Levi Reeves - March 13, 2023

Drainage Fabric: Everything you Need to Know

Geotextiles, also referred to as drainage fabric or filter fabric, are synthetic textile materials engineered to facilitate the passage of water while filtering out unwanted particles, thereby mitigating soil erosion. Drainage fabric is an indispensable element of numerous drainage systems, as it aids in maintaining proper water flow and preventing harm caused by water accumulation.

The key significance of filter fabric is its ability to impede soil erosion and minimize damage triggered by water accumulation. Inadequate drainage can lead to water pooling, resulting in soil saturation, erosion, and even structural harm. This fabric addresses these problems by promoting water flow while filtering out soil particles and other unwanted debris.

Regardless of whether you're a homeowner, construction professional, or landscaper, comprehending the benefits and uses of filter fabric can enhance your ability to create drainage solutions that are more efficient and durable.

In this article, we'll delve into every aspect of filter fabric, including its various types, functions, installation methods, and maintenance tips.

Drainage Fabric Installation at Jobsite

Quick Summary

What is it?
This fabric is a lighter weight geotextile fabric used in commercial and residential landscaping projects.

Why use it
Can provide separation, erosion control, and filtration for multiple applications.

Where is it used?
Often used in french drains, drainfields, and in retaining walls.

What’s the Best Landscape Fabric for Draining Water?

Landscape fabric is a frequently utilized component in gardening and landscaping initiatives that facilitates the creation of low-maintenance, visually attractive environments. Landscape fabric is typically composed of synthetic materials, such as polyester or polypropylene, and is usually permeable, enabling the penetration of air and water into the soil while restricting sunlight and weed growth.

The principal objective of landscape fabric is to inhibit the growth of weeds by blocking sunlight. Furthermore, it aids in soil moisture retention, enhances soil structure, and prevents soil erosion.

Selecting the optimal landscape fabric for effective water drainage necessitates consideration of several variables, including soil type, water flow magnitude, and the area's intended use. Here are a few instances of landscape fabrics that are frequently employed for draining water:

Pooled water in backyard

Poorly Drained Backyard

  • Woven Geotextile Fabric: Polypropylene fibers are used to create woven geotextile fabrics that are exceptionally durable and resistant to tearing. Various grades are available some of which provide a high level of strength and water permeability.
  • Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric: Non-woven geotextile fabrics, consisting of synthetic fibers such as polypropylene or polyester, are exceedingly permeable to water while providing a varying level of strength depending on the weight of the fabric. They are an excellent option for locations with high water flow, including tree plantings, garden beds, and retaining walls. These fabrics promote healthy root development and prevent soil erosion. The heavier varieties can also be used below gravel roads, rip rap and on seawalls.
  • Landscape Fabric Drainage Mats: Landscape fabric drainage mats are composed of a combination of geotextile fabric and a drainage core, making them exceptionally effective at facilitating drainage in areas with substantial water flow. These mats are particularly useful in commercial landscaping projects, golf courses, and athletic fields. They promote healthy plant growth, reduce runoff, and inhibit soil erosion.

The best landscape fabric for draining water depends on the specific needs of your project.

Roll of Drainage Fabric

Non-Woven Roll of Fabric

Landscape Fabric vs Drainage Fabric

In landscaping and construction undertakings, landscape fabric and filter fabric are two types of geotextile fabrics that are frequently employed. Although they may seem comparable, they have distinct properties and serve different purposes. The following are the primary distinctions between these two types of geotextile fabrics:

Table header 0Landscape FabricDrainage Fabric
FunctionPrimarily used to prevent weed growth and erosion, while allowing air and water to penetrate the soilIs designed to promote water flow while preventing soil erosion
MaterialUsually made from woven or non-woven synthetic materials, such as polypropylene or polyesterTypically made from non-woven polypropylene
PermeabilityModerately permeable, allowing air and water to penetrate the soil while blocking sunlight and weed growthHighly permeable but is designed to allow water to pass through while filtering out soil particles
ThicknessLandscape fabric is typically thicker and more durable as it is designed to withstand foot traffic and other wear and tearUsually thinner and more lightweight, as it is designed primarily for water flow
ApplicationLandscape fabric is commonly used in garden beds, walkways, and other areas where weed growth and erosion are a concernOften used in drainage systems, such as french drains, retaining walls, and other areas where water flow needs to be managed

What is Drainage Geotextile Fabric and How Does it Work?

Drainage geotextile fabric is an engineered textile material designed to facilitate appropriate water flow and prevent damage that may arise due to excess water. The fabric's functionality is founded on enabling water to flow through its pores while obstructing soil particles and other debris from going through. As a result, the fabric helps to avert soil erosion and damage induced by surplus water.

What are Drainage Geotextile Fabrics Made From?

Drainage geotextile fabrics are constructed using synthetic materials such as polypropylene or polyester fibers. These fibers are notably resilient and resistant to tearing, rendering the fabric ideal for use in drainage systems where they are subjected to high-pressure and substantial water flow.

Water Poolilng at Side of Building

Drainage Issue Next to Building

Heavy-Duty Drainage Fabric

Our heavy-duty drainage fabric is designed to to hold back debris while allowing water to drain through. The end result is a much more clean drainage system which results in drastically less clogs and the necessity to dig out debris. There are many types of drainage fabrics on the market. From big box “economy” fabric to professional grade. We only sell professional-grade drainage fabric.

View our Heavy-Duty Drainage Fabric
Downspout Draining Below Ground

Downspout Drainage

What are the Benefits of this Fabric?

  • Promotes proper water flow
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Reduces maintenance costs
  • Can help improve soil quality
  • Long-lasting and durable

    Common Applications Where Drainage Fabric is Used.

  • Drainage systems: Drain fabric is commonly used in drainage systems to promote proper water flow and prevent soil erosion. It is used in applications such as subsurface drainage, retaining walls, and bridge abutments.
  • Landscaping: Geotextile fabric is used in landscaping projects to prevent soil erosion and improve soil quality. It is used in applications such as garden beds, retaining walls, and walkways.
  • Construction:  In construction projects to prevent water damage and promote structural stability. It is used in applications such as foundation drainage, roof gardens, and underground parking structures.
  • Agriculture: Often used in agriculture to promote proper water flow and prevent soil erosion. It is used in applications such as irrigation systems, drainage ditches, and for erosion control.
  • Environmental remediation: Filter fabric is used in environmental remediation projects to prevent soil erosion and control the movement of contaminated soil and water. It is used in applications such as landfill caps, sediment ponds, and stormwater runoff control.
Installing Large Geotextile Fabric Rolls

Installing Large Geotextile Rolls

Wrapping a French Drain

French Drain Installation

What’s the Best Landscape Fabric for Draining Water?

Among the different types of landscape fabrics available, the non woven geotextile fabric is considered the most effective for draining water. Non woven geotextile fabric is a durable and robust material that allows water to penetrate through while also preventing soil erosion and ensuring proper water flow.

The fibers that make up non woven geotextile fabric create a dense and strong material that is capable of withstanding high water flow and pressure. This feature makes it a great choice for applications where water flow is a concern, including drainage systems and other areas. Conversely, certain types of technical woven geotextile fabric may not be able to withstand the same level of water flow as non woven geotextile fabric.

Drainage Fabric for a French Drain

French drains are commonly utilized to divert excess water away from the foundation of a building to prevent water infiltration damage. To construct a french drain, a trench is dug and lined with a fabric, then filled with crushed stones or gravel.

For a french drain, heavy-duty non-woven geotextile fabric should be used. Non-woven geotextile fabric is highly permeable, allowing water to pass through while also preventing soil particles and debris from obstructing the system. The fabric should be placed in the trench and wrapped around the crushed stones or gravel to create a barrier that keeps soil and debris out of the drain.

When installing a french drain with this fabric, it is important to make sure that the fabric is properly installed and that the drain is sloped correctly. The slope should be at least 1% to ensure that water flows away from the building's foundation. It is also important to use high-quality smooth and round rocks that are free of fines, which can clog the system and reduce its effectiveness.

Finished Drainage Project

Drainage Area in Backyard

Large Water Flow Area

Drainage Area at Golf Course

How Drainage Fabric Works with Your French Drain

To ensure proper functionality of a french drain system, geotextile fabric is a crucial component. It acts as a filter that prevents soil particles and debris from clogging the drain, allowing water to flow freely through the system.

During operation, water enters the french drain and flows through the gravel or crushed stone where it is filtered by the filter fabric. The fabric also helps to distribute the weight of the gravel or crushed stone evenly, preventing it from shifting or settling over time. This helps to ensure that the drain remains effective in diverting excess water away from the foundation of a building.

Using high-quality materials and installing the fabric correctly is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the french drain system.

  • Determine the location and size of the french drain. This will depend on the amount of water that needs to be diverted and the location of the building's foundation.
  • Excavate a trench to the desired depth and width. The trench should slope away from the building's foundation to ensure proper water flow.
  • Install the fabric in the trench. The fabric should be placed on the bottom and sides of the trench, with excess fabric extending over the edges of the trench.
  • Place a layer of gravel or crushed stone in the bottom of the trench, ensuring that it is level and evenly distributed.
  • Wrap the excess fabric over the layer of gravel or crushed stone, creating a barrier that prevents soil particles and debris from entering the drain.
  • Continue to add layers of gravel or crushed stone until the trench is filled to the desired height. Be sure to compact each layer to ensure.that it is evenly distributed and firmly packed.
  • Fold the excess fabric over the top layer of gravel or crushed stone, creating a seal that prevents soil particles and debris from entering the drain.
  • Backfill the trench with soil, ensuring that the top layer is sloped away from the building's foundation.
  • Install a drainage grate or other covering to protect the french drain from debris and other obstructions.

Should I use Drainage Fabric Under Gravel?

Yes, it is recommended to use the fabric under the gravel to ensure proper drainage and prevent soil particles and debris from clogging the system.

How to Install Fabric for Drainage?

Determine the Source of Your Water Problem

Before installing the fabric, it's essential to identify the source of your water problem. This will help you determine the location and size of the area where the filter fabric should be installed.

Finished French Drain

French Drain Professinoal Installation

Walkway Drainage

Drainage Opening Next to Grass

Tools Required

The tools required for installing the fabric may vary depending on the size and location of the area. Some common tools include a measuring tape, utility knife, shovel, and stakes or other fasteners to secure the fabric in place.

Materials Required

To install the fabric, you'll need high-quality, permeable non-woven fabric, as well as the gravel or other materials to cover the fabric and promote proper drainage.

Call Before You Dig

Before beginning any excavation work, it's essential to call your local utility company to ensure that there are no underground utilities or other obstructions in the area.

    Installation Steps for Filter Fabric

  • Excavate the area to the desired depth and shape, ensuring that it slopes away from any buildings or structures.
  • Lay the fabric over the excavated area, ensuring that it covers the entire area and any exposed soil or debris.
  • If necessary, overlap the edges of the fabric to create a seal that prevents any soil particles or debris from entering the system.
  • If required, secure the fabric in place using stakes or other fasteners.
  • Cover the fabric with gravel or other materials, ensuring that it is evenly distributed and promotes proper drainage.
  • Test the drainage system by pouring water over the area and observing how quickly it drains away.
Side of House Drainage

Drainage System Next to House

If you're experiencing water problems in your yard or property, installing the right fabric can help prevent damage and promote proper drainage. With the right tools and materials, installing the fabric is a relatively straightforward process that can have long-lasting benefits. So, don't wait any longer and take action to protect your property.