Water Drains Explained: Different Types of Drainage Systems

Jul 10, 2024 | News

Understanding water drainage systems is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of both residential and commercial properties. Proper drainage prevents water damage, erosion, and flooding, ensuring that water is efficiently redirected away from structures and landscapes. This guide explores various types of water drains, their unique features, and their applications. Knowing the right type of water drain for your needs can make all the difference.

Surface Drainage Systems

What Are Surface Drains?

Surface drainage systems are designed to remove excess water from the land’s surface through channels or ditches. These systems often include open drains, humps and hollows, levees, and grassed waterways. A common example is the cast-in-place trench drain, which is effective for managing water runoff on large surfaces. This type of water drain is essential for preventing surface flooding.

Benefits and Uses

Surface drains are essential for preventing water pooling and soil erosion. They are widely used in residential areas to manage stormwater and prevent water damage to foundations and landscaping. These systems are also common in agricultural settings, where they help protect crops from waterlogging. Surface water drains play a key role in maintaining the usability of open spaces.

Subsurface Drainage Systems

What Are Subsurface Drains?

Subsurface drainage systems, also known as French drains, are installed beneath the soil surface. These systems consist of perforated pipes placed in ditches and covered with gravel or rock. They work at the root level to remove excess water and prevent soil saturation. A subsurface water drain system is ideal for long-term water management.

Benefits and Uses

Subsurface drains are ideal for areas with high groundwater levels. They help protect building foundations and prevent water from seeping into basements. These systems are commonly used in residential yards, agricultural fields, and sports fields to maintain dry and usable land. Installing a subsurface water drain can significantly enhance property value and safety.

Slope Drainage Systems

What Are Slope Drains?

Slope drainage systems are designed to channel water from a structure down a slope using pipes anchored to an incline. These pipes guide water away from buildings, reducing the risk of water damage and erosion. Slope water drains are particularly effective in areas with natural gradients.

Benefits and Uses

Slope drains are particularly useful in hilly or sloped areas where water naturally flows downward. They prevent water from accumulating around the base of structures and are often used in residential and commercial properties built on inclines. A well-designed slope water drain can protect landscapes and buildings from water-related issues.

Downspouts and Gutter Systems

What Are Downspouts and Gutters?

Downspouts and gutter systems are critical components of a building’s drainage infrastructure. Gutters collect rainwater from the roof and direct it into downspouts, which then channel the water away from the building. These water drain systems are the first line of defense against roof water damage.

Benefits and Uses

These systems prevent water from pooling around the foundation, reducing the risk of basement flooding and structural damage. They can be connected to various drainage solutions, such as buried drainpipes, rain barrels, or underground sewer lines. Downspouts and gutters are essential for all types of buildings, from residential homes to commercial properties. Ensuring effective water drain management starts with a reliable gutter system.

Swale Drains

What Are Swale Drains?

Swale drains are shallow, vegetated channels that manage water runoff by slowing it down and allowing it to be absorbed into the soil. They are more subtle than traditional trench drains and blend seamlessly into the landscape. Swale water drains are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Benefits and Uses

Swale drains are effective in preventing flooding and soil erosion. They are commonly found in residential and commercial landscaping, where they help manage stormwater naturally. Swales also reduce the burden on storm drains by dispersing water over a larger area. Using a swale water drain can enhance environmental sustainability.

French Drains

What Are French Drains?

French drains consist of a perforated pipe placed in a sloped trench, which is then covered with gravel. These drains direct water away from the start point to a lower point, such as a sewer or cistern. French water drains are highly effective in managing subsurface water flow.

Benefits and Uses

French drains are versatile and can be used in various settings, including residential yards and around building foundations. They help prevent water from accumulating in undesirable areas and are particularly useful for addressing issues with soil saturation. Installing a French water drain can help protect your property from long-term water damage.

Trench Drains

What Are Trench Drains?

Trench drains are surface systems that consist of a trench with a drain channel set in place, typically covered with a metal grate. They intercept water flow over large areas and direct it to a drainage point. Trench water drains are essential for managing large volumes of surface water.

Benefits and Uses

Trench drains are commonly used in commercial settings, such as around loading docks and city streets. They are also found in residential driveways and pool decks. These systems are effective for managing large volumes of surface water. Choosing the right trench water drain can prevent significant water damage in high-traffic areas.

HDPE Drains

What Are HDPE Drains?

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) drains are pre-engineered, modular drainage systems known for their durability and ease of installation. They are similar to trench drains but are made from a lightweight, chemically resistant material. HDPE water drains are highly effective and easy to maintain.

Benefits and Uses

HDPE drains are ideal for industrial applications due to their high chemical resistance and durability. They are also suitable for residential and commercial use, providing an efficient and long-lasting drainage solution. An HDPE water drain can withstand harsh conditions and prolonged use.

Cast-In-Place Trench Drains

What Are Cast-In-Place Trench Drains?

These drains involve digging a trench, placing wood forms and reinforcing bars, and casting the trench with concrete. They redirect water and debris from the floor surface into the channel. Cast-in-place water drains are robust and highly customizable.

Benefits and Uses

Although effective, cast-in-place trench drains can be problematic due to their cost and installation complexity. They are often used in industrial settings but are being replaced by more efficient alternatives. Investing in a cast-in-place water drain can provide a durable drainage solution for challenging environments.

Slot Drains

What Are Slot Drains?

Slot drains are a newer type of trench drain that comes as a pre-sloped, pre-assembled single piece. They feature a slim design without the need for a grate covering and are made from durable materials like stainless steel. Slot water drains offer a sleek and efficient solution.

Benefits and Uses

Slot drains are versatile and can be used in various applications, including industrial, food processing, agricultural, and residential settings. Their design allows for quick installation and low maintenance, making them an efficient drainage solution. Opting for a slot water drain can streamline water management in diverse environments.

Why use Drain Blasters?

Cutting edge technology

Drain Blasters only works with the latest technology and equipment, using high pressure water-jetting.

Portable equipment

Our portable equipment can be carried into buildings and lifts in order to access those hard to reach places.

Scalable Equipment

Our fleet ranges in capacity and size from 1 to 10 tonne waste removal capacity and drain clearing capabilities, suitable for residential and industrial blockages.


Highly experienced teams

Our teams are made up of highly experienced individuals who are professional and friendly

24/7 Service

We are on call 24/7 to assist in the case of emergencies and short notice service

Competitive Prices

We offer highly competitive pricing while maintaining a high level of service

Our Services

Drain Clearing

Our experienced experts are available around-the-clock and are equipped with the latest drain clearing tools and technology to get the job done fast and effectively.

Liquid Waste Removal

We offer a professional, socially responsible & price effective solution as a leader in liquid waste management.

Septic Tank Cleaning

We specialize in septic tank cleaning and drainage, whereby we pump out and clean the contents of septic tanks.

Grease Trap Cleaning

Our grease trap cleaning process ensures a free flowing drainage system and alleviates odours in your workplace in a systematic, discreet and environmentally friendly manner.

Grease Traps

We proudly install grease traps into restaurants and institutions which require filtration of grease, fats, and oils from their wastewater.

Sewage Removal

We have extensive expertise and experience in resolving sewerage blockages of all sizes, with special care taken to dispose of sewage safely and effectively.

Areas We Service

Drain Blasters services almost all areas across Cape Town and Surrounding Areas

Airport Industria | Athlone | Atlantic Seaboard | Atlantis | Bakoven | Bantry Bay | Bellville | Bergvliet | Bishopscourt | Blackheath | Bloubergstrand | Bo-Kaap | Boland | Bothasig | Brackenfell | Brooklyn | Camps Bay | Capri Village | CBC | Century City | Claremont | Clifton | Clovelly | Constantia | Crawford | Crossroads | Culemborg | Darling | De Waterkant | Devil's Peak Estate | Diep River | Durbanville | Edgemead | Eersteriver | Elsie's River | Epping | Epping 2 | Epping 1 | Fish Hoek | Foreshore | Franschoek | Fresnaye | Gardens | Glencairn | Goodwood | Gordon's Bay | Green Point | Harfield Village | Heathfield | Hout Bay | Imizamo Yethu | Kalk Bay | Kenilworth | Kenwyn | Killarney Gardens | Kirstenhof | Kommetjie | Kraaifontein | Kreupelbosch | Kuils River | Lakeside | Lansdowne | Llandudno | Lotus River | Maitland | Malmesbury | Mamre | Meadowridge | Melkbosstrand | Milnerton | Montague Gardens | Mouille Point | Mowbray | Muizenberg | Ndabeni | Newlands | Noordhoek | Northern Suburbs | Observatory | Ocean View | Oranjezicht | Paarden Island | Paarl | Panorama | Parklands | Parow | Philippi Industrial | Pinelands | Pinelands | Plattekloof | Plumstead | Retreat | Rondebosch | Rondebosch East | Rosebank | Rugby | Sacks Circle | Salt River | Scarborough | Schotsche Kloof | Sea Point | Simon's Town | Somerset West | Southern Suburbs | SouthField | St James | Steenberg | Stellenbosch | Stikland | Strand | Sun Valley | Sunnydale | Table View | Tamboerskloof | Thornton | Three Anchor Bay | Tokai | Vredehoek | Waterfront | Wellington | West Beach | Wetton | Woodstock | Wynberg | Zonnebloem