Proper drainage not only protects your property but also improves its value. Poorly drained facilities are difficult to manage, and you will also have problems with the landscaping. The last thing you want on your property is standing water that is both a health hazard and an eyesore.

Channel drains, also known as trench drains, have emerged as the most reliable drainage systems for all types of properties and areas. From roads, pedestrian pathways, residential compounds, docks and airports, mall driveways to car parks, channel drains prevent flooding caused by surface and rainwater.

There are different types of channel drains on the market and choosing the best can become a difficult task. This post explores different channel drains, their features, advantages, and factors to consider when shopping for a trench drain.

How a Channel Drain System Works

A channel drain consists of a channel and a removable grate. It works through gravity to drain water away from one selected area. These channels are positioned in areas where surface water or rainwater will most likely flow. The drains funnel away excess water run-off from heavy rainfall or other spillages but still remain aesthetically attractive.

By collecting and draining water away, this type of drain keeps areas around it dry and protects structural problems. It is also great for preventing flooding, damage caused by spillages and damage to landscaping.

Trench drain grates play a crucial role in facilitating water flow into the drain and also supporting the weight of people or vehicle traffic above it. For a trench drain to work, the removable drain grate should be robust, sturdy, and tough to withstand the impact of traffic passing over it.

Types of Channel Drain: Materials

As people continue settling in new areas, the demand for proper drainage has continued growing. Some of these areas are sloping while others are flat. The types of contrition also vary, leading to the manufacture of unique drainage systems on the market.

Some of the channel drain systems you can choose from include:

  • Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Concrete
  • Polymer concrete
  • Metal (for wet rooms, showers)

These drains are ideal for different applications, including car parks, driveways and pathways, swimming pools and sports areas, patios and conservatories, gardens that include water features, petrol station forecourts, and paved public spaces.

Types of Channel Drain: Load Classification

You can choose channel drains based on the load they can support. For instance, some are light-duty and can work for pedestrian areas.

Other drains can support domestic driveway traffic while still others can support the heaviest traffic at ports, docks, and airports.

Types of Channel Drain: Grating Material

Channel drain systems also have specific grating, and you can choose from:

  • Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Ductile iron
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Concrete/stone
  • Stainless ductile
  • Galvanized steel
  • Cast iron

You can choose different designs of trench grating to suit your unique drainage and aesthetic needs. Such designs include perforated grating, slotted drains, heel guard, permeable, solid, and decorative grating.

How to choose the Right Trench Drain

Picking one trench drain from all these options is an overwhelming task. Some of the factors to help overcome the channel drain confusion include:

Purpose of the Drain

Always assess the needs of the drain to help you make the right choice. You should consider the type of landscape, volumes of water expected, the weight of the traffic, and other such factors. You should also consider the slope of the surface where the channel drain will go. This helps you make a solid decision.

Compare Type of Drain Materials

Consider aspects of trench drain materials, including:

  • Compressive strength: Cast iron is the best
  • Tensile strength: Steel, ductile iron, FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) rank high.
  • Flexural strength: Steel, FRP, and GFRPC (Glass fiber reinforced polymer concrete) are the best.
  • Impact resistance: Steel typically has high impact resistance
  • Water absorption / freeze-thaw: Non-porous materials such as steel, cast iron, FRP, polymer concrete are perfect.
  • Thermal expansion: Avoid thermal plastics in areas where you want to drain high-temperature liquids. FRP, Polymer concrete, GFRPC, and epoxies aren’t affected by heat.
  • Fire resistance: Cast and ductile iron, concrete, and steel are not flammable.
  • Abrasion resistance: Cast and ductile iron and steel perform bets here.
  • Chemical resistance: FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic), polythene, and GFRPC (Glass fiber reinforced polymer concrete) have the highest resistance to chemicals.
  • UV resistance: Look for certification to ensure the material is UV stable.


The best trench drain should have an extended lifespan. Look for a durable material that won’t deteriorate due to water exposure or other liquids. This should also apply if you want to find the best trench grates out there.

Choice of Drain Grates

Choose the best trench grates to protect the drain, support traffic over the drain, and ensure the drainage system works. Look for grates with UV inhibitors for increased lifespan and frames or rails for enhanced support to the grates.

Aesthetics is also an important consideration when choosing grates. Go for trench grates that enhance the aesthetics of your property in design and color.

Ease of Installation

You should choose a trench drain that’s easy to install. This saves you time and money.

Visual Appeal

You should consider a channel drain that’s not only functional but also aesthetically appealing. This improves curb appeal to your property.

Final Thoughts

Good drainage is one of the most important considerations in any construction. Whether you want to build a home, commercial, or industrial facility, you need to choose the best drain system. Using these tips, you can now channel drain to suit any property’s drainage needs.


Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at