Tag Archives: Mini Channel

New “Cathedral” Grating for NDS Mini Channel

Trench Drain Systems expanded its decorative offering for NDS Mini Channel with a new pattern of bronze and aluminum grating. The design, borrowed from Chester Cathedral in Chester, England, (shown below) is heel-proof, subdued and stylish.   It adds a solemn aesthetic to the hardscape and hints of a yearning for the innocence of old.

Chester Cathedral, previously Saint Werburgh’s Benedictine Abbey, was built in the 10th century on the site of a church founded in part by the infamous Lady Godiva.  The grating shown below was probably installed during a major rebuilding that occurred in the 1900s.

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Trench Grating seen at the Chester Cathedral in England

Trench Drain Systems adds the “Cathedral” grate to their decorative grating product line, which also includes a standard slotted grate and an oblong perforated pattern known as “Raindrops.”  All three patterns are available in bronze and aluminum.

TDS-Mini-Channel-Grates-Cathedral

The bronze grates are available in a natural finish or a ground (polished) finish.

The aluminum grates, made from a corrosion resistant alloy, are available in 3 standard powder coatings as well as standard natural finish.   The standard powder coating colors are Sand, Granite and White.  Custom colors are available if your project requires that attention.

buy decorative grates, decorative mini channel, buy patio gratesEach grate lends itself well to drainage applications in elegant outdoor living spaces and swimming pool deck.  With two counter sunk holes allowing the grate to screw into the NDS Mini Channel, these grates are secure for even the most trafficked areas.

For involved drain designs, contact Trench Drain Systems at 610-638-1221 for help with your inquiry.  One of our trained sales professionals will be available to help you with your drainage questions.

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Mini Channel Grating Expose’

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:

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    Mini Channel Extrusion Process

    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.

  2. 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.
  3. The straight wall construction of Mini Channel makes it compatible for most paver projects, while also being great in poured concrete decks.
  4. 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.

NDS

plastic drain grates, 2.75 grates, 3in plastic grates, nds channel grates,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.

Trench Drain Systems

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“Raindrop” (top) and “Slotted”

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.

nds mini channel grates, aluminum mini channel grates, 3in aluminum gratesLikewise, 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

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.

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Jonite USA

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Baby Pebble grate by Jonite USA; Mini Channel by NDS

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

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Mini Channel Plastic Grates are Prettier, Sturdier than Ever!

Mini Channel, the 3” plastic channel drain that has long been one of NDS’ most popular systems, now offers slotted plastic grates with a smoother, more decorative appeal.

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New mold die (top) next to old plastic grate (bottom)

NDS overhauled the design of slotted Mini Channel plastic grates following the release of decorative plastic grating for the 3” channel drain in 2013.

The new design eliminates hard edges and flashing made when using the old injection mold die. The new die gives the grates a smoother look and the Mini Channel system a cleaner appearance.

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Supporting ribs on new slotted grate (top) vs. old grate design (bottom)

The new Mini Channel grate pattern isn’t just for appearance’s sake, either. The new mold lengthens the plastic grate’s supporting ribs, which run perpendicular to the trench’s length (think hamburger, not hot dog). Supporting ribs increase a grate’s longevity under traffic and serve to make the plastic channel grate sturdier. The better a grate’s support structure, the less vehicle stress will affect it.

While the updated look on the Mini Channel won’t increase the channel drain’s overall load bearing capacity, it does make the grate more rigid.

It is important to point out that this improvement didn’t increase the cost of the Mini channel grating.  For an estimate on a Mini Channel system for your patio application, request pricing from one of the specialists at Trench Drain Systems today.

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Mini Channel’s Decorative Grating Options

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. 

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Extruded Channel Drains (Part 1)

Last month, I wrote an article about a plastic channel drain product marketed by NDS under the “Pro Series” brand. This neutral channel product line is manufactured by injection molding. While injection molding is great for making intricate shapes, manufacturing costs associated with injection molding drive product costs up.

There are design and mold costs associated with all formed plastic products.  However, extrusion, as a plastic manufacturing method, is well suited for high volume, simple shape production.  Being a continuous method, the extrusion process is continuously producing products (more units per hour) and drives down unit of the finished part.

Designed in the cross-section shape of the final product, extrusion dies are less complicated and less expensive to make.  When hot plastic is passed through the die in the actual extrusion process, a continuous stream of product is made.  Plastic PVC pipe in manufactured by this process.

In the case of plastic channel drain, this “stream” of molded plastic comes out looking like a plastic roof gutter (see photo below).

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This article will address extruded plastic channel drains. In part 1, I will discuss common features in pool deck drains manufactured by NDS and Stegmeier. I also discuss the NDS Mini Channel product.

NDS Micro Series vs. Stegmeier Deck Drains

The NDS Micro and Stegmeier deck drains are narrow channel drains designed specifically for swimming pool decks. Generally speaking, these extruded PVC channels are 1.5” wide and 3.25“deep. The channels are used to form a perimeter around a swimming pool to create a drain for incidental pool water. All the products are designed to be installed in concrete.  However, channel anchoring techniques during installation differ between the two brands.

Below you can see the NDS Micro Channel (left) compared to Stegmeier’s standard deck drain. Both products are extruded “box” channels. Later, slots are cut into the top surface to form the drain holes. NDS seems to use a small mill to form this slot while Stegmeier appears to use a carbide saw blade. The NDS Micro is actually more narrow (1.25”) than the Stegmeier products (1.625”). The Stegmeier product also has a more rigid feel to it.

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NDS offers its Micro Channel pool deck drain in three different colors. That’s it. Stegmeier’s deck drains come in 4 colors and 4 styles. Two of the styles are like the above “box” channel with the integral drain grate. However, they have two other products that have an awesome “press fit” grate that make channel clean out very easy. Stegmeier’s Frontier Deck Drain has plastic “press fit” grates that come in 4 colors. Stegmeier’s Treadmaster Deck Drain has an aluminum grate for the more commercial swimming pool look. These grates come in tan, white and silver. I’m sorry I don’t have photos of these now. In the interim, check out their website www.stegmeier.com.

NDS Mini Channel – The next “size up” in extruded plastic channels is the NDS Mini Channel. This is a unique product that is both economical and sturdy enough to be used in light traffic areas. The 3” wide and 3” deep channel allows for larger water flow than deck drain while giving the home owner a greater selection of grating options. As with deck drains, the Mini channels are connected with couplings and are available with a broad selection of special junction sections.

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The highlight of the Mini Channel system is with the grating options. You can select from six colors of plastic slotted “light traffic” grates. These come in 3 foot lengths and can be screwed into place.  NDS also offers decorative plastic grates in two patterns and six color options.

If you want a more durable or ornamental product, you can have a slotted brass or cast iron grate. The brass grates are available in polished or brushed finishes and come in one foot lengths. The cast iron grate is available in four patterns (Minione, Interlaken, Carbochon, Locust).

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If you have any questions or comments on these products, please send us an email. You can also visit our website for more information on the NDS product lines.

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