Trench Drain Uncategorized posts

POLYCAST® – Home Grown Product

by Michael Schroer on February 19, 2021 Comments Off on POLYCAST® – Home Grown Product

POLYCAST® was the first US designed and produced polymer concrete trench drain channel. Originally, polymer concrete technology came from Europe.  In the construction industry, polymer concrete channels were introduced as a time and labor saving “leave in trench form”. This new technology was distinctly European and was sold in one meter channel lengths. POLYCAST® channels, on the other hand, were sold in “good old” 4 foot sections which made it more acceptable in the marketplace.

POLYCAST® trench drain has been around since the late 1970’s. A construction company out of Fargo, ND developed the first POLYCAST® channels. They grew the business for a few years and eventually sold it to Shell Oil in the early 1980’s. At that time Shell was busy buying up all the polymer concrete business in North America in hopes to consolidate all the small operations into a large polymer concrete plant. After gathering a few processes, they began marketing the under the company called Quazite.

Once the price of oil fell to $12 per barrel, Shell sold the Quazite business to John Tickle, then acting president of Quazite. He changed the name from Quazite to Strongwell. The Quazite brand continued to represent the encloser business that had been developed under his direction. Mr. Tickle was successful at growing the POLYCAST® and Quazite product lines. In 2006, Hubbell Power Systems purchased the polymer concrete business from Strongwell and continued to expand the polymer concrete product offering to the construction industry.

Currently, Hubbell is the largest manufacturer of polymer concrete in the US. Their polymer concrete plant is located in Lenoir City, TN. Besides the POLYCAST® trench drain product line, they continue to make the Quazite boxes which are used in the underground utilities market.

Trench Drain Systems is one of the largest stocking distributors in the United States for POLYCAST® products and offers a wide selection of grating and accessories available beyond the standard OEM offering.

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Michael SchroerPOLYCAST® – Home Grown Product

7 Considerations for Trench Drain Systems

by Kristie Pohlman on September 5, 2019 Comments Off on 7 Considerations for Trench Drain Systems

Trench drain systems come in all shapes, sizes and materials and it can be difficult to determine which system is best suited for your project. Here’s a breakdown on what you need to consider when planning a project that requires trench drain systems.

1. What are the load requirements for the drain?

Drainage in pedestrian areas

It’s particularly important to mitigate potential flooding situations in high pedestrian areas.

Knowing what kind of traffic that will cross over the drainage system is one of the most important factors for you to consider first. There’s a big difference between pedestrian traffic and a commercial airliner and, of course, not all channels are built to take on that kind of weight. You also have to consider that even though the channel may be able to take the weight, it needs to be topped off with grates that are able to mitigate rainwater (or other liquids) while being appropriate for the traffic.


2. What’s on top?

As with the drainage channels, grates play an important role. They vary in material from plastic and fiberglass to stainless steel and ductile iron. Even areas with pedestrian traffic force you to think about load ratings and material options. Plastic grates may be appropriate for a park landscape or pool side deck but gates at an airport require ductile iron grate patterns that are heelproof and ADA compliant. There are a wide variety of patterns that can control flow rates while providing the correct amount of support. If the area tends to stay water-logged such as in a water treatment plant or around a pool, you can find options that are non-slip and either grip boots tightly or are barefoot friendly. In many cases, you’ll also find options that will blend into the surroundings or designs that enhance the look of the project.


3.Going to extremes

Another important consideration is knowing what is going to flow through the trench drain system. Some systems are perfect for storm water but can’t take the extreme heat that it would see in a brewery situation or stand up to corrosive chemicals in a manufacturing facility. If the system is outdoors, it needs to withstand seasonal freeze-thaw or perhaps extreme heat seen in Texas and Arizona.


4. Keeping it legal

Trench Drain Systems at Airports

At smaller airports, trench drains can be found within the hangers as well as the entrances.

In some cases, projects have to adhere closely to local or federal laws such as MS4 programs or government builds. These can include courthouses, government buildings or flood control projects. A simple guideline to determine if it’s a state or federal project is knowing who controls the project. A state project can be funded federally but it is still a state-controlled project. However, a state land project may have the US Army Corps of Engineers working on it which then makes it a federally controlled project. It’s not a topic that can be covered easily since each state has a separate set of guidelines and laws to follow.


5. Surrounding landscapes

Trench drains to redirect stormwater

A well-placed drainage system can keep rain water separate from pool water.

Trees, mulch and stone are just a few of the possible types of debris that have the potential to obstruct the flow of a trench drain system. Make sure you know the plans for the landscape and surroundings. Any trees planted too closely have the potential for roots to interfere with the channels. Likewise, trees can create seasonal debris that can also clog up a system. Stones in some parking areas can get knocked into channels if the grate openings are large enough causing the storm water flow rate to drop.

Another landscape consideration is the land itself. Is there a natural slope to the area? How much solid surface area will there be versus the amount of green space for water to naturally absorb? You can take it a step further and look at what the soil is composed of. Why is it important? You won’t be able to rely on clay to help disperse storm water.


6. Long term maintenance

Trench drain systems maintenance

It’s important to have a maintenance plan in place to ensure that trench drains remain effective.

Is there a maintenance program planned for the drainage system? It may seem trivial now but we have just about seen it all: trenches completely filled with silt at the bottom of a ramp and sand-filled drains at the beach that are rendered ineffective. We frequently see warehouses with cracked and/or partial grates that hopped and broke over time from not having locking devices. It’s a potential hazard at airports where jets can easily lift grates and locking devices if they are not properly secured. Seasonal checks and cleanouts would be beneficial to the system for it to remain effective.


7. Expect the unexpected

We always say that it’s better to plan for a hundred-year flood than to explain why you didn’t plan for a hundred-year flood. The system you choose may not be able to keep a hurricane at bay, but if you plan well, you will help the waters to recede faster.


Putting it all together

Even when you take everything into consideration, you may still feel overwhelmed by all the possible configurations. Luckily, there are experts that can help you through the decision-making process.

Author Bio

Kristie Pohlman has been working in marketing for over 15 years. A great deal of her writing has been on topics related to construction, education and marketing. Her work has been featured in several industry specific trade magazines such as Modern Contractor Solutions, Utility Products and Crane Hotline to name a few.

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Kristie Pohlman7 Considerations for Trench Drain Systems

Trench Drain Systems Begins Distribution of ULMA Architectural Drains

by Kristie Pohlman on July 31, 2019 Comments Off on Trench Drain Systems Begins Distribution of ULMA Architectural Drains

Have you heard about the Spanish company ULMA?

Ulma Architectural Solutions have manufactured architectural products for the construction industry for over 50 years. And though, relatively unknown in the United States, ULMA has been providing drainage solutions around the globe for 15 years. Their trench drain products are being distributed stateside by Trench Drain Systems, in Fremont, OH. ULMA provides superior drainage systems that complement the extensive products currently being offered by TDS.

ULMA Drainage Systems Benefits

Coke Can at ULMA HQ

You can see that Coca-Cola is an international brand. This was captured just outside of the ULMA Architectural Solutions HQ building.

One big draw of the ULMA products is their corporate investment into product research and development. This allows them to offer a highly competitive range of drainage systems at a competitive price. Like other manufacturers, ULMA uses polymer concrete (a mixture of silica and quartz aggregates that are bound by stable polyester resins) to manufacture their drain channels. Polymer concrete increases the impact resistance of the channel while also providing a smooth low porosity channel surface which helps in the rapid flow rate. Compare this to traditional concrete channels that have a 5-10% absorption rate. Additionally, the ULMA polymer concrete channels are resistant to nearly 60 chemicals including citric acid, diesel fuel, gasoline, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid; just to name a few. These drainage systems also tolerate seasonal ground freeze/thaw and can withstand a maximum temperature of 75C / 167F.

There are several other benefits to using the ULMA drainage channels. For one, they are chemically inert which makes them recyclable and earth-friendly. ULMA also offers some of the broadest selection of channel sizes and slopes in the industry. Last, but not least, product pricing stands out as one of the top benefits. ULMA’s pricing is less than its closest competitors.

A Quick Look at Two ULMA Products

ULMA U100KM with Iron Age Interlaken Grate

ULMA U100KX with Iron Age Interlaken Grate

When you look closely at their popular light/medium duty channels (U100K, M100K), you can see how versatile the systems are. All of these models have an internal nominal width of 4” (5” external) and feature integrated stainless steel or galvanized steel edge that increases the stability of the drain. It also provides a sleek appearance especially when adjacent to lawns or areas with loose landscape finishes such as gravel and mulch. This is something that most manufacturers sell separately for an additional cost. The U100K and U100KX systems have a built-in 0.5% slope. Neutral and half channels are available as well. The M100 and M100KX are shallow, non-sloped systems with a nominal depth of 1 ½”. Both of these drainage systems are typically used in residential areas, public areas, walkways and other locations with light vehicular traffic.

Topping Off ULMA Channels

ULMA channels look great next to all types of surfaces including natural stone.

A broad range of grating options are available for the U100K and M100K channels. Load class, material type and opening style are some of the grating options available. Choose grates made from ductile iron, stainless steel, galvanized steel or polyethylene. They range from load class A to C and are offered in variations that allow for ADA compliance for wheelchairs, bicycle traffic, domestic vehicles and/or heel proof for safety. For decorative options, Iron Age Designs offers grates that are compatible with the U100K and M100K channels for a high-end appearance.

The systems reviewed are just two of ULMA’s wide range of drainage solutions. Whether it’s a football stadium, a Costco, a food processing center or a residential project, ULMA has a drainage solution for every industry challenge. Would you like to know more about ULMA’s line of drainage products? Trench Drain Systems in Ohio is the largest stocking distributor with a quick turn-around for shipping. Visit them at trenchdrain.com or call 610-638-1221 and ask about contractor pricing.

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Kristie PohlmanTrench Drain Systems Begins Distribution of ULMA Architectural Drains

The Difference Between Polymer Concrete and Vinyl Ester

by Summer Hoffman on April 22, 2019 Comments Off on The Difference Between Polymer Concrete and Vinyl Ester

There are many variables to consider when you are choosing what you need for your drainage project, including what materials your system is made of. Much of it depends mainly upon the application requirements. Trying to understand the differences between polymer concrete and vinyl ester drainage channels can be confusing.

Polymer Concrete

Polymer concrete is a composite material in which the aggregate is bound together in a matrix with a polymer binder. Loosely translated, polymer concrete is great under high tensile (tension), flexural and compressive strengths.

What are the advantages of Polymer Concrete?

  • Freeze/thaw resistance
  • Handles heavy weight
  • Fast drainage
  • Durability
  • Holds up to 150 degrees F

Other features of the material has excellent long-term durability and low permeability to water, making it ideal for most drainage situations. Because of its properties, polymer concrete is frequently used in the utility industry as a reliable solution for harsh environments.

Typical Applications of Polymer Concrete:

Trench Drain Systems carries Hubbell’s series of POLYCAST® drainage solutions. One example is the POLYCAST® 600 Series is one of the most well known small commercial drains on the market. These 6.25″ wide (OD) polymer concrete channels are available in lengths of 48″ and 24″. Their built-in .65 percent slope ensures that the will achieve flow rates of 470 GPM (Gallons Per Minute), higher than drainage systems of similar size. These polymer concrete channels safely handle temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit without structural damage.

Vinyl Ester

Vinyl ester is produced by the reaction (‘esterfication’) between an epoxy resin and an unsaturated monocarboxylic acid. Essentially, they comprise of a base of polyester resin strengthened with epoxy molecules in the molecular chain. This means vinyl ester has fewer open sites in its molecular chain, making it more resistant to water penetration. Vinyl ester is less sensitive to surrounding conditions and is more tolerant of stretching than polyesters. These characteristics allow the drainage system to absorb a greater impact without damage, making it less likely to show stress cracking over time.

Advantages of Vinyl Ester:

  • Impact and weight resistance
  • Withstands chlorinated solvents
  • Resistance to acids
  • Higher resistance to halogenated substances such as fluorine, bromine, chlorine and iodine
  • Endures higher temperatures, up to 180 degrees F
  • Resistance to various caustics
  • Durability
  • Rapid drainage

Trench Drain Systems is the largest stocking distributor of vinyl ester channels through the Hubbell POLYCAST® product line.

Typical Applications of Vinyl Ester:

Trench Drain Systems is the leading supplier of drainage systems for distilleries, breweries and micro-breweries throughout the United States. Breweries are one of the main applications that Trench Drain Systems suggests the use of vinyl ester due to the high pH levels and high temperatures of wastewater. This type of environment can cause other drainage system materials to become weak, break down and even warp.


Where are Trench Drains Found in Breweries?

  • Between fermenters
  • Inside the walk-in cooler
  • Bottling/packaging area
  • Storage facilities

For many applications, selecting the right drainage system material is critical. The chemical differences between polymer concrete and vinyl ester result in several differences in physical properties. This product choice directly affects the project’s strength, durability, lifespan and cost. Let one of our experts help determine whether polymer concrete or vinyl ester is best for your application. Contact us at 610-638-1221 Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm EST, or request a fast quote online today.

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Summer HoffmanThe Difference Between Polymer Concrete and Vinyl Ester

How to Replace 1″ Thick Grates

by Kristie Pohlman on March 26, 2018 Comments Off on How to Replace 1″ Thick Grates
By Hannah Schroer
Let’s just say it: 1” thick grates aren’t considered heavy duty anymore.
1in grates, 1in thick grating, trench drain grates 1in thick,

This 1 in. cast iron grate had seen better days before the owner called to replace them.

Standards change. Architects once specified one inch thick iron grates for loading docks, warehouses and industrial areas. Typically, contractors installed them in an angle iron frame using the old wooden box form method.

Why can’t I replace my 1” iron grates?

  • Increased traffic loads
  • Industry shift to modular systems
  • Market standardization

Expected loads increased, and the 1 in. thick grate became rare, a holdover from decades past. New construction projects specify newer, standard sizes such as the ¾” thick grate with a strengthening frame. Foundries offer 1-1/2” and thicker grates almost exclusively – no extra reinforcement needed.

How do I replace 1” thick grates?



Replace with FiberglassFiberglass Bar Grating

Already a popular replacement choice, fiberglass grates have several things going for them.

  • Chemical/rust resistant
  • Load bearing capability
  • Low scrap value

Fiberglass grates are durable, rust-proof and not stolen for the scrap value. They come in several patterns and load classes, so ask an expert before replacing anything. However, in the right circumstances a 1 inch fiberglass grate will make a suitable replacement for aged cast iron.


Replace with Foundry Grates

Most foundries moved to supplying 1-1/2” thick grates, but Trench Drain Systems knows a couple holdouts. The grates are no longer officially traffic rated, which means if they do break the foundry is not liable. The standard grate thickness changed for a reason, after all.

POLYCAST with SS GrateReplace with Steel Bar Grates

Steel bar grates might be the exception to the rule. You can find 1” thick bar grates pretty easily in custom widths, lengths and styles. Wider grates require more bearing bars to keep the same level of strength as narrower varieties, so be careful to account for the traffic crossing over your drain when deciding. If in doubt, ask an expert.


Install a Modern Drainage System

This is the least popular option, but it’s the one I recommend most. I don’t prefer it for any monetary benefit; sometimes this is the option that makes the most sense.

When to just reinstall the drain:

ZURN Trench Drain

  • Fiberglass or bar grating won’t be strong enough
  • Foundry grates don’t come in that width
  • The channel or surrounding concrete shows damage

If any or all of these criteria are met, you’re better off reinstalling the drain with a modern system that meets new construction expectations. When starting with a 12” wide (or larger) trench drain, you might not even have to cut out the old system!

Questions about replacing old, broken grates? Give the experts at Trench Drain Systems a call 610-638-1221 and find out your options! Shop online at www.trenchdrain.com/shop

replacement grates, 1in grate new




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Kristie PohlmanHow to Replace 1″ Thick Grates