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I'm having a hard time finding appropriate filter fabric for my curtain drain in the crawl space. HD had some stuff but that's for gardening and may not be suitable. Also since their gardening season hasn't started they didn't have enough of it.

Do people have any recommendations? Anything I should avoid? What works best?

Alternatively, do I really need it? The pros who did the french drain in my basement didn't use anything at all; they said the fabric gets clogged but I suspect they just minimized their expenses.

Edit: HD sells 4"x100' socket filter fabric for ~ $20. So, since that's really cheap, the question is why did my contractors not use that? Do they really believe that it would clog or were just lazy?

Edit2: Since Joe, below, mentioned that clogging might depend on the type of soil, let me clarify: my soil is mostly clay.

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I've gotten filter fabric already made into a tube that you just insert the perforated pipe into; it was near where they sold the perforated pipe, if I recall correctly. Unfortunately, I can't rememeber which store I got it from, but my common stores to shop at are TrueValue, Ace, Home Depot and Lowes. (and Southern States, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't from there) –  Joe Jan 25 '11 at 23:44
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Yes, Joe, I just checked and HD does have that (right next to the pipes indeed). I had missed it last time because I was kinda mislead by an HD employee... –  Peter Q Jan 26 '11 at 21:51

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

For the first part, as it's in answer form:

Many hardware stores that sell perforated pipe also sell filter fabric already made into a tube that neatly fits over the perforated pipe; if it's a warehouse store (not one where you get a ticket and then go out to a lumber yard), it'll likely be kept near the perforated pipe.

As for the chance of clogging -- I can only assume it depends on what sort of soil you have. If lots of soil starts washing into your pipe, the ground level might fall slightly, but I personally haven't seen too much problem, but I don't have high-clay or silt content above my drain. (I do have clay deeper down, however, but you're going to have other problems if you're trying to drain through clay)

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The soil is mostly clay (I just updated my post with this info too). Does that mean I shouldn't use fabric? –  Peter Q Jan 27 '11 at 18:10
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@Peter : In full clay, water will not flow through it. Well, it might, but we're talking about flow rates measured in mm or cm per day; what's more likely is that clay and silt will wash into the pipe and either collect in the bottom, or if you get enough water flowing, wash down the pipe to whatever exit you might have, clogging up other things. I would specifically use the filter fabric in clay, and I'd also be tempted to put another filter layer between the soil and gravel (I assume you're setting gravel around the perforated pipe) so the clay can't wash away as easily. –  Joe Jan 27 '11 at 19:21

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