Hi, this is John with trench drain systems today we’re here to talk about the Zurn Z884 system.
This handy four-inch system is good for residential and small commercial applications such as pools, driveways and kitchens. The channel has design features built right into it which help with installations such as the rebar clips on the sides.
Unlike many systems this size this channel offers an inside lip for the grate to rest on. This design element – taken from commercial systems – really improves the system’s durability.
The channels go together easy with the tongue and groove connection. This makes for easy installation down your channel run. Once the channels are together, use their screw holes to connect them together permanently.
At the beginning or end of your run you can put an end cap with the screws provided. Your run can also end with a two inch outlet – also put on with screws. There’s also a bottom outlet option which can be placed in the center of the channel or at the end, and this is also attached with screws.
As far as grating options go, for the Z884 system we have a cast iron slotted grate this is good for residential systems when the system is properly installed in concrete. In addition to cast iron grates we also have stainless steel and galvanized grating. These are available in slotted or you can also get them in a heel proof perforated version.
As far as plastic rating goes Zurn offers a heel-proof transverse slotted grate in seven different colors: there’s a standard which is light gray, there’s also dark grey, white, tea and cream, brown, black and green. So for your next drainage project consider the Zurn Z884 system.
Ever since the rise of plastic trench drains, there have been three big misconceptions about plastic driveway drains.
they’re not traffic rated (FALSE)
they’re not sloped (FALSE)
they’re not decorative (FALSE)
Popular plastic channel drains only provide surface level view of your options. Based on a trip to their local chain store, a homeowner would expect a gray plastic Spee-D Channel. But you can do better with your driveway drain.
Pre-Sloped Driveway Drains
Pre-sloped trench drains aren’t a necessity, but they do make things easier. A trench drain with a built in grade drains water faster than non-sloped drains, meaning less sediment build up inside the trench drain.
I’d recommend one of two big names in plastic trench drains for a residential driveway project:
NDS Dura Slope Driveway Drains
NDS Dura Slope is a 6” commercial grade system made from HDPE (high density polyethylene). It comes in 4ft sections that combine to create longer runs of sloped drain. At .7% slope, Dura Slope ranks among the highest flow rates of any system its size.
You can also use outlet options to adjust Dura Slope’s layout. Though 4” end outlets are most common, you can build in a 4” bottom outlet. Catch basins with trash baskets create a handy water reservoir during big storms that also prevents leafy debris from getting past the drain into the piping below.
And Dura Slope is built for traffic right down to the grates. The system’s “basic” grate option is a light traffic plastic grate perfect for cars, SUVs and light trucks. From there you’ll be able to upgrade to iron grates, which are rated for more commercial traffic such as delivery vans and trash trucks.
Storing tractors or fork trucks in your garage? You may want to consider frames for your Dura Slope system.
Zurn Z886 Driveway System
Zurn’s HDPE Z886 is a popular name in 6” commercial systems, which doesn’t make it better so much as a brand to be reckoned with. With a 4” ID width, it has roughly the same water capacity as the competition. Capacity aside, Z886’s .75% slope actually offers the most slope of any system its size.
The big perk of using Z886 for driveways comes on bigger projects. Z886 channels are two meters (80”) long, meaning a faster installation and fewer joints. Fewer joints mean less chance of the drain going crooked or needing to be re-leveled during installation.
The area where Z886 excels is grating options. Though they don’t have traffic rated plastic grates, Zurn does offer ductile iron, fiberglass and stainless steel in traffic-rated varieties. The price and material can get excessive for a simple residential project, but luckily Z886’s ductile iron grate is a good standard to fall back on. Don’t let the options get to your head.
Non-sloped Driveway Drains
Slope isn’t a given, and you’re not likely to see it in drains smaller than 6” wide. Lest we get nervous about effective drainage, however, it is worth reviewing a principle: water always seeks its own level. If there is a lower place where water can go, it will find its way there. Don’t agonize over it.
Non-sloping drains will generally be smaller than 6” and have fewer options. For example, don’t expect catch basins.
Polylok for Driveways
Polylok is surprisingly heavy duty for a 5” plastic drain that works in driveways. Its sturdy channel walls enable it to handle H-20 wheel loads, but you’ll have to install the drain in concrete to see the benefits. Luckily, the system is designed for easy assembly and quick concrete installation.
Homeowners, whether installing Polylok in a driveway or a patio, enjoy Polylok’s layout flexibility. The system offers T-intersections and corner segments without the special fabricating you’d need with pre-sloped systems like Z886 and Dura Slope.
Notably, Polylok’s color options extend to the channel itself. Your choice of black, gray, sand or green grates come with matching drain body, eliminating pesky edge lines so common in trench drains. And, if you need a ductile iron grate, it’s easy to maintain style by pairing the grate with a black channel.
Pro-Series 5 in Driveways
The 5” Pro-Series by NDS combines a solid channel construction with the bells and whistles of a bigger system. Pro-Series is a commercial system disguised by its HDPE composition. But Pro-Series 5 has a lot going for it.
For starters, the channel drain comes in shallow (2-5/8”) and deep (4-3/4”) varieties. Both include grooves every 4 inches in case you need to cut the system to a shorter-than-standard lengths. While shallow channel drains don’t allow you to design corners, they do offer side outlets that you can’t get with deeper channels. Pro-Series’ deeper channels, meanwhile, offer 90- and 45- elbows. They also include radius couplers, allowing the system to “bend” by six degrees.
Both channel profiles accept the same grates, which range from pedestrian-only perforated to galvanized steel slotted and H-20 rated iron grates. The most common grate for residential driveways, however, is a light traffic slotted grate (available in six colors) that handles up to 72 gallons per minute… per foot.
Plastic trench drains are giving traditional drains serious competition in driveway applications. But don’t make the mistake of buying from a chain hardware store expecting to get the strength or full range of design available on the market.
The Pro Series channel has a grating recess that is supported by concrete rather than the plastic channel itself.
MEArin 100 is actually a fiber-reinforced plastic system, but it is popular on residential projects because of its affordability and decorative grating options.
At 5.3” wide, MEArin 100 has the chops to take on more commercial systems. Each fiberglass channels comes with a solid construction and provides a pre-marked recess for bottom outlets.
Unlike many pre-sloped drains, MEArin 100 also offers affordable, pre-fabricated corners to make installation in large driveway pads easier.
You can choose from 20 grating options, Class A (pedestrian only) to Class C. Ductile iron and galvanized steel grates will work in driveways and garages.
Here’s a quick reference list of the top plastic driveway drains available:
NDS Dura Slope
NDS 5” Pro Series
MEA’s MEArin 100
Have a driveway related question? Give us a call at 610-638-1221 to discuss your driveway drain project. Or, send in photos and questions to email@example.com.
There are many plastic trench drain manufacturers in the marketplace. By far, the top two manufacturers are Zurn Industries and National Diversified Sales (NDS). Zurn is a world class plumbing supply manufacturer headquartered in Erie, PA. One of the four business grouping Zurn has is Drainage Products. The Perma-Trench products represent the plastic trench drain component of their drainage products offering. NDS is a manufacturer of plastic components used in storm water management, irrigation, water flow control and landscape water and root management. They are headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA.
These two very different companies find an overlapping marketplace with their pre-sloped, high density polyethylene product lines. For NDS, their Dura Slope product line was an outgrowth of their landscape drainage product line development. This product was meant to be a high performing drainage product used in larger landscape and residential projects.
The Zurn Perma-Trench products (all high density polyethylene) were developed as an economical alternative to polymer concrete trench drain for industrial drainage applications. The work horse of the Zurn trench drain product line is their 4” wide channel call Z886. Both Dura Slope and Z886 have similarities in channel composition and drainage capabilities. However, each has strengths which should be considered when choosing a product for a particular application.
Dimensional Comparison – Above is a photo comparing the Zurn Z886 and Dura Slope channel bodies as received from our supplier. At first glance, the main difference you see when comparing two is the length. The Zurn product is 2 meters (80”) in length while Dura Slope is 4 feet (48”). Next, you will notice that the Dura Slope has a black plastic cover attached with locking devices. The Zurn channel has 4 metal “spreading bars” which are used to keep the channel walls from flexing during installation. Dura Slope’s black cover helps to prevent channel compression during concrete placement, but also works to keep channel free from debris during drain installation. As a side benefit, the locking devices come free with the Dura Slope channel.
The channel width, slope and colour are relatively similar between these two products. And likewise, both products can achieve continual slopes of 100 feet (96 in the case of Dura Slope) and have the deepest channel section being 12”. Look at the close up photo comparing the two below.
Flow Data Comparison – The flow data reported on the Zurn product is 20-25% higher than that reported on similar invert depth Dura Slope channels. This didn’t seem reasonable since both channels are so similar. To investigate the disparity, I compared Z886 and Dura Slope channels of similar depth. (See Photo Above)
Flow rate is a function of the cross-sectional area of the channel, the channel slope and the channel material. As the material in each is HDPE, we can ignore this as a factor of the flow difference seen. The cross sectional area of each channel seemed to be similar. Z886 is a full 4” wide with a rounded section at the bottom. Dura Slope has a top width of 4.5”, but, then goes into a taper to the rounded bottom which has a 4” diameter. Maybe, Zurn has slightly more area…maybe. Could the extra 0.05% slope of the Z886 explain the 20% greater flow data? I don’t think so.
Upon closer analysis, I learned that Zurn’s technical data defines the invert depth of a channel to be the distance between the top of the grate and the lowest point in the channel. Dura Slope, on the other hand, measures the invert depth as the distance from the bottom of the grate to the lowest channel point. The resulting 0.75” difference has an effect on the overall cross-sectional area calculation, and in turn, affects the flow calculation. In essence, Zurn measures flow of the channel without a grate while Dura Slope recognizes that you will have a grate in the trench while it is in full flow. When each company’s data is compared after adjusting for this depth difference, Zurn shows only an 8% higher flow rate than Dura Slope.
Channel Feature Comparisons – Other channel features worth noting include built in rebar clips and anchors, built-in bottom outlets, channel connections and end outlets. Both Zurn and Dura Slope products have rebar clips built into the channel body. (See above.) Rebar clips are used to help suspend the channel within an excavated trench during installation. Rebar sections are generally hammered into the ground. The purpose of the rebar clip is to attach the channel to the embedded rebar. The rebar clip designs for the Z886 and Dura Slope channels are different but equally functional. Z886 has a side clipping design while Dura Slope has a clip opening that is perpendicular to the channel. Both clips have tie wire holes. The Z886 wire tie hole is in the outer most side of the clip.
Rebar clips are additionally helpful to stabilize and secure the channel after it has been set in concrete. One complaint I’ve heard about plastic trench drain channels (as opposed to polymer concrete) is that, over time, there is a tendency for the channels to separate from the hardened concrete, leaving a gap that can fill with debris and pinching the channel opening. In comparison to polymer concrete channels, this is probably a true statement, though maybe a little misleading. To help secure the channel firmly into the concrete and minimize this separation, Zurn has designed additional anchor posts at each rib point of the channel. Dura Slope doesn’t have additional anchors at their rib points. However, the HDPE used to make the Dura Slope product seems to be more rigid, maybe because of added fillers used in the plastic.
A feature of every Dura Slope channel is a built-in bottom outlet. This gives the contractor flexibility in deciding the drainage points of a long run or the convenience of not having to order a separate adapter if a bottom outlet is required. To use the bottom outlet, a 4” diameter hole bit is used to drill out an opening in the channel within the bottom outlet. Thereafter, a 4” schedule 40 pipe hub or Sch. 40 hub insert (DS-126) can be attached.
Zurn’s Z886 bottom outlet design also gives you a degree of flexibility. The Z886 doesn’t have a built-in bottom outlet with each channel. However, separate bottom outlets are available in 2”, 3”, 4” and 6” diameters. These can be installed anywhere along the channel bottom which allow for more complex drainage configurations.
Both Z886 and Dura Slope have tongue and groove joint connections. They allow for quick and easy installation. Dura Slope has a trademarked DuraLoc TM design which snaps to lock the channels together once the tongue has been properly inserted into the groove. I am impressed to see how quickly these go together and how straight the channels remain after connection.
The Zurn tongue and groove joint connection slides together easy enough. But, it just isn’t as user-friendly as the Dura Slope product. To secure the joints into place, you are required to place a screw at each side of the joint so you can mechanically connect the channels.
One of the selling points for the Z886 channel in Zurn literature is the fast installation times due to the tongue and groove connection and the 80” channel lengths. The longer channel lengths are thought to reduce the hassle of connecting channel (which is what takes time in setting drain). When compared to traditional polymer concrete systems, this may be true.
However, you cannot make the same inference when comparing Dura Slope and Z886. I feel the quick locking channel design feature of Dura Slope overshadows any installation advantage that the Z886 product may have despite the longer channel size. Dura Slope is just easier and quicker to assemble.
While I’m on the soap box commenting about channel length, I want to point out that long channel lengths are best when you have larger, longer channel runs. For smaller projects, you may not have need for a full 80” section. For common trench drain applications, such as a 12 ft or 16 ft wide driveway drain, a channel with a 4 foot length would be optimal. If an 80” channel was to be used on this project, a portion of the channel would have to be cut and discarded. As the project becomes larger in scope, a certain amount of flexibility is inherited. Lengths can be changed easier in the field to accommodate the channel increment. And with larger projects, if a channel is to be cut and discarded, it is a much smaller percent of the project cost than it would be in a small residential project. This is not to infer that smaller length channels shouldn’t be used in larger drainage projects. Smaller channels can be quicker to install, and they are easier to store.
One feature that aids Z886 in large drainage projects is its extender panels. These are wall panels that can be added to a channel to allow the drain to be installed at greater depths or with longer continual sloping runs. Dura Slope doesn’t offer this feature.
A final feature to compare between these two systems are end caps or end outlets. Both products have caps and outlets made from HDPE, which makes it easy to trim and drill out in the field using standard power tools. Both have a design that allows the outlet to attach by inserting into a channel groove and the end cap (shallow end) to be attached with screws. Zurn’s outlets are supplied with screws, while Dura Slope requires you to purchase these separately. There will be an excess portion of the cap which needs to be removed, with both systems, to make the cap level with grade. Dura Slope end cap design shows a depth scale that corresponds with the channel you are using as the last channel to make trimming easier. Zurn’s end cap design has a saddle that rests within the channel to make screw mounting easier during installation.
To recap, below is a quick comparison of the Z886 and Dura Slope with respect to channel features and geometry.
Parting Comments – If we are to look solely at the merits of each channel, I would say that Dura Slope has more to offer both home owners and contractors. The Dura Slope was designed to be easy to handle, quicker to install, with minimal assembly required. I personally like the shorter channel lengths because they fit on my shelves and are much easier to ship to my customers. I feel the plastic used to make the Dura Slope is stiffer than that used in Z886, which leads to straighter channel installations and less channel-concrete separation.
Having said that, I acknowledge that the Z886 channel has advantages over Dura Slope in applications where long, continuous slopes are required. By using extender panels, runs as long as 300 feet of continual sloping drain are achievable. In addition, Z886 has a wider variety of outlet diameter options which can help in more complex drainage projects. This is one of the reasons why you will see Zurn Z886 specified on big jobs more often than you will see Dura Slope.
The channel component of any trench drain is important when considering the engineering properties and installation. But this is just half of trench drain. The portion of the drain that people see after installation is the grate. Increasingly, the channel grating is becoming the focal point of the trench drain selection process. Aesthetics, ADA compliance, load capability and corrosion resistance are all properties to consider when selecting a trench drain grate. Part 2 of this report will continue the discussion on Zurn’s Z886 and NDS Dura Slope by focusing on trench drain grate options available from each.
Trench Drain Systems is a company which specializes in providing quick solutions to drainage problems. For more information about the trench drain products discussed in this article, visit the website or call 610-638-1221 for immediate assistance.
The Z880 Perma Trench is one of Zurn’s most popular residential trench drain product lines. Its name may sound intimidating, but there’s nothing to fear from this plastic drain. It was designed for pools, patios and landscape drainage much like its competitor, the NDS Mini Channel. Both the NDS Mini Channel and the Z880 are 3” wide at the top, and both systems have similar features that give each other a run for the money.
Channel Body Differences
The difference between the two systems really starts with the channel bodies. Take a look at the photo above.
The Mini Channel (shown left) has a gray, honeycombed channel design meant to distribute load stress and prevent the system from collapsing. This design extends to the grate supports, which hang out from the channel walls in an upside down flying buttress.
You can see that the Zurn Z880 (shown right) has a thicker, solid channel body. It is composed of high density polyethylene (HDPE), the same material as the Zurn Z886 or NDS Dura Slope commercial-grade trench drain systems. The inherent durability of the channel body gives some “street cred” to this little patio drain.
The Z880 channel body also has “ribs” extending from the outer walls that give the channel extra surface area at vital contact points to the surrounding concrete. The ribs help “grab” the concrete, anchoring the system in place and providing additional strength. The channel will not separate from the concrete once installed. The ribs also add flexibility to the design of the system because they serve as cutoff points in the drain that can still connect to other modular channels or outlets. I’d estimate the cutoffs are every foot.
The walls of the Mini Channel are made of smooth PVC. The absence of ribbing is advantageous when installing in a paver patio but poses a problem in the long run if you want to install it in concrete. Without ribbing to act as anchoring points, the drain body can begin to separate from the concrete years after installation. In addition, water and dirt may begin to flow between the concrete-channel interface, causing the channel to pinch. To prevent this pinching effect and the subsequent weakening of the channel wall, make certain that the Mini channel grates are always securely fastened down.
Grating Option Comparison
While Mini Channel grates come in a standard slotted pattern, the Z880 grates (shown below) have a more decorative pattern that gives them a classier appearance. The thicker grate also holds more weight, providing more structural integrity than thinner Mini Channel grates, but ultimately has less open area for water to drain.
The Z880 and Mini Channel systems each offer six color options which are the same with one exception. The Z880 offers a sky blue grate while the Mini Channel offers a forest green grate.
If you choose the Z880 system, you’ll be surprised to see that the channel matches the grates’ color. Unlike pool drains by other suppliers, the Zurn Z880 eliminates this “edge line of a different color” that borders the grating. This gives the system an overall nicer appearance.
Grates for the Z880 system clip into place. Each grate has several “tongues” on its sides that snap into the channel grooves. It’s easier than buying grate screws and lock downs, won’t create weak points in the channel structure and can be popped out of place easier for cleaning.
Iron Age Grating Options – Cast iron decorative grating is available for both drainage systems. Created by Iron Age Designs, the grates are both beautiful and efficient.
The Mini Channel has four decorative patterns that fit the system, three of which are shown below: Minnione, Carbochon and Interlaken. Each grate is slightly different in terms of thickness and how it sits inside the channel. Iron Age cast iron grates make NO accommodations for screws needed to lock down the grate.
So far there is only one cast iron grate option offered by Iron Age for the Zurn Z880 pool drain. What amazes me about the pattern is that it’s a Regular Joe. No, really, it is. I’ve never found out who was behind it, but somewhere along the lines the decorative option for the Z880 drain became a cast iron slotted grate. Of course, it looks entirely more sophisticated than a standard slotted grate, but it’s something I’ve never stopped being amused about.
One thing that is not amusing about the Regular Joe grate for the Z880 is the placement of its “tongues.” In the picture above, you can see the inconsistency between the plastic Zurn grate and the Iron Age Designs option. The lockdown tongue on the cast iron grate is placed too high, which means it probably won’t secure into the channel properly.
I don’t want to sell the Z880 drain short, though. Zurn does offer four other decorative options, including a bronze decorative grate, for homeowners who want to upgrade from plastic without buying the Iron Age grate.
Whereas, the Mini channel may wear and tear more quickly (especially in regions of freeze-thaw) because of the cellular channel design, the Z880’s solid body design and anchoring points makes it a more rugged product over the long haul. The Mini Channel is a sleeker, less expensive channel drain system that works well when used with pavers. The Z880 is a sturdier system designed for concrete installation. These two systems are so similar, yet they are worlds apart.