There have been many people asking about it, and I’ve finally been able to gather some good information about decorative grating for trench drains. Take a look at the trench drain grating I have pictured in various articles in this blog. Only a few stand out as being “pretty” from an aesthetic or architectural point of view. I can almost guarantee that my article “Trench Drain in the Black Hills” will be noted as containing some attractive grating. Well, I have more to talk about on this topic, especially as it refers to “pretty” cast iron and bronze products. And, the good news is, I have three manufactures I can discuss.
My interest in decorative trench drain grating is for material gain. I want to sell products that give my customers selection and quality, and functional slotted or perforated grates can get boring. I have had customers looking for products that give them a “look” that is in keeping with the theme of the house or community. Sometimes, galvanized steel slotted grating just doesn’t cut the mustard. Let’s discuss three manufacturers of ornamental or decorative grating.
I think these guys are the oldest of all the existing ornamental grate foundries in the US. Urban Accessories was founded in 1972 by an architect who was inspired by the vision of Louis Sullivan to enhance the urban environment. This is the Tacoma, Washington foundry that I promoted in my “Black Hill Trench Drain” blog entry. I also saw products of theirs in the Epcott Center in Orlando, Florida.
Urban Accessories has a wonderful product line. Besides trench drain grates, they have a rich assortment of tree grates, bollards, building buttons, drain covers, manhole covers and more. You can purchase trench drain frames to go with their grates, as well. They have a nice catalog and good coverage with the architects who deal with hardscapes.
Too good to be true? Maybe so!!! I never had a very good experience trying to purchase product from these people. They were reluctant to work with me on requests for special items. I had a difficult time getting information from them or my phone calls returned. And, once I had made contact with my area sales representative, I didn’t feel confident that he really had all the knowledge required for this product line. In addition to all this, the prices for their products are expensive.
Iron Age Designs
This is a new company that is making some waves in the industry. I think they are part of the reason that Urban Accessories seems disoriented.
Iron Age’s product line started out small but has really blown up in recent years. Their product line is growing, the design quality is great, and they were the first foundry to market themselves as replacement grates for standard systems.
Where all other foundries have promoted a cast-in-place philosophy for trench drain marketing, Iron Age has decided to make ornamental grating that fits the vast number of preformed or pre-sloped trench drain products that are currently on the market.
This foundry, located in Palm Desert California, has a number of ornamental trench drain grating products. They advertise that they use 100% recycled materials to make their castings. I counted 8 different grating styles. However, only 3 of these had any “curviness” in the design (I like curviness). Most grate styles were some variation of a standard slotted or perforated ADA grate.
The Ironsmith products are available in 4, 6, 8, and 12 inch wide grates. In addition, you are able to purchase grates in iron, aluminum or bronze. So the variety is good. They also have 12” x 12” catch basin grates and tree grates. And, if that was not enough, you can purchase the frame and trench to use when forming a trench drain system.
The folks at Ironsmith are nice people to work with. They are eager to help. Their prices are affordable for the west coast. I had difficulty getting an affordable product from them to sell on the east coast. Nevertheless, they seem to have a good product.