Laurie and Jeff noticed seepage along their basement wall after several rainstorms. They eventually checked outside of that wall during a storm and discovered a wide pool of water in an uneven area of their driveway.
The undesired pool led right into the basement wall through a gap in the window frame. The homeowners had their concrete driveway resurfaced with blacktop a few months prior. The discount company that did the job laid it flush with bottom of the basement window frame. In addition, it now sloped toward and right up to the house.
The homeowners didn’t want to rip out the entire driveway. They had a window well installed. Then there was the matter of the low spot forming the pool in the driveway in the first place. It was approximately six feet from a drainage pipe going to the street from the downspout.
Solution: the channel drain.
Channel drains are an effective way to redirect surface water from driveways, patios and sidewalks, as they collect water over a large area.
New, durable materials have made the drain systems easier to install than ever, particularly in new construction.
However, if you need to install a channel drain into existing concrete, the following is a rough guide to help you decide if this project is for you or if you want to call in some assistance. Of course, check you local building codes for official guidance.
- Before digging, contact local utility companies to have them mark where any utility lines run on the property and ensure none are where you need to dig.
- Mark the width of the drain kit on the surface where it is to be installed.
If installing a polypropylene channel drain kit where cars will be driven over it, you’ll want approximately 4” of new concrete on both sides and below the drain, depending on the brand, and install the drain 1/4" below the surface of the concrete so the tires of a car ride on the concrete more than the drain.
Mark lines for drain plus new concrete accordingly.
- Cut concrete on the lines. Check HERE for some of the best hand-held concrete cutting saws; HERE for blades that cut better and last longer.
NOTE: It is critical that you have cut ALL the way through the concrete before proceeding to the next step.
- Tap down on the concrete between your cut lines with the tip of a steel pry-bar until it cracks. Pry out in chunks & discard. Temporarily set drain in place to check height to mating surface; dig if necessary for proper depth to match height of drain – and another 1/4" deeper for proper car tire contact with concrete borders – with an additional 4” of concrete under the drain.
- Interlock sections of channel drain to create needed length. Insert drain kit plug onto terminal end, sealing with silicone. Attach an adapter from the kit to the other, open end of the channel drain with silicone (adapter for connecting to an existing drain pipe or new PVC pipe, sloping at minimum 1% grade away from house – check local codes).
- COVER GRATE OF DRAIN WITH TAPE TO PREVENT CONCRETE FROM GETTING INTO THE CHANNEL.
- Set channel drain into place, using bricks/wood to get to proper height 1/4" below surrounding surface and with the adapter end toward new or existing underground drain pipe to the street. Secure with 5/8” rebar stakes on either side.
- Attach channel drain to main drainpipe to street with silicone. Pour concrete. Smooth to desired finish. Remove tape off of drain grate.
Installing a storm drain can wash your morning away, so consider if you want to dig into this project alone or have some help. Either way, cutting out the existing surface will be easier with a K3000 Electric Wet Power Cutter by Husqvarna. Unlike other electric concrete cutting saws, the blade on the K3000 rotates forward, cutting into the material more efficiently with minimal effort from the user.
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