Trench Drain Systems gets a lot of questions about the 5 inch NDS Pro-Series product line. Our expert, John, went over some standard product features to help you know a bit more about the drains.
NDS designed the channels to join together without couplers. They fit together tongue-and-groove.
That’s already an improvement. Most residential drains need an extra part to fit together, and eliminating that saves a lot of hassle.
But each channel also has these anchoring ribs every 4 inches that really grab the concrete. If you need a smaller piece of drain, just cut at any of these points to get a smaller channel that still interlocks.
Pro Series outlets connect directly, whether it’s this bottom outlet or an end outlet. Everything attaches to 3” S&D and 4 inch S&D fitting SPT.
The shallow version – yes there’s a shallow option – only has an inch and a half outlet for Sch. 40 pipe. There’s no built-in bottom outlet, but the shallow profile DOES have a nifty extension for 3 inch S&D bottom outlets and inch and a half side outlets.
Now. If you choose the Deep or Shallow profile … either way, they connect the same, and they take the same grates.
And those grates have a lot of variety.
5″ Pro Series has a gray perforated grate perfect for pedestrians. With these small openings, you get a trade-off: It doesn’t handle much water but it is ADA compliant and heel-friendly.
This light traffic grate handles almost three times as much water as the perforated grate. It’s also more robust, so you can drive across it. This one’s the most popular option because it comes in 6 colors and is still ADA Compliant.
These two grates are commercial-grade. Both are H-20 load rated, so start thinking tractor-trailers and forklifts.
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
In our previous blog on stainless steel shower drains we touched on the growing trend of rimless showers. At the time, though, stainless steel was a high end solution and out of reach for many homeowners. The economy had consumers cutting back but the needs of the baby boomers were – and are – the same. It’s been a few years, but public interest in shower drainage systems never went away. Actually, I’ve seen the demand for information on shower drains increase.
I’m excited to say that shower drains are finally becoming a standardized product line. Some manufacturers make flanged shower drains from 28” to 70” long with six patterned grates. Others are more select, showing limited lengths on their stainless channels but offering artisanal grating options. True, custom stainless steel shower drains are still around in a big way, but they are becoming less necessary as standardized drains gain popularity. The setback isn’t in finding a drain anymore but in finding which drain works best.
One of the newest concepts within the stainless steel drain market is that drain bodies no longer have to be stainless steel. One manufacturer, Infinity Drain, had the moxie to design a series of linear drain systems for showers that combine aspects of low profile channel drains and full-bodied stainless steel drain systems. Though their drainage systems have been used in patios, pools and driveways for some time, their products make the biggest mark on bathroom and shower drainage, a market previously dominated by expensive, custom stainless steel drains. Infinity Drain has opened a huge market for residential trench drains and trench drain users by offering not only full stainless steel systems but plastic-bodied linear drain systems with stainless steel grates, too.
Infinity Drain has an edge over the competition. Unlike traditional center floor drains, which require a pitch in the floor in four different directions, Infinity Drain products allow the shower floor to be pitched in only one direction. The drain itself can be located anywhere in the shower stall because it features adjustable outlets. Eliminating restrictions on tile size or slab material within a shower, Infinity Drain systems allow for design flexibility.
The basic appeal of Infinity Drain is its simplicity. Take a look at the photos below. The AG Series, identified by its architectural slotted stainless steel grate, and the DG Series (stainless steel perforated grate) are the same system. Infinity Drain’s plastic-bodied AG and DG Series shower drains come in two widths: 38mm (1-1/2”) and 65mm (2-7/8”). While these grates and channels can be combined or cut to create custom lengths, Infinity Drain also acknowledged the current market standard by providing their linear drains in ready-to-assemble kits at set lengths.
Another option is to “hide” the shower drain using the TIF Series (short for Tile in Frame). Like the AG and DG Series, it uses plastic channels that can be combined for any length of drain. Again, the only real difference here is the grating option. Instead of a slotted or perforated grate, the TIF Series uses a stainless steel grate frame that sits inside the channel. The frame supports a tile or solid insert to camouflage the drain. I think the result (shown below) is pretty cool.
To those who prefer a stainless steel channel body but want design flexibility, Infinity Drain offers the AS Series (shown below), a full-bodied stainless drain that can be adapted for custom lengths that only comes in 2-7/8” wide. At only 1” tall, the channel is considered low profile and mostly used in shower areas with thin flooring; the shallow channel body also makes the AS Series grate unique to this product line. The AS grate has tightly grouped slot openings, meaning it has relatively less open surface area for water to drain through.
There is an air of mystery surrounding the FX Series, a 2-3/4” wide stainless steel channel and grate system that comes in complete kits with a center outlet. Designed with fixed lengths, this system can be customized to a specific length or grate pattern by the manufacturer upon request, but this isn’t a do-it-yourself drain. Where would you be if all the bases weren’t covered?
Overall, if you are a homeowner and wanted a shower drain for your home, Infinity Drain has placed your goal within reach. They have taken the stainless steel market to an affordable level so you can obtain the quality of a stainless steel drain without dramatically affecting your pocketbook.
Now that more are more options on the market, I think it’s safe to say we are beginning to enter into a new shower age. With more reasonable options, the average consumer can re-design their bathrooms and showers to incorporate the trench drain and make it more accessible.
Trench Drain Systems is happy to have brought you this article. If you have a question about shower drains or any of the Infinity Drain product lines, send us an email. To discuss your application with one of our sales professionals, call us at 610-638-1221.
National Diversified Sales (NDS) is a plastic trench drain manufacturer based out of California. They have a fantastic selection of plastic trench drain systems that are used in residential and commercial applications. The 3 inch-wide Mini Channel is popular because its honeycomb design and inexpensive price appeals to contractors and homeowners. However, a big part of the drainage system’s popularity comes from the number of complementary grating options offered.
The standard grate offered with the Mini Channel is still a 3 foot long plastic grate, which is offered in six colors (gray, white, green, black, red, and sand). Gray was the go-to color in the past, but customers are now branching out for colors that blend with the hardscaping; sand and white plastic grates, especially, are gaining popularity.
For those with a more discriminating taste, NDS offers two slotted brass grating options. The 1 foot long brass grates come in a satin or polished finish. Besides being simple, shiny, and elegant, they contain chamfered holes for optional screw placement, which helps keep the grates secured in the channel.
Another option available for Mini Channel customers is decorative cast iron grates. These aren’t the ordinary slotted grates of yester-year; the cast iron grating product lines below illustrate the beautiful side of a functional product that was previously considered a necessary – and ugly – evil by many homeowners. (Note: these grates are shown with a baked-on oil finish unless otherwise specified but come standard in an unfinished cast iron.)
Currently, five styles of cast iron grates work with NDS’ Mini Channel system: the Acanthus, Interlaken, Carbochon, Locust and the Minnione. There are a few basic differences between these four Mini Channel grates. The Interlaken is an intricate geometrical pattern while the Minnione has a flowing design. The Locust pattern evokes the feel of leaves blowing in the wind. Meanwhile, Carbochon’s open area is only accentuated by its bold pattern.
Style aside, the most noteworthy difference in the grates is length. The Interlaken (11″ long) is an inch shorter than the Minnione and Locust grates (12″ long). The Carbochon (14” long) outdoes all three grates by inches. I think the length of the grates is important because it determines what you can do with the design of the run. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked during the planning stage and leads to extra work later on.
Another difference in the grates is how they fit into the Mini Channel. Take a look at the photo above. Minnione, the thinnest grate, does not rest in the channel with the same depth that Interlaken, Locust and Carbochon do. While the other grates are cast with tongues that fit snugly into the Mini Channel’s patented “flying buttress” lip, one gets the feeling that the Minnione sits on top of the drain rather than resting inside it.
The foundry uses cast iron as the standard material when making these decorative grates but also manufactures cast brass, bronze and aluminum grating for an additional cost. We should note that cast iron grates are uncoated (raw) and will form a rust coating over time. The rusting process, when reproduced artificially to save time, is called a baked-on oil finish. I find the resulting patina charming.
If your application doesn’t support this view, though, consider painting with an epoxy or powder coating. The powder coating process smoothes out the natural texture of the cast iron grates, giving them a softer, less metallic look. You can really feel the difference between the painted and baked-on oil finishes; the process encased these grates in paint rather than changing their outer layers.
Let me just demonstrate the difference between the two available finishes in another way. Look at the Interlaken grates shown below: in terms of color, they are very similar. But, if you look closer you can see the different shine, the thickly coated surface of the grate on the right. It’s been powder coated. The grate on the left, though, has a baked-on oil finish. I’ll leave you to decide which one you like better. For additional information on cast iron grating finishes, visit our “Cast Iron Finishing Options” blog.
Cost is all in a person’s perspective, especially when talking about trench drain products. A simple plastic grate that comes in six basic colors is available for a very low price per foot. NDS’ brass grate, a beautiful, no-hassle solution for those still worried about rust or decor, is the most expensive. The cast iron grates, which add style and variety, come for the more moderate price that falls somewhere in between and have beautiful finish options. They are the true extra mile, the art to efficiency, and are the balance if a cost-efficient and stylish grate is desired.
For cut sheets and literature on the products discussed here, download the available drawings embedded throughout the article. If you’d like a quote on a Mini Channel drain system or decorative cast iron grating, contact Trench Drain Systems (TDS) at 610-638-1221 or send an email.
Every so often an ADP (American Drainage Products) plastic grate is mistaken for NDS Spee-D Channel. There is a good reason for that. ADP was a company based out of Columbus, Ohio who carried a product line that overlapped with those offered by NDS (National Diversified Sales). In 1997, NDS purchased ADP and incorporated their product line into the NDS offering. The redundant products have been supported by NDS over the years but are being phased out. That is the case for the ADP 2” and 4” channel drains. Replacement components, such as plastic grates, and some channels are still sold by NDS, though they are difficult to locate.
ADP 2” Channel Grate – As first glance, the 2” ADP grate can be mistaken for an NDS channel grate because it is made in the same style as the NDS Mini Channel. The thin, slotted plastic grates come in an assortment of colors (shown below). The slots have a center rib running down the length of the grate, which makes it more structurally sound and gives it the “double slotted” look.
Distinguishing features between the two grates can be seen in the photos shown below. While the Mini Channel grate (left) is 2.75” wide and 36” long, the ADP Channel grate (right) is 2” wide and only 24” in length. Another subtle difference between the two can be seen in the screw hole locations. The longer Mini channel grate only has four locations screw holes used to attach the grate to the channel while the 2” ADP grate has six screw holes.
Grates are not the only replacement component available for the 2” channel system. End caps, channel couplers and channel supports can also be purchased for this system. Channels are available in 4 foot lengths but are not being advertized because NDS is trying to phase out this product line. If you like this product, you’d better hurry before it is gone forever.
ADP 4” Channel Grate – For the longest time, I incorrectly thought that the ADP 4” channel was a Spee-D Channel system. The two products are so similar, it can fool you. I was first introduced to the ADP 4” channel when I was replacing a trench drain in a customer’s driveway. The 4” channel drain had been installed in the drive without the proper support by the previous contractor and failed under use. When I removed the channel, I recall thinking that this must have been an older version of Spee-D channel because it had a few style differences yet still looked identical to the Spee-D Channel.
Many similarities exist between the Spee-D and ADP 4” systems. Channels are extruded gray PVC plastic and supplied in 10 foot lengths. The 4” wide grates are 24” long and are slotted with a similar slot design. But upon closer evaluation, the Spee-D grate (left) is about 1/8” narrower than the ADP 4” grate. In addition, the ADP grate (right) has slots with squared corners and screw holes that are directly opposite of each other.
Many more differences are apparent when you compare the bottom side of these grates. The Spee-D grate has a thicker, shorter rib section which defines the slot. The ADP 4” grate has thin, deeply protruding rib sections. These thin ribs, while making the grate more rigid, may also make the grate more brittle and easier to crack during aging. Another difference between these two grates can be seen in the lips that fit into the channel: the Spee-D grate has an elongated edging while the ADP product has a V-notch.
There are other grate options for the ADP 4” wide grate. One really interesting option is the flanged grating (shown on the top in the photo above). The purpose of the flange was to cover up or mask the plastic channel edging so there would not be a color mismatch in the trench drain after installation. I suspect, however, that the edging tended to fatigue and break under use. Maybe this is why NDS hasn’t used this idea in their existing product lines.
The ADP 4” grates of both styles are available in four colors: black, sand, green and gray. The flanged 4” wide grate is also available in the color “brick”. End caps, outlets, couplers and channel supports are also available for this system. While NDS no longer advertises these channels, they are available (for now).