Believe it or not, not all drains (or should I say drain types) are created equal. While the standard “shower drain” is the default choice for most applications, we often see issues with drains in the field long after the job warranty period is over. This sometimes results in costly repairs to the owner, liability issues, or unsightly rusted or unfinished grates in walkway areas. Most drain manufacturers offer many drain types and options for every application imaginable. Some higher end manufacturers even cater to the end user by developing custom solutions for job specific applications. With all the choices out there, it is imperative that proper selection practices are utilized in determining which drain type and options are selected for the specific application. Here are some guidelines to go by:
It is important to determine which drain type, sub-type (model) and selections you will need to best meet the needs in your given application. While a drain in a commercial kitchen may need to be AR coated or stainless steel to aid in sanitation,one installed in an area exposed to elements or harsh substances (such as salt), should always be galvanized to help prevent rust. Large surface areas may need a larger grate to provide a greater free surface area to accommodate increased drainage demands and drains in tiled areas may look better with a square grate. Public or high security areas may require a vandal proof grate. While these are only a few examples, it should illustrate why application planning is critical.
Municipal, Industrial & Commercial Areas - Will there be heavy traffic running over the drain? If so, what type? Hard wheel forklifts require a much heavier duty grate than their soft tire counterparts due to the much higher point loading on hard tires. Highway / DOT vehicles require something much heavier than standard car traffic. The grates are only half the equation. Just as important is the frames holding the grates in place. As you increase grate load ratings, it is also paramount to make sure that the frames are capable of the increased loading as well. As load classes get higher, it is also recommended using a grate lockdown to secure the grate in place and prevent rattling which could damage the drain.
Pedestrian Areas - Much like heavier traffic, there are considerations that must be taken to assure proper application and avoid possible issues in the future. Will the drain be in a public area where high heels are used? If so, a heel-proof grate may be advisable. If wheelchair traffic is likely, you may also need to select an ADA grate.
Pipe Size and Type of Outlet:
Not all drains are available for all pipe sizes or outlet types, so pipe type and size may play a role selecting the drain. While the most common outlets differ by drain type, No Hub, Push On (Gasketed), Inside Caulk, and Threaded (IPS) connections are available.
So you’ve picked your drain type and model. Now what? Most drain manufacturers offer a variety of options that can be selected to customize the base drain to your specific application. Some common options include vandal proof grates, sediment buckets, coating and galvanizing, strainer types, finishes and dimensions, trap primer connections and more. Some less common options may not be listed in the manufacturer’s catalog, but a good manufacturer’s representative will be able to assist you in choosing the exact drain and options to best meet the requirements. Proper planning and careful selection will help project quality while avoiding unnecessary extra costs.