Top 10 Considerations for Stainless Steel Trench Drains

Top 10 Considerations for Stainless Steel Trench Drains


Stainless steel trench drain systems have emerged as a popular choice in various industries due to their durability, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal. Compared to alternatives like HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) or polymer concrete, stainless steel trench drains offer distinct advantages, making them the preferred solution for demanding applications. This article explores the features, benefits, and industries where stainless steel trench drain systems, particularly those made of 316 and 304 stainless steel, excel.

  1. Corrosion Resistance: One of the primary reasons stainless steel trench drains are widely used is their exceptional resistance to corrosion. Both 316 and 304 stainless steel contain a high percentage of chromium, which forms a passive oxide layer on the surface, protecting the metal from environmental and chemical corrosion. This corrosion resistance makes stainless steel trench drain systems suitable for applications where exposure to moisture, chemicals, and corrosive substances is common.
  2. Durability and Longevity: Stainless steel trench drain systems are engineered to withstand heavy loads and provide long-lasting performance. The robust nature of stainless steel ensures resistance against impacts, abrasion, and structural stresses, making them suitable for high-traffic areas and industrial environments. The combination of strength and corrosion resistance results in a durable solution that requires minimal maintenance and offers a prolonged service life.
  3. Hygienic Properties: In industries where cleanliness and sanitation are crucial, such as food and beverage processing, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare facilities, stainless steel trench drains are an ideal choice. The smooth surface of stainless steel inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and other contaminants, making it easier to maintain a sterile environment. Additionally, stainless steel is nonporous, preventing the absorption of liquids, chemicals, or odors that could compromise hygiene standards.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: Stainless steel trench drain systems enhance the visual appeal of facilities due to their sleek and polished finish. The modern and professional appearance of stainless steel complements various architectural styles, making it suitable for applications where aesthetics are important, such as commercial buildings, retail spaces, and public areas.
  5. Heat and Cold Resistance: Stainless steel trench drain systems are designed to withstand extreme temperature variations without compromising their structural integrity. This property makes them suitable for use in industries that experience high-temperature processes, such as food processing plants, breweries, and chemical manufacturing facilities. Stainless steel can resist thermal expansion and contraction, ensuring reliable performance in demanding conditions.

Industries that Utilize Stainless Steel Trench Drain Systems: Stainless steel trench drain systems find applications in a wide range of industries, including:

  1. Food and Beverage Processing: Stainless steel's hygienic properties and corrosion resistance make it a preferred choice in food processing plants, commercial kitchens, and breweries.
  2. Chemical and Pharmaceutical: Industries involving the handling of corrosive chemicals and pharmaceutical production benefit from the chemical resistance and durability of stainless steel trench drains.
  3. Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities: Stainless steel trench drains are used in manufacturing plants, industrial warehouses, and factories where heavy machinery, equipment, and vehicle traffic are common.
  4. Healthcare and Laboratories: Hospitals, laboratories, and research facilities require sterile environments, and stainless steel trench drains meet the stringent cleanliness standards.
  5. Commercial and Retail Spaces: Stainless steel trench drains are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal, making them suitable for shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, and office buildings.

Traditional cast iron grates, polymer grates and steel grates just don't cut it sometimes.  Stainless steel trench drains are often chosen for their superior durability. Stainless steel trench drains handle boiling temperaturesfreeze and thaw cycles, and caustic chemicals  at a higher efficiency rate than any other drainage allow.

Stainless steel trench drain systems can come in various sizes and configurations. Sometimes HDPE channels are utilized with stainless steel grates.  Stainless is used because its resilience to chemicals and low oxidation potential.  Stainless is typically used for its sanitary and non-reactive characteristics.

The top ten benefits of stainless steel include:

  1. Strength
  2. Chemical Resilience
  3. Temperature Resistance
  4. Hygiene
  5. Safety
  6. Economy
  7. Efficiency
  8. Waterflow
  9. Versatility
  10. Low Oxidation Potential


Stainless is often used as it is inert in the presence of caustic chemicals. Heavy duty stainless steel grates are forklift rated. Grate options include: ADA, Heel Proof, Bolted and Decorative.







Generally speaking, 304 is used with because of its high resilience to chemicals and 316 is used because of its high specific heat.  Stainless is used in the food processing industry, breweries, and medical labs, kitchens, production facilities, storage coolers, bottling plants and more. Typical grades for stainless steel are 301 and 304 but its not uncommon to find other designations depending on the job.


We have and can make stainless steel trench drains with any slope, however, more often than not, .5% and 1.0% slopes are used.  Or 1 degree per foot.  Neutral systems can also be furnished and can do the job, by definition the momentum of water in a neutral system can usually be enough to divert the water to its intended area.


There are a few considerations when choosing a stainless steel trench drain.  The first of which is if you want both stainless grates and a stainless channel.  HDPE channels hold up in many circumstances but some projects call for stainless steel channels.  Also, consider the load bearing.  Are there going to be pitch forks and fork lifts driving over the grates? Then stainless reinforced frames should be employed.  If its just pedestrian traffic, then go with “heels proof ada” grates or perforated grates so there is no trip hazard.

Stainless steel trench drains see extensive use across a diverse range of industries. There are several reasons for architects, town planners and construction engineers to prefer the installation of stainless steel trench drains over other types, made out of materials like polymer plastic and iron. Let's look at what these might be.



1. Strength


Stainless steel trench drains being made out of an alloy are very strong and durable, when compared with those made out of other materials. Because an investment in installing a trench drain system is meant to be a long term one, the choice of one made out of stainless steel makes a lot of sense.

Stainless steel trench drains can withstand extreme temperatures quite well making them just right for installation in facilities that see extreme heat or freezing temperatures, something that is not uncommon in industrial settings. The corrosion-resistant properties of stainless steel also allow trench drains made out of this material to handle chemical discharges with ease. Stainless steel grates used on trench drain systems are capable of coping with heavy loads, allowing even heavy equipment to be placed over them with ease.



Heel Proof Stainless Steel Trench Drain

2. Chemical Resilience


Stainless is often chosen because of its general inertness to caustic chemicals. Stainless maintains its functionality and chemical integrity under chemical duress, acids and bases.





3. Temperature Resistance


Stainless steel trench drains can withstand boiling liquids and freeze and thaw cycles.  Stainless is one of the strongest and most functional drainage allows.



4. Hygiene


Stainless steel is a material that is smooth and solid, making it quite easy to clean trench drains made out of it. Stainless steel grates too can be quite easily cleaned with there being no danger of any waste getting stuck along the edges. Furthermore, the nonporous nature of stainless steel is resistant to the growth of contaminants like bacteria. It is not surprising therefore that industries such as food processing and commercial establishments like restaurants and foodservice facilities prefer to get stainless steel drains installed on their premises over those made out of other materials.




Square Slot Stainless Steel Pool Trench Drain


5. Safety


Owing to its strength, there is less chance of a stainless steel drains and grates crumbling under any kind of pressure and weight. This considerably lowers the likelihood of anybody suffering an injury on account of a broken or damaged trench drain system. Besides, stainless steel grates are lightweight and can be easily removed to facilitate the cleaning of the drains, minimizing the chances of workers getting accidentally hurt while doing their job.




Stainless Steel Slot Drain System



6. Economy


Installing a stainless steel trench drain saves money over the long run in several ways. Not only is stainless steel intrinsically an economical material, but its durability and longevity also make it even more so. Stainless steel grates, in particular, will not have to be replaced in a very long time, due to their strength and durability, saving one thousands of dollars in replacement expenditure. Also, the fact that stainless steel trench drains can be easily cleaned helps one save money as well.




Decorative Stainless Steel Trench Drain


7. Efficient and Minimal Upkeep Required


Stainless steel trench drains being lightweight are quite easy to install. All it takes is a single person to manage a stainless steel trench drain system. That is the reason why stainless steel trench drains become the automatic choice for so many industries.




Stainless Steel Catch Basin


8. Enables High Flow


Stainless steel trench drains enable a high flow of liquid making them eminently suitable for industrial and commercial applications. With trench drain widths varying from three-fourths of an inch to more than forty-eight inches, stainless steel trench drains can accommodate any volume of flow.



Stainless Steel Catch Basin Pits



9. Versatility


There are all manner of options available in trench drains. For example, one could even order stainless trench drains as long as forty feet to minimize the need for welding. The premier stainless steel manufacturers can create diverse custom-designed drainage systems serving the needs of a multitude of industries- food and beverages, meat processing, chemicals, munitions and so on.

Stainless steel trench drains come in a variety of styles including a V-bottom profile, a flat bottom profile, slot drains and those equipped with catch basins or floor sinks. These can lend themselves to different applications across myriad industries.

There are several important things that one needs to know about stainless steel trench drain systems and the paraphernalia that accompanies them, before deciding on installing a system. Let's look at what these might be.




Stainless Steel Trench Drain Kits


10. Low Oxidation Potential


Where cast iron may oxidize or corrode and polymer degrade stainless holds up over time. Stainless exhibits greater functional strengths relative to its allow counterparts.



Build Quality


Considering that trench drain systems are a long term investment, one should ensure that the build quality of the stainless steel trench drain system one is thinking of installing is out of the top drawer. For instance, the premier quality manufacturers would deploy 304 or 306 construction conforming to heavy-duty 12 gauge material standard. These should also make Schedule 10 and Schedule 40 outlets available. The preferred slope for stainless steel trench drain is one eights inch per square foot or a customized slope as per the client's specifications.


Stainless Steel Infographic



Additional Options


Stainless steel trench drains can come with additional options conforming to client requirements. These include floor sinks, catch basins, outlet or basket strainers, secondary strainers, inline sumps, locking or bolt down covers and levelling brackets.

Equally important are the trench drain cover operations provided to customers. These may come in the shape of bar grate, solid plate, slotted solid plate, formed cover and chem grate.



Stainless Steel ADA and Heelproof Grate


Final Thoughts


Stainless steel trench drains are increasingly preferred over trench drains materials made out of other materials because of the obvious advantages they present. These are stronger, more durable, corrosion and extreme temperature resistant, light to handle, hygienic, easy to install and maintain and extremely cost-effective over the long run.

Besides, these types of trench drains can see use across diverse industries, which cannot be said to be the case with other types of material with which trench drains are built. In light of the high importance given to the safety factor in industries like food and beverages, commercial kitchens and restaurants, the choice of stainless steel trench drains is a no brainer.

Not only are stainless steel trench drains long-lasting and resilient, but these are also highly diverse, versatile and customizable making them ideal for installation across a diverse range of industries. Of course, what is important is that one sources these from credible manufactures and suppliers who adhere to prescribed standards. Once these are installed, the right kind of stainless steel trench drains will provide very long years of trouble-free service.





Perforated Stainless Steel Grate








Stainless steel bar grating are used in high volume areas such as

  • Warehouses   • Manufacturing Plants  • Chemical Facilities   • Food Processing   • Breweries


Perforated Stainless steel are used as the small holes or perforations keep debris out.  The holes are generally 3/16” or ¼” big and typical installations are

  • Patios    • Small Warehouses    • Showers    • Breweries


Slotted Stainless steel grates are used due to its large open surface area and ability to drain and capture large amounts.  Typical cases are

  • Locker Rooms   • Pool Decks   • Laboratories   • Wineries


Stainless steel can also be employed in perimeter applications. Made in standard 1/4” or 1/2” plate using 304 or 316 steel, perimeter grates are preferred in corrosive and trafficked areas. Typical use cases are industrial plants and manufacturing plants


What to consider when working a custom project?

  • Dimensions (L x W x H)
  • Expected load requirements (foot traffic vs. fork lifts)
  • Chemical requirements (chemical plants, breweries etc)
  • Grate Style (slotted, perforated or bar)

We stock and carry over 12 different stainless steel trench drain specifications suitable for any job. Need a custom size? Give us a call at 646-227-0910.

Stainless Trench Drains