The advantages of plastic drainage channels

Channel drains, also known as drainage channels, are arguably the most important component of modern drainage systems. They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials. The use of plastic in construction is quite common, and no exceptions are made for channel drains, who have increasingly been manufactured in plastic due to the numerous benefits and flexibility these materials offer.

Drainage channels are generally manufactured in three different types of materials: cement, polymer concrete, and thermoplastic polymer (plastic). Each of these materials has its own benefits for performant surface water drainage. While using robust construction materials and following technical requirements is fundamental for effective rainwater drainage systems, plastic drainage channels present benefits that the other common materials do not. 

Plastic materials: High-density polyethylene and polypropylene

While we tend to believe that plastic materials are soft and breakable, the plastic materials in which channel drains are manufactured are anything but fragile. These materials are high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP).

High-density polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer derived from petroleum. It is also one of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle and is important within the context of sustainable building practices. HDPE is widely used in construction, with the global construction industry using over 30 million tons of it in 2007, because its characteristics are advantageous:

  • It is a robust building material
  • It can withstand high temperatures
  • It has an excellent chemical resistance to solvents, UV rays, and abrasion

Polypropylene is another material derived from petroleum that finds widespread applications in the construction industry. It has a number of advantages: it is odorless, lightweight, resistant to heat, and a higher melting point than HDPE (but also more rigid and therefore slightly less resistant to mechanical stress), resistant to humidity, solvents, acid, and wear resistant.

The advantages of HDPE and PP for channel drainage

There are a variety of plastic materials to choose from when manufacturing such building components. Choosing the right types of plastics brings common advantages when designing performant surface water but also foul water drainage systems.

  • Weight: both are relatively lightweight materials, in particular PP, and have a highly beneficial weight/impact resistance ratio. PP is slightly less flexible than HDPE.
  • Ease of installation: they can come equipped with precut fittings and holes, significantly reducing installation times and the needs for additional accessories.
  • Resistant to thermal shocks: they can be laid in environments with significant temperature variations and thrive.
  • Immune to chemical and atmospheric agents: acids, most solvents, alkalis, oils, and petrol will not degrade the materials nor cause system failures.
  • Self-cleaning: the viscosity of the materials, higher than that of the other materials (cement and polymer concrete), means debris and deposits slide off the sides of the channels and limit buildup. This also means that there is a reduced need for maintenance and cleaning. This also translates into higher flow rates, particularly for HDPE.
  • Accessories: they make it possible to install a wide range of gratings and covers, made of various materials, design, and sizes. This is helpful as they can be installed for a wide array of typical uses, from the poolside to the airport runway.

The most important aspect when creating a performant foul water or surface water drainage system is planning (as well as maintenance and drainage channel cleaning). Ask help from a skilled installer when designing rainwater drainage systems. Need more information? Read our basic drainage channel installation guide.

Pegasus and Taurus by Dakota

As a drainage supplier, Dakota designs, manufactures, and markets a complete range of drainage supplies and components for drainage solutions - including drainage channels. These are branded 'Taurus' and 'Pegasus'.





These two product lines cover most needs in terms of:

  • Width: from 100 up to 370mm
  • Height: from 50 up to 360mm
  • Length: L from 500 to 1000mm
  • Load classes: combined with our gratings, which are designed for A15 load classes up to F900 (according to European Standard UNI EN 1433:2007)
  • Areas of use: thanks to our wide range of covers and gratings with our channel drains can be combined, Dakota drainage channels can be installed almost anywhere. Our covers and grates are available in plastics, galvanized steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and ductile iron.
  • Resistance to chemicals: especially true for the Taurus line but valid for all, Dakota’s drainage channels guarantee high resistance to more than 200 common chemical and atmospheric agents.
  • Resistance to temperature changes and mechanical stress: because they are manufactured in HDPE and PP, Dakota channel drains, when installed properly, will provide long lasting surface water drainage.

Every year, Dakota commits to using an increasing amounts of recycled plastics. As a leader in the European construction sector, we aim to reduce packaging waste and plastic waste through recycling practices and innovation. This is our responsibility as a building materials supplier.

Read more about how we are reducing plastics and our wider commitment to the environment.

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