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A Handyman Helping Hand

Re: Drainage

Posted By: Phil
Tuesday, 5 June 2001, at 7:16 a.m.

In Response To: Drainage (djm)

If you cannot unclog the drain line, consider using rain channels to divert water away from the house. The channels and grates are made of heavy PVC plastic. They are tough, maintenance-free, and are easy to install. They are specifically for use around the house, garden, patio or driveway. Lowe's sells them in 4-ft sections. An 8-ft section, which consists of 2 4-ft channels, 4 2-ft grates will run you about $72. You can use an end cap, end outlet or channel connector for an additional $10. Industrial grade rain channels can also be purchased from Aco Drain ( or D.A.Fehr Home ( These commercial-grade products also come in 4-ft sections, but will cost you three times as much. The channels are 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep. To install, dig a trench about 5 inches deep and 12 inches wide. If installing on concrete, rent a concrete cutter and cut out a section for your trench. If hiring a contractor to do the concrete cutting, expect to pay $20 per foot of concrete to be cut. After digging your trench, pour a 2 inch bed of concrete in the bottom of the trench. Imbed the channels in the concrete along the center of the trench making sure it is sloped away from the house to divert the rain from it. Use a horizontal level to check the slope of the channels. After imbedding the channels in the concrete, fill both sides of the channels with concrete. Install grates with 3/4 inch Philips steel screws. The screws are not provided with the channels (from Lowe's.) Wait for the concrete to dry before driving on the channels. The instruction below is an excerpt from a manufacturer of commercial-grade rain channels. "Prepare trench in area that will be drained. For installation in soil, start with a bed of rock and dirt, then a 1" bed of compacted sand. For concrete, prepare rebar if necessary. Assemble channel components and place into trench to check measurements. Grate must be recessed " below ground level. Remove to apply PVC primer and cement to all joints.Allow to dry. Install grate and cover with duct tape. Position assembly back into trench. Back fill with concrete, dirt, or sand and tamp down to assure channel is completely encased. Finish concrete in normal manner and remove tape."

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