Select Page

Channel Drainage for Driveways

The most popular linear (straight line) drainage systems for driveways are channel drainage systems. These usually come in 1 metre lengths of recycled polypropylene or concrete, and you see them everywhere.


But, not all channel drainage channels are equal!

Some drainage channels are specifically designed for block paving and paving slabs, these are commonly known as slot drainage. These are shaped so that blocks or slabs can lay on top and have a big advantage; they’re less noticeable.

There are other types of drainage channels which have additional features such as ‘integral edge rails’ to improve strength. These types of linear drainage systems are more suitable for driveways that commercial vehicles will be using. On this note, for most driveways a ‘load class’ of C 250 and below will be more than sufficient. If you have commercial vehicles you will need to go for a higher ‘load class’.

This also applies if you are landing your private jet on your driveway!

Stronger drainage channels are also available in polymer concrete and different widths are available ranging from 100mm to 150mm to 200mm.

Channel drainage and the DIYer

In terms of DIY most drainage channels are easy to install and it’s especially wise to install these if surface water from your drive runs towards your house.

The two main manufacturers in the UK are ACO and Clark – Drain. Both have stellar reputations within the channel drainage market and their products come highly recommend, especially compared to some poor quality imports.


Aco Drainage
Clark drain
Cheap drainage

Further ACO Driveway drainage solutions for driveways.

Channel drainage for Patios

If you are constructing a patio the discreet fitting of Slot drainage is the way to go. These are also suitable for blocks, too. An enhanced visual feature of these types of linear drainage channels are they appear as a single line along the surface of a patio or driveway (rather than a grill.)

slot drainage ACO


Extras for Channel Drainage

Most channel drainage can also be joined together at right angles and this may be necessary where two edges of a driveway meet in a corner. A channel drainage junction will be needed for this and other channel drainage accessories include a range of end caps and locking bars and keys.

Channel Drainage – Installation

When laying channel drainage it is important that a fall is created to one end, so the water flows and doesn’t just sit. It may be stating the obvious but many drainage channels have been laid without a fall and you can usually spot these by the excessive growth of weeds in them! Look below.

channel drainage

This Doesn’t Look Good!



Drainage channels are also available that ‘step down’. These are a suitable option of it is not possible to create a fall due to a hard base being in place.

So where does all surface water drain to?

Underground – hopefully!  And the amount of surface water to drain, will be a major factor here.

A higher gradient of slope (steepness) of a driveway will increase the velocity (speed) of surface water draining. Simply put, in heavy rainfall the drainage system must be able to cope with fast flowing water. The construction of a suitable soakaway may be necessary and the drainage channels must also be able to cope with fast flowing surface water. If your home is on a steep gradient opting for a wider channel drainage system will be a shrewd move.


Drainage Channels – It’s all about Appearance

The appearance of the grills that sit on top of drainage channels can be enhanced by using iron grills. These  can easily be installed on a driveway to provide both extra drainage, strength and a more visually pleasing solid looking appearance. These cost considerably more than conventional grills, however.

In addition to iron many driveways (are tarnished) with grills made of galvanized steel. These look a bit like aluminium and if they’re not cleaned regularly, they can start to look ugly. Whilst they stand out much more than iron, they provide the necessary strength but do have a habit of lifting and tripping young and old alike!

 Galvanised Steel Channel Drainage laid properly


 Galvanised Stainless Steel Channel Drainage – lifting again!


On this subject it is important to mention a superior solution for period properties. For Americans – this mainly means houses in England built prior to 1906. For these types of properties cast iron grills can provide a truly elegant finish. William Morris would not have opted for plastic drainage channels and it goes without saying that the Queen of England has cast iron grills at Buckingham Palace.

We’re huge fans of cast iron grills. They will fit most ACO drainage channels and can be secured easily. 

How much Channel Drainage do you Need?

The answer to this question is determined by how much anticipated water will need to be drained. In turn, this is determined by whether, or not, surface water drainage can be drained to garden areas or whether all surface water will flow into installed linear drainage. A further consideration will be the available space (usually the width of driveway opening) that is available.

Other considerations – Get channel drainage, or else.

Any new or extended driveway where surface water drains towards the road will have to have drainage installed if it cannot be drained to bedding areas. This will ensure Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Compliance.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This