Soakaways Membranes and Permeable Paving

Soakaway Crates are now the favoured option for disposing of surface water in the UK. Available either as complete sets or individual items, they should always be wrapped in Geotextile Membranes to protect the soakaway and maintain its efficiency. We supply our Rainsmart crates either fully assembled or flat packed for on-site construction and in a variety of shapes, sizes and weight loadings. Our Membranes section is split into two different types of membranes, which have completely different uses; Geotextile Membranes and Damp Proof Membranes.


You can purchase our Soakaway Crates individually or as sets of 1 cubic metre - these sets come with sufficient geotextile membrane to wrap all of the outward faces of the soakaway. We stock the Rainsmart soakaway crate system in a variety of different size and layout options. Rainsmart products are strong, easy to install, eco-friendly and very long lasting and can be used in a variety of applications. With a void ratio of 95% these systems are vastly superior to the old style rubble soakaways.


Rainsmart Soakaway systems are an innovative, superbly engineered range of products used in the collection and controlled discharge of stormwater. With a team led by professionals from the civil engineering and environmental fields, Rainsmart have developed a range of long-lasting, robust and eco-friendly products that provide ground-breaking solutions to the rainwater management problems presented by urban developments.

With load ratings of up to 85 tonnes vertically and an industry-leading 18 tonnes laterally, Rainsmart systems are suitable for all types of applications including infiltration (soakaways), attenuation (controlled discharge), and retention (rainwater recycling). You can learn more about each of these different types of stormwater management in our Soakaways Guides & Tips Section.


In addition to Rainsmart crates we also stock the Aquavoid and the Polystorm systems, both of which are also available in pedestrian or vehicle loading options should you wish to position your soakaway under a driveway or road.


The one problem that soakaway crates traditionally present both to merchants and installers is on-site storage and distribution. Crates are bulky items that take up a lot of space, so often installers will order them just prior to installation in order to save valuable space on site. Rainsmart’s innovative soakaway systems are available in a flat pack option for easy assembly on site.

Assembly is a simple process – the only tool required is a rubber mallet which we include with each cubic metre set. Simple instructions are included and you can view a short instructional video here. One person should be able to assemble a one cubic metre set in 12 to 15 minutes.


If your property is in an area where the water table is higher than normal, consider using a shallow dig soakaway option. The clever design of Rainsmart soakaway crates allows you to stack them all on a shallow, single layer whilst still holding the same amount of stormwater as a standard layout 1 cubic metre soakaway. Two different crate layouts are available in the shallow dig option.

This type of soakaway is also popular for those excavating by hand – this is a laborious and potentially dangerous scenario when installing a standard shape soakaway without mechanical means.


In instances where the soil permeability is less than ideal a Rainsmart Heavy Soil Soakaway can often provide a solution. In normal permeable soils, rainwater held in the soakaway infiltrates back into the surrounding soil, recharging underground aquifers and providing moisture for the surrounding vegetation. In heavier (less permeable) soils the rate of infiltration is much slower – the clay based soil particles form a barrier that holds the stormwater for longer within the upper reaches of the ground.

Rainsmart Heavy Soil Soakaways are designed to give a much greater soil contact area – up to four times that of a normal one cubic metre soakaway. This is achieved by creating a table shaped structure, utilising a flat 30mm water storage cell above a standard soakaway cube. This increased surface area allows rainwater to permeate the soil over a larger expanse, reducing the chance of saturation in the area immediately surrounding the base soakaway crate structure.

For any soakaway installation we always recommend seeking advice from you local authority planning officer. If you have any doubt as to whether your soil is suitable for a soakaway a simple soil percolation test would be advisable.


Geotextile membranes are used for soil separation and stabilisation. At PVC Cladding we stock the two main types of geotextile – woven and non-woven. Woven geotextiles are manufactured by weaving tiny strips of fabric into one another. This makes them very strong – ideal for soil separation particularly where there is likely to be a loading on the soil, such as roads and carriageways.

Non-woven geotextiles are bonded together by heat during the manufacturing process. They are less strong in terms of load bearing, but provide better levels of filtration than their woven counterparts, so non-woven geotextiles are better for use in land drain and soakaway applications.


Damp Proof Membranes are used during the construction of a building at slab level to prevent moisture from the earth from rising up through the structure. DPM traditionally comes in two grades of strength, 1000 gauge and 1200 gauge.  Our membranes are strong and durable and are fully compliant with UK Building Regulations.

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