Replacing Broken Trench Drain Grates

broken trench drain

Replacing broken trench drain grates is important. A damaged system causes multiple issues throughout an application. There are several questions to ask and steps that should be taken when considering changing out broken grate covers.

Replacing Broken Trench Grates

Several reasons cause grates to need replacing, age and improper specification are among the most common. Asking identifying questions about your existing grates and the application they are being used in will help with finding an accurate replacement.


Why do grate covers break?

  • Aged Grates
  • Structural Breakdown
  • Incorrect Maintenance
  • Improper Specification


As much as we hate to acknowledge the impermanence of things, even trench drains can get old. Over time the concrete edges can begin to chip, channels breakdown and grates become loose, all causing a trench drain system to fail.

Poor Maintenance

An annual maintenance of your trench drain system is the best way to ensure continuous proper drainage. These drainage systems are exposed year-round to the harsh elements of the local region. This causes them to wear down over time and improper maintenance will cause the system to ultimately fail. If debris is left unattended, it will build up causing water runoff to disperse in undesirable areas.

Application Specification

It is important to know what your application requires when specifying a trench drain system, as they are application specific. One fundamental question you should ask is, “What is moving over the grates?”

When specifying a water drainage system for your project, consider what the heaviest traffic will be moving across it. Installing a trench drain that is unable to handle the weight load or Load Class will cause the system to fail and break, resulting in possible damage to property and costly repairs.

Class C Art

The dimensions of a system determine how quickly and the amount of water that can move in and away from the specified location. It is important to have a large enough trench drain to meet the needs of the application. Specifying a drainage system that is too small for the water flow in the area is another common mistake and causes flooding.

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The first step in replacing trench drain grates is to get the dimensions of the existing units. Measuring the grates seems easy enough but something as simple as the height or width of a grate can be misinterpreted depending upon the area of the grate being measured. Grates come in many different sizes, shapes, and profiles. Each measurement is important in determining whether the new grates will sit in the channel properly.

Measuring the Grate

  • Width – Top of grate : it’s helpful to know if the grate covers the sides of the drain
  • Width – Underside (from flange to flange)
    *Not all grates will have flanges
  • Height of the grate and/or flange
  • Length of the grate

Measuring the Channel

  • Width – Top of channel (outside dimension)
  • Width – Inside dimension of the channel (where grate rests)
  • Height of chair or ledge that the grate sits on

Grate Material

The second is to know what the existing grate is made of. Some of the typical materials include galvanized steelductile iron, plasticstainless steelbronzealuminumcast iron, or fiberglass.

SS Perforated Grate

Maker’s Mark

The third is to identify distinguishing marks or logos on the grates and/or trench channels is helpful in discerning a grate’s origins. Taking pictures is another tool to be used when seeking assistance with replacing drain covers.

Grates are used in conjunction with trench drain channels in order to drain the excess water appropriately and to keep large debris from clogging the drain way. Catch basins and debris baskets can also be used in suitable applications. Maintaining a yearly cleaning schedule and inspection will help the longevity of your grates and overall drainage system.

Trench Drain Systems is one of the largest distributors in the United States who are committed to providing you with quick solutions to all your surface water runoff problems. Our professional staff can assess your project requirements and quickly offer you competitive pricing and information regarding the products you need. Contact us for a free quote or for further information on drainage solutions visit or

Phone: 610-882-3630

Email: [email protected]

 Click here for a fast and free quote!

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