How to Install a Channel Drain in Existing Concrete


Floor-based drainage systems play a vital role in a wide range of different facilities. While some floors and drains are installed around the same time, that is not always the case. 

Installing a Channel Drain in Existing Concrete

In many cases, facility builders and managers have to work around pre-existing concrete flooring to install their trench drain systems. Although this may seem like it would be difficult to retrofit a drainage system, it is relatively easy, especially with the right system. Here is how to install a channel drain in existing concrete, without any issues.

Choose the Right System

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The first, and possibly one of the most important steps in retrofitting a drainage system into an existing concrete floor is to choose the right system. While trench drains overall are a common choice, there are different kinds for facilities to choose between. 

These days, one of the popular options facilities are using is the Slot Drain System. Slot Drain is a unique drainage system with many different benefits, including being both pre-sloped and pre-assembled. Because of these features, this makes retrofitting Slot Drain into an existing concrete flooring incredibly easy.

Know Where the Drain is Going

Once you have determined the trench drain system you want, it is critical to consider the placement and layout. Marking the placement of the drainage system will help to ensure no mistakes are made and the least amount of cutting is done to the existing concrete slab. You want to choose a location that makes sense in terms of the facility set-up so that drains will be placed in the most efficient position possible. 

When figuring out the placement and measurements for the drain, it is also important to mark the proper width for the drain as well. In the case of Slot Drain, that means ensuring the trench is 24 inches wide for the drain system to fit properly. 

At this time, it is also important to consider the required depth of the trench for the drain to sit in. By getting the proper depth, the drain will go into the flooring smooth and flush without any issues.

Installing the Drain System

Drain System Retrofitting

The next step in how to install a trench drain in existing concrete is to get the drain itself into place. Depending on what system you have chosen, assembly may be required. Slot Drain comes pre-assembled, however, eliminating a large portion of the work other systems require. 

To provide more stability to the drainage system, it is recommended that you have a concrete slab for the drain to rest on. Additionally, it is critical to reinforce the sidewalls to prevent any bowing of the sides, which can cause the drain not to function properly.

Making the Drain Level

Once the drain is in place and secured, the next critical step is to ensure it is properly leveled. This will help to ensure that the drain is flush with the flooring and does not stick out in any way. 

Taking the time to check that the drain is level and making any necessary adjustments will allow for a seamless installation and keep the floor perfectly level. This will help to prevent any unevenness which could cause workers within the facility to trip and get seriously injured.

The Final Layer of Concrete

Once the drainage system has been properly positioned and is at the desired level to make it even with the floor, it is critical to secure the drain entirely. This means pouring another layer of concrete along the sides, which will help completely secure the drain channel and the rebars holding the drain in place. 

It is important to be careful when pouring this last layer of concrete. You need to protect the drain opening with tape or some other type of product to prevent any concrete mixture from. Otherwise, the drain channel can be damaged and the whole installation can be ruined.

Finishing Touches for Retrofitting

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After the concrete has had time to dry and cure, the installation can be finished. This includes removing any protective wrapping and filling that was in place to prevent damage to the drain. 

You can also take this time to test the drain to ensure everything is properly connected and working properly. Once it has been determined that everything is in working order, you can continue on with setting up your facility. This includes adding any protective floor coatings like epoxies and moving in facility equipment. 

There is nothing overly difficult for how to install a channel drain in existing concrete. It is by no means a difficult or time-consuming, especially if you go with a system like Slot Drain, which comes pre-assembled for your convenience.

The most critical thing to do is take your time to ensure that everything is done properly. This will ensure that you will have a successful retrofitting for your new drainage system.


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