How to Install a Trench Drain System

A trench drain is a type of drainage system that can be installed around the perimeter of a home. The system is installed slightly below grade to catch any water coming into the home. Here is how to install a drainage system that diverts water from the home to protect it from potential flooding issues.

Tools and Materials

  • Trench Drain Gutters
  • Trench Drain Grates
  • Concrete Mortar Mix
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Drain Pipe

Step 1 – Plan the Drain System

Determine where to install the trench drain system. It can be installed at the front portion of the house or the garage, or in other areas where there is constant flooding. There are companies that sell pre-designed trench drain gutters with accompanying grates that allow people to walk over them.

The end of the gutter has a pipe adapter found at the lower end or base to allow the drain to be connected to a drainage pipe. Therefore, it is also best to plan the route of the drain system so that it connects to a nearby drainage pipe. If not, allow the trench drain to end up in another drain system, such as a French drain.

Step 2 – Dig the Trench

Measure the length of the drainage system. Purchase drain gutters that fit into that length. The gutters should have a pipe adapter on one of its ends. Dig a trench on the entire length of the ground. If the gutters are 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep, the trench should be at least 1 foot wide and 8 inches deep. The allowance will be used for the mortar.

Step 3 – Connect the Drain Pipe

If the gutters do not end up in another drain system, determine which end of the trench to connect to a drain pipe. It should be the one closest to the central drainage system. Run a drain pipe from the location of the trench to the central drain system and make the necessary connections. Dry fit the gutters and the drain pipe before pouring in the mortar.

Step 4 – Pour the Mortar

To ensure that the system is stable, mix sufficient concrete and pour it into the gaps around the gutters. Check if the drain pipe is securely connected to the gutters before doing so. The gutters should also be slightly lower than ground level to ensure that it catches flowing water from the surrounding areas. Before the mortar dries, adjust the gutters to slightly slope down towards the drain pipe. Allow the mortar to dry for about 4 to 6 hours.

Step 5 – Install the Grates

Position the grates on top of the gutters to allow people to walk over the drainage system. This catches large debris before it enters into the drainage system and prevents the drain pipe from getting clogged.

To ensure that the soil from the surrounding areas do not wind up into the trench and ultimately into the drain pipe as well, cover the surrounding areas with concrete. When doing so, slope the surfaces slightly towards the gutters.