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Channel Drainage: Explained

channel drainage in walkway 

Channel drainage, also known as linear drainage, is a popular choice because it is simple to design and install. It is also a cheaper option for surface water drainage than a typical point water drainage system and aesthetically, can be discreet, or a design statement – the choice is yours. 

Channel drains typically consist of a channel and a removable grate. You may also need sumps, end caps and other accessories.


Types of channel drains

  • Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Concrete
  • Polymer concrete
  • Metal (a good choice for wet rooms, showers etc.)


Types of Grate

  • Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Ductile iron
  • Cast iron
  • Stainless steel
  • Stainless ductile
  • Galvanised steel
  • Aluminium
  • Concrete/stone

These grates can be:

  • Heel guard (to prevent shoe heels from becoming stuck in the grate)
  • Perforated
  • Slotted
  • Decorative
  • Solid
  • Permeable

One other type of channel drain is the slot drain. This is the most discrete form of channel drain, great for paved over areas.


Purpose of Channel Drainage


By using a channel rather than a mosaic of strategic point drains, you reduce or even eliminate ponding and deal with heavy run-off such as flash flooding and heavy downpours more effectively.


Easy to Design


When laying channel drainage, no complicated layouts and couplers etc are needed. Conflicts with underground service pipes/cables are more easily avoided. Using a channel system means that the channel can act as both a multiple point drain and a carrier pipe.

Access and Maintenance of Channel Drains


Grates are easy to remove with keys, bolts or locking systems giving you full access to the channel below. Sumps (if needed), have easy to remove buckets and slot drains have access units, easily accessed with lifting keys.


Visual Appeal


Channel drainage can be discrete or part of the design – it’s up to you.


How to Choose Channel Drainage


There are three key things that will determine the type of channel drainage you need.

  1. Capacity – how much water does your channel drain system need to cope with?
  2. Loading – how much weight is going to be placed on your channel drains?
  3. Aesthetics – what do you want your channel drainage to look like?


1. Choose the depth of channel you require for the expected flow of drainage water. Depths range from 50mm (34cm² hydraul.section) to 650mm (1,380cm² hydraul. section).


flow rate 

2. Choose your load class rating. 


load class visual description 

3. Choose your grating (loading will play a part in what is available for you).


types of grating 


ULMA Channel Drainage – A Perfect Solution


ULMA provides a superior system, capable of suiting any aspect of your channel drainage needs. With a vast range of sizes and load classes, Drainfast is proud to be a major UK stockist of the complete ULMA catalogue.


ULMA Benefits


  • Vast range of polymer concrete channel drains; the best range of EN-1433 certified channel drain on the market
  • Best of class Superior Locking System available on most ranges
  • Near zero water absorption and super-fast flow rate
  • Chemical resistant and unaffected by freezing/thawing cycles
  • Excellent pricing and technical backup
  • Huge stockholding in strategic Depots available for super-quick delivery
  • Rely on Drainfast’s excellent customer service to help your project run smoothly.