Last week we had a reader email us with a patio drain question. Namely, how could he replace the worn plastic channels of his patio drain, which was separating from the concrete floor?
Curiosity about the drain itself aside, I am more concerned with the installation’s integrity. As you see in the photo, he pulled up some of the drain. No trench drain – not even a plastic patio drain – should pull up so easily.
A patio drain installed in concrete should be “gripping” the concrete. As plastic drains age they tend to separate, letting water between the edges. Ultimately, this deteriorates the concrete and creates troublesome moisture within the patio floor. For more information on sealing damp concrete, this helpful article by The Concrete Network has more detail.
This is why most new models of plastic channel drains feature some sort of rib or ledge. Extra surface area gives more “grip” and lends the drain more longevity it wouldn’t otherwise have.
The NDS Pro Series channel drain product line prides itself on this feature.
I see two solutions to the underlying problem here:
Using a concrete saw, cut a minimum 4” on either side of the drain. Remove the old channels and concrete. Pour concrete around a new patio drain of the same size – but one that has more “grip.”
Without widening the trench, remove the current patio drain. Secure and install a smaller channel drain in concrete. Since the channel is smaller, you may need an outlet adapter to meet the old piping hook-up (e.g., a 2” outlet to 4” pipe adapter).
I hope this gives you a couple ideas about how to fix separating patio drains. Still have questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For purchasing questions, give Trench Drain Systems a call at 610-638-1221.
Mini Channel is a popular 3 inch wide profile channel drain manufactured by NDS. It is produced in Fresno, CA and stored in one of the four company warehouses and multiple distributors across America. It is arguably the most versatile channel drain in its class on the market today. Here’s why:
The extruded, PVC cell-core construction of Mini Channel makes it inexpensive while also sturdy enough for popular residential applications, including pool decks and patios.
The 3″ wide and 3″ depth dimension makes it large enough to handle most patio run-off scenarios while still being small enough to be inconspicuous.
The straight wall construction of Mini Channel makes it compatible for most paver projects, while also being great in poured concrete decks.
The grating selection of Mini Channel is one of the largest in the industry. At last count, this mighty channel boasts of over 30 different grating options (All available at Trench Drain Systems)
Currently, there are four companies that produce grating products for the Mini Channel. The color, material and design options are widespread making this system virtually perfect for any home decking or patio project. Check out the selection below.
Of course, the manufacturer of Mini Channel will have some grates to use with their system. They originally began with a six color plastic slotted grate offering and two brass grates (polished and brushed). After competition in the marketplace proved that decorative grating was a viable option, NDS developed two decorative patterns of their own: “Wave” and “Botanical.” They began offering these two patterns in four colors (plastic) and in cast iron. In all, NDS has 18 different grate selections for the Mini Channel.
The most recent contributor to the Mini Channel grating selection is Trench Drain Systems. Their contribution has been centered on providing simple, time tested, patterns in bronze and powder coated aluminum. Currently, the patterns they offer are slotted and raindrop. The bronze selections are sturdier than the NDS brass grates, having 50% more mass and capable of higher loads. Bronze grates are available with a natural and brushed finish.
The bronze grate selections are sturdier than those offered by NDS for two reasons. First, bronze is structurally a stronger material than brass. And second, the grating offered by TDS have 50% more mass. In comparison to the NDS product, they are heavier, sturdier and capable of higher loads.
Likewise, TDS makes the aluminum grates available in the same two patterns but with the added feature of being powder coated. The color choices are Caramel Beige, Textured White and Granite Grey. The coated aluminum grates are popular around custom pools. The aluminum grate won’t rust, as will the cast iron grates. Also, the aluminum isn’t susceptible to deterioration in UV light and won’t break when the foot of a chair is placed on it. Forget about needing to replace your plastic pool grates every third season. For large projects, custom powder coatings are available for an added cost.
Iron Age Designs popularized the idea of making decorative grates for the standard, off-the-shelf drains like Mini Channel. In fact, their “Minione” cast iron grate was the first of 5 decorative grate patterns made for the Mini Channel system. They also offer their decorative products with a baked on oil finish. Iron Age’s success in capturing a portion of NDS’s trench drain grate market led to the development of the previously mentioned NDS deco grating products.
Though not a newcomer to the drainage market, Jonite USA is new to the Mini Channel band wagon. They manufacture a unique material, called Jonite, which is made from the re-constitution of ground granites and other natural stones. The product is reinforced during the forming process to meet the engineered property requirements of the application. Their Baby Pebble (shown here) and Interlace patterns are available in Desert Beige and Charcoal Black. The grates are made to ride on top of the Mini Channel and are meant to be used in paver applications. The thickness of the grate extends far beyond the top edge of the Mini channel. The paving stone is installed just flush with the top of the channel/grate combination.
As this is a new company to the US Market, they haven’t quite gotten their distributorship established. Nothing is stocked in the United States as of print. Lead time on an order is about 4 months, as it will be coming to you on a boat from Singapore.
If you want more information on the NDS Mini Channel and how it can be designed into your next pool or hardscape project, call Trench Drain Systems at 610-638-1221. You can also send an email request to sales@TrenchDrainSystems.com