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  1. #1
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    Default Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    I am looking to bid a large job today and need to add a 36" culvert to access the property. I am considering a plastic culvert but don't have any experience with them, what are the pro's and con's compared to the galvanized culverts I normally have used?

  2. #2
    Elite Member ovrszd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    I maintain 50 miles of rural roads. Have no idea how many culverts are involved, never tried to count them, over 100 I'm sure. I've used plastic since 1992. I'm talking about dual wall plastic, corrugated outside, smooth inside. In sizes from 12" up to 48". My provider builds 20' or 30' with bell/o-ring ends so they slip together without needing a band.

    Only time I use galvanized steel is if I get into very large size above 48". Then it's more cost effective to use steel.

    I have zero complaints regarding plastic.

    Their lifespan is beyond my imagination. They are a lot less likely to wash out. I've not replaced any for that reason. Originally rumor had it that varmits would eat thru them, but I've never saw that.

    Very easy to handle. Usually I'm working by myself. With a 36", if you have to put two pieces together you'll probably hafta throw some dirt on the first piece to hold it and then use your hoe to push the second one on. For smaller pipe I can usually slip them together by hand.

    Up until two years ago I'd never had one burn out. I bragged about that to a local farmer a couple years ago and then lost one due to fire. We have a lot of idle farm land here, Conservation Reserve Program. One method of maintenance is to burn it off. This one had a thick layer of waterway grass that ran right up against one end. Got the plastic started burning and then used it as a chimney and burned out the entire culvert, 40' of 18". All that was left was small piles of melted molten plastic.

    If you go plastic, you'll never go back!!!! Good luck with your project!!!
    Richard
    Kubota M9540, JD2210

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    overszd,
    Thanks for the detailed response, I will check to make sure the supplier is quoting the same or similar design as you mention in double wall.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    Good information, we have been using metal and need to replace one this spring on a dam levy inlet that's too short.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    We have a bunch of plastic on our farm (18" smooth inside, corrugated outside IIRC) and its been great.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    I received a price of $45/ft for 36" double wall plastic culvert, is this inline? I need this asap to cross the ditch to do the main job of installing the irrigation system and field leveling.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    Having designed and built a whole lot of roads in my professional career, your question is not a simple one to answer because there are a lot of variables. Generally speaking though, plastic certainly has an advantage over corragated metal on the corrosion resistance side. However, bedding and backfilling are probably a little more sensitive on the plastic (HDPE) versus metal (CMP).
    You can find a wealth of information on installation pratices on the websites of both industries.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member s219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    Another vote for plastic -- I've had good luck with it. Dual wall smooth bore N2 (ADS or Hancor) is what I have been using. The pipe specs will state the minimum amount of cover, but normally it's based on a scale factor of diameter as a rule of thumb.

  9. #9
    Elite Member ovrszd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    I received a price of $45/ft for 36" double wall plastic culvert, is this inline? I need this asap to cross the ditch to do the main job of installing the irrigation system and field leveling.
    That's a little higher than I'm paying. But I'm under governmental contract which probably knocks off a little.
    Richard
    Kubota M9540, JD2210

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Plastic vs. steel culverts in 36" size?

    Quote Originally Posted by jtygoku View Post
    Having designed and built a whole lot of roads in my professional career, your question is not a simple one to answer because there are a lot of variables. Generally speaking though, plastic certainly has an advantage over corragated metal on the corrosion resistance side. However, bedding and backfilling are probably a little more sensitive on the plastic (HDPE) versus metal (CMP).
    You can find a wealth of information on installation pratices on the websites of both industries.
    ===============================================

    Addding to jtgoku's comments, and my own personal experience with
    a 24 inch twenty foot long plastic ribbed culvert-

    Unless the culvert is buried deeplyMore than 36 inches below grade
    it will want to float out of the ground as my mine did.

    It-meaning the plastic culvert became useless as it was more
    bouyant than the surrounding soil due to its light weight and
    the frost heaving it out of the ground.

    It was replaced with a 20 foot metal culvert by the original municipality
    that granted me permission to replace the first smooth bore rusted out steel pipe
    with a ribbed plastic culvert.

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