Narrow Drains with Wide Appeal

Narrow Drains with Wide Appeal Blog Cover Photo

Problem: You are planning an outdoor living space which includes a kitchen, spa and pool. You will need a deck drain to help control the rainwater. However, the products you’ve seen in the marketplace don’t match the aesthetic of your outdoor setting. The popular drains commonly used by contractors are narrow and plastic.

Narrow deck drains, in the 2-to-3-inch width size range, are well suited for the volume of water associated with small drainage projects. Though narrow, these drains can be effective at evacuating surface water, but that requires sufficient bottom outlets (1 per each 10 – 15 LF), an underlying plumbing network and removable grating (or grill) allowing the drain channel to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Poor installation practices of the past have led to the misconception that this size drain is inadequate. Not so.

Maybe, a bigger obstacle is the lack of grating options available for the project. The size of the channel works, but how will that plastic grate look next to your travertine deck tile? A discerning customer might look for options. So, what small drains are available which have a big aesthetic? Let’s look at a few products that might be of interest for your outdoor project. Below are 4 examples which have promise.

    1. Slim Channel (2.25” wide)– The slim channel is the newest channel drain by NDS. It has a 2” wide channel width and an easy to place bottom outlet adapter. Channels are available in 6 and 10 foot lengths. Corner options (45 and 90 degree) are available. When in place, the grating cover the top edge of the channel and easily snap into the channel recesses. Though plastic grates come in three patterns and three colors, bronze and aluminum tops are available from Trench Drain Systems. This is the slimmest drain on the market with bronze grating options. Slim Channel Specifications
      NDS Slim Channel Bronze and Aluminum Grates
      NDS Slim Channel with Bronze and Aluminum Grates
    2. Zurn Z880 (2.5” wide)
      ZURN P880-SWG Wedge Wire
      ZURN P880 Channel with Wedge Wire Grate

      The Z880 has been a standard deck drain for many years now. ZURN is a reputable company which supplies top quality product. The Perma-Trench Z880 in no exception. The HDPE (high-density polyethylene) thick-walled construction and the tongue and groove channel connection give this product a sturdy appearance. Bottom outlets and end caps attach with screws. Plastic deco grating is available in five colors. For those who prefer metal deco grating, bronze and stainless steel options are available. For a sleek linear look, aluminum and stainless steel wedge wire grating is also an option. When installed, the ¼” wide plastic channel edge is visible. So, pick your channel color to match your tile or paving stone. ZURN Z880 Specifications

    3. MAX Mini (3.0” wide)
      MAX Mini with Bronze Age Pedreda Brushed Finish Grate
      MAX Mini with Bronze Age Pedreda Grate

      Trench Drain Systems developed the MAX Mini product line with the express purpose of improving the aesthetics and selection of drain options for pool and outdoor living space projects. Based on the time-tested NDS Mini Channel, the MAX Mini blends custom channel design with select metal decorative grating options. Each drain is engineered to meet the project dimensions and outlet placement specifications. Engineered drawings are supplied with each drain. The MAX Mini kits shipped complete offering easy installation with very little on-site assembly. MAX Mini Specifications

Channel sections are 2.75” wide internally and are available in two colors (gray and sand). Exposed channel edges are securely overlaid in corrosion resistant metal options: polished stainless steel, oil rubbed bonze and bronze veneer. There are currently 25 combinations available when factoring in all of the grate styles, edging options and two channel colors. Select from ductile iron with Baked on Oil Finish that has a chocolate hue, Bronze deco that is available in natural or a brushed with a polished finish as well as stainless steel. MAX Mini offers one of the largest flow capacities and broadest grating options in the deck drain world. MAX Mini Product Literature

TDS Bronze Age Grates family with MAX Mini and Iron Age Grates

Trench Drain Systems is a long-standing partner with NDS and their drainage product offerings. New and exciting grating options continue to be developed and introduced by TDS to compliment the NDS Mini Channel and Slim Channel systems. The experts at TDS can help you find the right drains to fit your plan and budget. Contact us to request a quote by calling 610-638-1221. For further information on drainage solutions visit or

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