What is Trench Drain?

A trench drain is a channel dug into the ground to collect and drain water. Trench drains are very useful in draining water from areas where it is likely to pool, e.g., driveways, parking lots, and pavement or road edges. They act like elongated gutters collecting water and carrying it to where it can safely drain into stormwater mains.

Trench drains are usually installed on compacted grounds where water is likely to pool or flow fast and erode soil on neighboring grounds.  Trench drains are covered with grates made of a strong enough material to withstand the traffic that goes over it.

Trench drain grates are of different weight capacities.  They are classified according to the weight they can support. A grate for a pedestrian walkway will be made of different material, structural strength than a grate covering a trench drain on a warehouse ground.

Trench Drains in Landscaping

Drainage is usually a headache for landscapers. Manicured lawns can get easily disarranged and disheveled by stormwater. Soil erosion is also a big threat to landscaping on sloping ground.  Trench drains break the speed of the draining water and prevent soil from getting carried away.  Trench drains are also helpful in preventing water from flowing into pools and patios.

Trench Drains for Building Protection

Pooled water is very destructive to a building structure in the long term. It seeps into a building’s foundation and weakens it.  Buildings with below-ground basements are at risk of inundation by unexpected flood water.  Apart from flooding, water seepage into the basement floor makes it permanently damp and susceptible to mold growth.

Trench drains are very good at warding off these risks by breaking stormwater and draining it away from the building.  It is very effective in protecting the structural integrity of the building.

Trench Drains for Public Areas

City streets and pavements are prone to flooding because water cannot seep into the asphalted ground. Pooled water in the street is a hazard to both motorists and pedestrians.  A car can slip on the slick ground making braking ineffective. Cars passing by pedestrians will splash this standing water on pedestrians, making walking along the street a very unpleasant experience. Trench drains are installed at the edges of the streets to drain away water.

Trench drains are also useful in draining walkways and pavements in urban areas. Pooled water gets into shoes and also presents a hazard by making the ground slippery. This is more so when stormwater spreads wet soil on the ground, making it slick and very slippery.  Trench drains are used at the edges or across walkways to prevent water pooling.

Trench drains are also used in other public spaces where there are compacted grounds. These include parking lots, gas stations, fire stations, and airport warehouses.  Commercial installations of trench drains include car wash lots, auto garages, and restaurants.

Trench drains are also commonly visible in stadiums and race tracks. They are very useful on turfgrass grounds where draining water would be impossible. Trench drains run across the field, under the turfgrass to drain rainwater as fast as it falls.  Trench drains can also be seen on the edges of Motorcross race tracks.

Types of Trench Drain Grates

Trench grates come in different materials, sizes and structural strength depending on where the trench drain is installed.  Trench drains in residential areas will have grates that can support light traffic, including pedestrians and family cars. A trench drain grate for a warehouse will need the capacity to handle heavily loaded trucks weighing up to 60 tons.  The main weight classifications for trench drain grates are;

  • 5 tons – For light traffic applications in residential areas including pedestrian footpaths and home driveways
  • 5 tons – For residential areas that see heavier traffic up to 4×4 SUVs and trucks
  • 25 tons – For light traffic roads and surfaces with light vehicular traffic
  • 40 tons – For main public roads and areas with high vehicular traffic such as car parks
  • 60 tons – For industrial spaces including warehouse loading bays
  • 90 tons – For heavy-duty load handling areas including ship docks and airports

Concrete trench drains grates for residential areas are made in aesthetically appealing designs. Concrete can be molded into beautiful motifs and designs.  They can be custom designed according to tastes and preferences.  These grates are appropriate for walkways because they are slip-resistant.  Concrete does not rust or corrode.  It also comes with the advantage of cost-effectiveness. It is economical to install on large spaces.

Cast iron trench grates are installed in heavy traffic areas.  Cast iron has high tensile strength meaning it can capably handle very heavy loads.  These grates can be found in warehouse floors, airport hangars, and dockyards.

Trench drains serve a very useful purpose in draining away water and keeping grounds safe for walking and driving.  Installation of aesthetically pleasing trench drain grates adds value to trench drains in both public and residential spaces.