Types of Drainage Systems: surface, subsurface, and roof drainage

Drainage systems are an essential part of any infrastructure. They are designed to remove excess water from places, and ensure the overall environment remains safe and healthy.

What are the different types of drainage systems?

Different types of drainage systems are needed for the variety of surface areas you’ll need to protect from water damage. In this blog, we will look at the pros and cons of surface drainage, subsurface drainage, and roof drainage.

What are surface drainage systems?

Surface drainage systems are designed to remove water from the top surface of an area. These systems work by allowing water to flow into a channel or a series of channels that direct the water to a nearby waterway or designated drainage area. Surface drainage systems are commonly used in urban areas, where impervious or water repellent surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt, prevent water from being absorbed.

What are the benefits of surface drainage systems?

  • Effective water removal: surface drainage systems remove large volumes of water quickly, reducing the risk of flooding and water damage.
  • Easy maintenance: these systems are easy to maintain and only require regular cleaning.
  • Cost-effective: surface drainage systems are often the most cost-effective drainage option, particularly in areas where subsurface drainage is not necessary.

Are there any drawbacks to surface drainage systems?

  • Limited infiltration: surface drainage systems do not allow water to soak into the ground, which can lead to increased runoff and erosion.
  • Limited effectiveness in heavy rain: these systems may not be able to keep up with a high volume of water, resulting in flooding or water damage.
  • Dependence on slope: to function effectively this system needs a slope, meaning they may not work in areas with flat or low-lying land.

What are subsurface drainage systems?

Subsurface drainage systems remove water from the soil below the surface. These systems work by collecting water in underground pipes or channels and directing it to a designated drainage area or waterway. Subsurface drainage systems are commonly used in agricultural land, sports fields, and construction sites.

What are the benefits of subsurface drainage systems?

  • Increased soil aeration: these systems increase the amount of air in the soil, improving plant growth and reducing the risk of soil erosion.
  • Reduced waterlogging: subsurface drainage systems reduce the risk of excess water damaging crops and reducing yields.
  • Effective in all weather conditions: this makes them a reliable drainage option.

What are the problems with subsurface drainage systems?

  • Expensive installation: subsurface drainage systems are more expensive to install than surface drainage systems, particularly in areas with hard soil or rocks.
  • Maintenance requirements: these systems require regular maintenance to prevent clogging and ensure effective water removal.

What is roof drainage?

Roof drainage systems are designed to collect and transport rainwater or snowmelt that falls on a building’s roof. These systems are typically found on commercial or residential buildings and prevent water damage to a building’s structure and foundation. Roof drainage systems are made up of gutters, downspouts, and other components.

What are the benefits of using roof drainage?

  • Prevents water damage: by collecting rainwater and channelling it away from the building’s foundation this system preventing flooding and water damage to walls and ceilings.
  • Protects the foundation: a roof drainage system can help protect against soil erosion, which leads to foundation damage.
  • Increases the lifespan of the roof:  by preventing standing water, this extends the lifespan of a roof.

What are the problems when using roof drainage?

  • Clogging: if not properly maintained, roof gutters can become clogged with leaves, twigs etc.
  • Maintenance: regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspections, is necessary to keep the roof drainage system functioning properly.
  • Ice dams: in cold weather ice blockages can form on roof gutters, causing water to back up and cause damage.

How to choose the right drainage system for my property?

When it comes to choosing the right drainage system for your property, the best solution is to ask for advice from drainage experts. Otherwise, you’ll need to assess the type of property you have, and its drainage needs. If you are a developer it is important to consider Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) as a legal requirement. Don’t forget to look into local water authority requirements and charges before planning any new drainage systems.

It’s also important to consider the cost and maintenance requirements of different types of drainage. A professional drainage service provider like Premier Drainage Solutions can help you evaluate your options and choose the best drainage system for your property.

If you’d like to know more about drainage systems, or if you have questions about your property or development, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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