Channel drains are floor-based drains with a thin channel and a grating system placed on the top. They are a specific type of drainage system that prevents pooling of water. Also known as trench drains, drainage channels, or linear channels, this type of drainage provides efficient management of surface water.
Channel drains are particularly effective on non-porous surfaces, and for managing heavy downpours and spillages. You will often find channel drains in car parks, driveways, and other paved or concrete surfaces. They are used for both commercial and residential applications.
Materials used in channel drains
Understanding the materials used in channel drains and grate systems can help you determine the type of channel drain system required for your needs.
Plastic channel drains
Plastic or polypropylene is commonly used in channel drains as the material is lightweight, durable, and economical, making them easy to transport and install. Plastic channels drains are sturdy and resistant to chemicals and is a good choice for residential areas such as gardens, driveways, and landscaping projects.
Concrete channel drains
Concrete channel drains have a higher resistance to chemicals and are stronger, thus offering better structural rigidity.
Various manufacturers have their own reinforced mixed material concrete channel drains, such as those made from polymer concrete.
Polymer concrete is produced from mixing mineral aggregates with a resin binding agent. It has excellent thermal properties, offers good corrosion resistance, and has high structural rigidity, suitable for commercial and urban environments. These drains can also be used in a variety of pavement types, such as concrete, asphalt, and brick pavers.
Glass reinforce concrete (GRC) is another type of mixed concrete that includes fine aggregates, water, alkali resistant glass fibres, and other chemicals. This materially is not commonly used in channel drain systems. Although stronger than regular concrete, GRC is a porous material and not ideal for drainage. Although, sometimes it is used in the manufacture of precast pits.
The material used in the grating needs to be strong with a higher tensile strength to withstand direct load. Channel gratings are made from a range of materials, such as plastic, cast iron, ductile iron, stainless steel, galvanised steel, and aluminium. You may also find decorative and coloured gratings to match and blend with the environment.
Channel drain load classes
Channel drains can be exposed to various types of traffic, from pedestrians and cars to heavy traffic, such as forklifts and trucks, airplanes, and other vehicles. Consideration needs to be given to the weight bearing requirements and the intended use when deciding about channel drains.
The load bearing capacity of channel drains is classified into six standard categories defined in European Standard BS EN 1433:2002 & BS EN 124:2015, which sets out the performance characteristics required to fulfil the loading requirements for various channel type systems when exposed to specific types of traffic.
The six loading classes are:
- A15 – Pedestrian traffic
- B125 – Car park and parking decks
- C250 – Parking areas and roadside
- D400 – Roadways
- E600 – Industrial
- F900 – Industrial and specific areas
Benefits of channel drains
Channel drains are beneficial for many applications. Below are some benefits of installing channel drains.
- Easy to install
- Reduces soil erosion
- Effective in excess water management
- Easy to maintain
- Useful after heavy rainfall
- Customisable to suit applications
Maintenance of channels drains
Leaves, soil, and other debris can cause blockages in the channel drain, which can affect the flow of water.
Fortunately, channels drains are relatively easy to maintain as the grates are designed to be removed with keys, bolts, or other locking systems.
Once the grate is removed, the debris can be removed by hand or flushed away with water. However, if the blockage is too stubborn, it becomes necessary to call a professional.