100′ of pipe unless or until I can find someone to give it to (and I don’t think that’ll be easy), or a longer wait until I can recycle it.
So, I figured I’d ask for ideas on how to convert/perforate it if possible, or maybe do something else with it so it’s not a waste.
People use it to extend the downspouts both above and below ground to push roof water further away.
Others cut it into pieces , slit it open and wrap it around new trees to keep the critters from eating the bark/damaging the tree.
Underground drainage people use it to go through areas with tree roots (the roots grow into the slots of the perforated style and plug the drainage system).
Farmers use it for a plethora of applications.
I don’t see it as hard to dispose of at all, at least in the Midwest where it’s so commonly used. Lots of people would take it.
The slits in the picture look like something you could do with a sawsall Pretty quick with a nice long blade. Doesn’t have to be pretty for what you want. Jagged cuts would work fine.
If you’re willing to put the time in, use the Milwaukee m12 cutoff tool! Heck, if the coronavirus wasn’t a problem I’d do it for you?
If you’re looking for the quickest way to offload it. “Curb Alert” on Craigslist should do the trick. My favorite is to drop it a few streets over at a vacant for sale house. Really keeps the door knockers at bay. “Hey, I saw you posted something for free, but there’s nothing on the curb.” Let’s use our deduction skills Sherlock….someone beat you to it!
As fun as all the explosive and powered options sound, how about going a little neanderthal here and just punching slots with a mallet and a duct knife like the one linked below.
It’s been a bit since I played with the perforated piping and I don’t recall how tough/hard it is but as long as you can punch through in one thwack and then withdraw fairly easily, you should be able to move down the line pretty quick.
Give it away dude, somebody out there is looking for just that.
Yes, I’m sure someone out there can use it, there’s just the question as to how long it’ll take up space, and how much effort it’ll take to find a taker.
For planter use you only need a single hole at the top (dead center-ish) of the pipe to allow area to fill with water -the more the merrier but not necessary.
A soldering iron might be the best choice in this case.
But actually since the ends of the pipe are already open even that isn’t necessary -I’m pretty sure it’d be completely fine to use non-perfed pipe in wicking tubs
Consider a 4-foot length. The bottom of the planter is lined with rubber. You really need slots across the entire length to allow water permeation outwards and upwards to wet the potting mix, or into the pipe for drainage in the case of rainfall or watering from above such as to add liquid-soluble fertilizer.
I work with this pipe a lot. Utility knife cuts it with ease.
It,s going to be labor intensive no matter what. But, it will be just another obstacle that was overcome, and can be looked back on with pride.
No need to go all Magiver on it with some of these ideas — remember KISS — Keep It Simple Stuart. It’s thin walled plastic not some sort of thick walled pipe, use a sharp filet knife, the width of the blade is fine for your drainage and depending on the length you can do both sides at the same time. now the only problem you’ll face is if it’s your wife’s favorite knife but you’re on your own for that one
Time for another Toolguyd giveaway!
Stuart, I have used Coarse tooth blades on Jig, Oscillating, and Reciprocating Saws to slice and cut BlueDuct, an underground air duct thats constructed of a material similar to this pipe. The key using these saws is a Slow speed, just like cutting PVC pipe with a Sawzall, if you cut at a slow consistent speed it cuts more effectively than going wide open trying to cut it.
I would recommend Diablo Steel Demon 8/10 tooth Sawzall blades, Dremel 2×4 wide blades for the Oscillating tool. Jigsaw i have no recommendations, i kinda just made due with whatever was handy, though I did have a Brown colored Festool blade, which I think was a wood blade that lasted pretty long.
If you want to make drainage slots, I would agree with some of the other comments an angle grinder with light touch would probably serve you well, if you lay the pipe out and mark it off every X amount of feet you want to go between cuts you should be able to get it done relatively quick. I would keep a piece of scrap metal around while cutting, if the grinder blade gets coated by the plastic it can knock the plastic off giving it a quick grind then going back at it again. <<<<no scientific evidence just did it myself a couple time, seemed to work .
Hope it help, thanks for all the time and effort you put into your site. You do a pretty awesome job, thats just my two cents though haha.
Take it easy
Put it on the roadside with a sign marked “FREE” and it will stay there for months.
Put it on the roadside with a sign marked “$30.00” and someone will steal it.
I dunno… if you can afford to “Just Keep it” and order what you really want later, I think this would make excellent worktable troughs. Cut into a kind of 3/4 pipe, and run it as a bumper along all the edges of your workshop, and it can catch large chunks or loose screws for later retrieval, instead of these things getting sucked up into vacuum systems of all sorts.
Also an idea is to cut it into sections that run along the floor, connected to the dust collection system. Create inward-opening doors at specific intervals, maybe attach a few of those remote activation switches next to the doors, so you can tap it with your foot, sweep things into the pipe, and have it sent through to the dust collection, like some internal vacuum systems work.
Another idea is ceiling access channels. Hang all your regular dust collection pipe, air hoses, and retraction reels for the system, behind the neat-and-tidy tubing, which you simply slit down one side, and wrap around the whole lot, perhaps stuffing it with something sound-dampening to quiet some of the noise these systems generate…
I could think of a thousand things you could do to make this mistake into a project for shop convenience, or safety measures. Hell, it can even be decorative if you label it correctly when it’s in place.
I admit though, I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place for supplies… so my prototypes for my inventions are often just improvised bits of whatever I can find at hand, before I test it to death, and come up with the final design I need to make to do it right. A giant coil of this ribbed plastic tubing would have literally thousands of applications in this form. And if you STILL have too much, after completely outfitting everything you need, then yeah… Sell it off, recycle it, or donate it. But, surely, you can’t say you can’t think of ANYTHING to make out of that much coiled piping. 4″ pipe can hold quite a few things in there… even shelving, and segmented part dispensers come to mind. Wire coil rack material that rolls with the spools, always keeping the end handy… Infinite uses…
Skye A Cohen
Post on next door or Craigslist or something for free.
Or give it to habitat for humanity if u have one nearby
I do like the idea of shooting it with birdshot but I would think you’d just blast it into pieces in the middle of your shot, shoot a few perfect holes near that and the birdshot bounces off everywhere else. Might be fun though.
If you really wanted to kill time an aviation bit(long drill bit) and go to town but really doesn’t seem worth it.
I’ve seen stuff like this spilt down its length and slipped over the top of a chain link fence to protect people and inflatable balls from the sharp points. Usually at baseball fields and soccer fields. See if the town or a local rec league would want it?
I hoard materials so I vote just stick it in the attic. Atleast untill this covid crap burns out then donate or whatever. Might have an unexpected use in the short term. Never know.
Also Shot guns, Iron Maiden, baseball bat with nails in it? You guys are not quite playing with a full deck of cards? Probably why I love the comment section here so much!!!
“Bash the $hi+ out of it with the spiked bat” made me spit out my cofee. Im imagining some dude dressed as Conan the Barbarian but middle age, hairy, kinda pale, out of shape and bashing a pipe while screaming. The neighbors are like WTF? Hahaha Thanks guys I needed a good laugh.
Well, it’s been entertaining to say the least.
Post it for 50% off whatever you bought it for on Facebook Marketplace so you can use that money to buy landscape fabric.
The #1 reason for drain failure is the failure to use fabric and rock.
I don’t know what you’re doing, but there are specific things you need to do when installing drainage pipe. First thing is the hole has to be sized for the amount of water coming into it and the soil type. Second, it should have at least 12″ of rock underneath it, and then it should be wrapped in landscaping fabric to keep sediment out. This is a typical installation of a “Leech line”. If you are doing something unusual, there are still guidelines to follow.
I just love how the ENTIRE page has been just three responses:
1) Get Rid of it (Toss, Give Away, Sell, Post on SiteX)
2) Poke Holes in it
3) Donate to School/Charity.
Am I the only one that sees other uses he can have for it? Have the rest of the 70+ responses come from people who forgot that we all MAKE things all the time? I can’t be the only one that has posted alternative USES for the tubing in all of this.
So if cutting slots in it is such a hassle (and I agree that it is) why not let them try and send you the right stuff? Nothin’ to lose!
Right now it was processed as a refund and for me “keep it, it’s not worth arranging for the return.”
If I place another order, I could get the right stuff, or I could get the wrong stuff again and be left with two coils of the wrong piping.
Right now the plan is for me to order either 10′ long sections from the home center with my next 1x6x8 cedar purchase, or maybe a coil from there. It seems like it’ll be easier to store extra 10′ sections in the garage attic than a coil.
Paul E Hacker
Table saw? Put blade on backwards cut all the cuts on the length you want ..rotate repeat … toy could stagger them easy to keep the pipe strong.