Channel drain installation

Updated February 21, 2017

Channel drains are useful for removing surface water from hard surfaces like drives, walkways and patios. These surfaces tend to accumulate water because they can't absorb it. Putting in channel drains is more economical than installing concrete drains. Channel drains work much like gutters, sitting on the perimeter of the surface you wish to drain. Moulded channels for your channel drain are available at your local building supply centre and can be installed next to your hardscape structure.

Locate the lowest spot adjacent to the area you wish to drain. This is where your channel drain should end.

Use the shovel to dig a trench the width and depth of your channel drain, adding 7.5 cm (3 inches) to each side and below.

Spread a layer of sand about 7.5 cm (3 inches)deep on the bottom of the trench. Tamp it down with the hoe.

Measure the length of the trench with a tape measure and cut the channel drain to the length you need with a fine-tooth saw. Lay the drain along the length of the trench.

Attach the couplings as needed to add extra sections of channel drain. Apply PVC primer and cement with a putty knife to the end of the section of the channel drain and push the coupling on the end of the drain section and into the cement. Hold them together so they adhere and allow the cement to dry before proceeding.

Set the grate over the top of the channel and screw it in place with the accompanying screws using a screwdriver.


Don't drain water onto your neighbour's property.

Things You'll Need

  • Channel drain, couplings, screws and grate
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Hoe
  • Tape measure
  • Fine-tooth saw
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Putty knife
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.