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How to Choose the Right Grate for Your Heavy-Duty Drainage System

by Andy Butler

If you're ready to install a heavy-duty drainage system in a car wash, garage, or in a barn, you need to think about the type of grate you will choose as well. The grate will help stop the drainage trenches and pipes from getting clogged and potentially backing up, and you want to ensure the grate you choose holds up under constant use. Note a few tips for choosing the right grate for your heavy-duty drainage system.

Shape and size 

The shape and size of a grate will affect its flow rate; you don't want a grate that will allow more runoff than your trenches and pipes can manage, so that they don't start backing up. However, you also don't want an undersized grate either, so you need to determine the flow rate according to the drain's use. In a car wash, for example, a smaller, round grate may lead to standing water, something bothersome to customers; a long trench grate can be better. On the other hand, a smaller grate with a slower flow rate can be good for barns, where you want to slow down the flow of hay, grains, waste, and other solids that would easily overwhelm and clog the drainage pipes.

Chemicals and weather

Your grate may be exposed to certain chemicals, detergents, and other fluids, and a grate installed outdoors is also exposed to the elements. Consider the best material of your grate; lightweight plastic may not rust and corrode when exposed to detergents, but it may soften and warp after long hours in direct sunlight. Iron and other metals may corrode when exposed to certain chemicals used to restore and repair cars, although they may hold up very well under inclement weather. For drains located outdoors, opt for iron, stainless steel or aluminum.

Ease of removal

If your grate will catch any solid matter, you'll want to regularly clean it on the bottom or underside, so you'll need a grate that easily lifts out of place. However, note that metal grates are sometimes stolen for scrap. For a barn or home garage, where there is usually little risk of your grate being stolen, you can choose one that removes completely from the drainage system for easier cleaning. However, in a car wash that is not secured at night and where theft is a greater risk, opt instead for a hinged grate that cannot be removed so easily.