As seen in the Tried & True Spring 2024 issue

In the heart of our thriving Fratco community lies a commitment to excellence, one of many traits vividly shared with our valued partner, Carriff Engineered Fabrics. At Carriff, the mantra is simple yet profound: innovation meets practicality. Specializing in the creation and distribution of technical fabrics, Carriff’s expertise spans a broad spectrum of environmental applications. From drainage filtration to erosion control, Carriff’s fabrics play a pivotal role in industries like agriculture, construction and landscaping–not forgetting the DIY enthusiast. Carriff’s sales and marketing director, Shayne Stonehouse, met with us to help tell Carriff’s story and give us an inside look at what drives this partnership.

Who is Carriff?

In the 1970s, Carriff revolutionized the subsurface drainage landscape by introducing their pioneering Sock™ filter. A knitted mesh filter that covers the exterior of drainage pipe. Since then, they’ve established themselves as the frontrunners in crafting circular-knitted geotextile filter fabrics. These innovative drainage filters have found extensive applications across various sectors. Whether it’s improving agricultural yields, enhancing residential and commercial properties or bolstering highway and infrastructure systems, Carriff’s filters are a critical component. Each year, hundreds of millions of feet of these filters are employed, a testament to their reliability and effectiveness.

Carriff’s unique approach to drainage fabric manufacturing sets them apart in a competitive market. Utilizing their advanced circular-knitting machines, they produce fabrics that are not only effective but also highly versatile. These fabrics, or often put simply, “socks,” embody the essence of Carriff’s innovation. This distinctive design is more than a mere stylistic choice; it’s a testament to their commitment to providing solutions that are as practical as they are pioneering.

Shayne explained that Carriff’s Sock filter, when paired with Fratco’s high-quality drainage pipe, extends the life of a drainage system by further protecting the pipe. Once in place, the filter acts as a gatekeeper; water is freely allowed through the filter and into the pipe, while sand, silt and other sediment that could clog the system are effectively kept at bay. This critical feature helps in averting potential failures in drainage systems.

What’s particularly remarkable about Carriff’s Drainage Sock filter is their meticulously engineered opening size. These openings are designed to let the smallest of soil particles, the colloidal ones, seep through the filter and into the pipe. This process is not just about filtration; it’s about enhancement. As these tiny particles are washed away with the water flow, they leave behind larger soil particles. These particles, now trapped around the geotextile, create expanded void spaces, Shayne explained. That may be hard to picture, but it means that it helps increase the flow of water into the pipe. It helps create a significant boost in the soil’s permeability right around the pipe, optimizing drainage efficiency like never before.

“The people at Fratco are really making their mark on the market, and we’re glad to be part of it.”

Shayne Stonehouse, Carriff’s Sales and Marketing Director

Partners in Drainage

Working together for nearly 40 years, the partnership between Fratco and Carriff is a natural fit. Both companies share a core philosophy: delivering practical, no-nonsense solutions to the hardworking individuals who form the backbone of our industries. Carriff’s products complement Fratco’s drainage pipe offerings, creating a synergy that benefits contractors and end-users alike. The partnership is a reflection of our ongoing dedication to quality, practicality and innovation–values that resonate deeply within the Fratco community.

After talking with Shayne his passion for the industry was immediately visible as his excitement carried through our conversation. This kind of radiant passion seems to go around as he told us about meeting Chris Overmyer for the first time a few years ago, “I met Chris in Las Vegas for the first time in January of 2019, and I could just tell how passionate Chris was about Fratco and just the industry in general. They’re all just very passionate people, very humble in their relationships and partnerships.”

He went on to talk about some of his relationships with Fratco employees throughout the industry as many relationships go a step further than working together commercially. Specifically, he mentioned how his relationship with Craig Douglass, Fratco’s sales manager, has grown by meeting together at PPI committee meetings, “I have a great relationship with Craig Douglass. He and I are both on the drainage management committee for the Plastic Pipe Institute. And we connect and get together for drinks at almost every PPI meeting. We’ve become friends over the last couple of years through these industry events. So we have open conversations about the market and what’s going on. I’ve been able to provide feedback to him about what I’m seeing in the market and he’s been able to provide me with what they’re seeing in the markets that they service. So, I think it’s great to share that knowledge with him and for him to share it with me.”

Shayne continued recalling his time working with Fratco leadership saying, “They’re just very humble and appreciative for everything that they have. So I mean, tons of respect for that. You don’t come across too many presidents of companies that are humble and appreciate things as much as Chris does.” Shayne told us about the value there is in having real relationships with the people who represent Fratco. Carriff overall shares Fratco’s value of the family-oriented business model, where employees are people first. This shared value is mirrored by both companies’ commitment not just to the quality of their own products, but to the progression of their respective industries.