What are Floor Drains?

In this blog post, you’ll read:Floor drains are an essential part of indoor runoff and wastewater management. They enable safe and efficient water handling in commercial workplaces and homes, preventing the buildup of standing water that can lead to health hazards.

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Floor drains are an essential part of indoor runoff and wastewater management. They enable safe and efficient water handling in commercial workplaces and homes, preventing the buildup of standing water that can lead to health hazards.

If you’re considering installing or upgrading a floor drain in your business or home, it’s important to know how it works. The types of floor drains that are available, as well as installation and maintenance advice, will all be covered in this tutorial.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to choose and care for the best floor drain for your needs.

How Do Floor Drains Work?

Floor drains are an effective way to eliminate any excess water in your home. They are often found in basements of older homes as a measure to prevent any water damage to the house or its contents. From a design perspective, these types of drainage systems are based on physics principles. Newer homes also use floor drains, though they work passively.


The mechanics of an old floor drain are simple: water moves from the house to the drain via gravity. For a floor drain to work properly, it must be installed at the lowest point in a floor that is sloped toward the drain. Once the water reaches the drain, it is dropped into a sewer system that carries it away from the house. No matter your home’s system, floor drains play an important role in keeping things running smoothly.

Even homes with septic tanks need floor drains to prevent flooding. Newer models of floor drains may also come equipped with pumps to move water when necessary.

In short, floor drains are vital to any home plumbing system. Without them, homes would quickly become flooded with water each time it rains, or there is a major spill.

Waste Traps

Traps Cleanout

For a floor drain to function properly, it must have a trap. This trap is similar to the ones used under kitchen and bathroom fixtures and helps to prevent noxious sewer gases from entering the home. The trap is filled with water, which allows for proper drainage and maintains neutral air pressure in the system. For the floor drain to work properly, it is important to have a vent to the outside air.

Cleanout Plugs

Cleanout Plugs

Most floor drains have cleanout plugs. The cleanout plug is a rubber stopper secured with a bolt and wing nut. A cleanout is an aperture in the floor drain through which blockages may be dislodged.

The cleanout is generally kept plugged.

The cleanout is generally kept plugged. Corrosion can cause the plugs to rust and break, necessitating their replacement. The plug must be changed if this happens in some drains. In floor drains with a bypass for the U trap, the cleanout bypasses the U trap, so the end of the drain must be kept clear to keep sewer gases out of your home.



Unclogging a floor drain isn’t much different from unclogging any other sewage pipe. A plunger can be used to clear clogged floor drains in certain situations. In some cases, it may be necessary to use the cleanout plug. More expert techniques might require the assistance of a plumber and related tools. Inserting a water hose as far as it will go into the drain and turning it on may sometimes be enough to flush out debris.


Floor drains can get clogged just like any other kind of drain. Because they are on the floor, dirt and debris tend to gather, and they might become blocked more frequently than different types of drains. That garbage often makes its way into the drain.

Many homeowners don’t consider floor drain repair until it’s too late because they’re frequently overlooked. Many floor drain problems may be prevented with advanced planning and basic maintenance. Following these simple maintenance activities will guarantee that your floor drains perform their job when needed, preventing floods and costly water damage.


Overflow from sinks, toilets, tubs, water heaters, and washing machines is collected by indoor floor drains. During and after strong rainstorms, outdoor floor drains rapidly remove water from surfaces. Whether indoors or outdoors, floor drains are intended to effectively and safely transport water to a sewer or municipal storm drain, keeping the floor dry and rooms from flooding. Trap traps prevent sewer odours and gasses from making their way through the drain and into your home. Check your traps at least once each day, if not more frequently. If you don’t clean these drains regularly, they won’t work effectively; Pour one gallon of water down each of your home’s floor drains to ensure that they are working correctly. The water will fill the trap and form a barrier between your home and its sewer system.


If you catch a clog early on, clean it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of flooding. If it doesn’t work, try pouring a baking soda and vinegar solution down the drain. If you have a drain auger, insert the cable down the drain until it encounters resistance, then spin the cable and try to reel back whatever is obstructing the drain.

draining the tank


Check your drains for debris at least once a quarter and clean them if necessary using a safe, liquid drain cleaner. It’s also a good idea to arrange professional drain cleanings once a year to avoid obstructions and keep your drains working smoothly.

Following these simple tips can avoid many common problems with floor drains. By staying on top of maintenance and keeping an eye out for potential issues, you can keep your floor drains working properly for years to come.

Where Should a Floor Drain Be Placed?

  1. Except in a dwelling unit, toilet rooms with two or more water closets or a combination of one water closet and one urinal are prohibited.
  2. In the case of food service and commercial kitchens, comply with Section 704.3.
  3. Laundry rooms in commercial structures and common laundry facilities in multi-family residences.
  4. Boiler rooms.

To handle runoff from activities or use, floor drains must be placed in a room or space at the lowest possible point. You might need to install multiple floor drains in a work area or large room. Regarding drainage in a business setting, such as a brewery or food processing factory, floor drains may not be the most effective solution, and slot drains may have to be installed around the workstation. The shape of the working area can determine the best type of drain for your needs.

In-home situations, floor drains are typically installed in showers or areas where water runoff might collect. A gradual slope for these drains is frequently straightforward, and situating the drain in a central area is often sufficient. The form of the space may also influence the style of your drain. The point, linear, rectangular, and slotted drains are available in shower applications.

The drainage type you choose can significantly influence the drain’s overall function. The positioning of various drain designs is crucial to their functionality. Point drains must nearly always be installed in the center of a gently sloped area, although linear and slot drains can be installed at the margins of space with a slope running down to them from a central high position. There are several approaches to developing the best drainage solution for your needs, but you must be aware of the restrictions of each drain type and arrange them appropriately to maximize their effectiveness.

Do Floor Drains Need Vents?

Floor drains needs

Floor drains need a vent to ensure balanced airflow and proper drainage. Water may produce suction or a vacuum without a vent, and sewage gas can leak into your house or company. This is most commonly seen in shower floor drains, but vents may be utilized in various applications.

Most vents must be situated eight feet vertically away from the drain; however, in other cases, a shorter distance of five feet is required. The typical vent size for shower drains is 1 ½ inch, but it can be extended as needed to fit your installation and drainage setup.

Many drainage solutions employ a trap and a vent, so you get double protection from sewer smells and runoff. This can be critical when delivering wastewater to a catch basin or sump. Check code requirements in your area before deciding which prevention measures are right for you. Some states or counties require specific combinations of measures related to sewer gas and runoff.

What Are the Kinds of Floor Drains?

Floor drains come in various types, each suited for a different purpose. The four most common types are grate, channel, trench, and floor sink drains. Each type has a specific use, so it’s important to know which one is right for your needs.

Box Floor Drain

Removable lift hook drain

If you ask someone to name a type of floor drain, they will likely describe it. It has a grate that is either rounded or square, and it goes over a box that collects water until it moves through the pipes and becomes wastewater.

sizes of floor drain

Many of these drains come with a filter that strains out any bigger pieces of debris so they don’t clog up the drainage pipes. You usually see this in home showers and bathroom sinks. They’re really easy to unclog and maintain yourself–all you have to do is clean out the filter every once in a while.

Baseboard Floor Drains

Baseboard Floor Drains

Baseboard floor drains are linear drainage solutions commonly installed in basements and large areas with a lot of runoff water. This drain collects water in a channel and sends it to other drainage piping and the sewer.

piping solution

This drain style rests at floor level and relies on the slope built into it to remove water effectively. While it can be difficult to maintain if not installed perfectly, it is not the preferred drainage method for most commercial or home uses.

Foundation Floor Drains

Foundation Floor Drains

A storm drain is a manhole that directs water away from a home or business’s foundation and into the sewage system. Groundwater may accumulate when significant rain or storms hit; this drain is used to eliminate it.


This is not a drain that requires much upkeep every year. Though this drain needs to be cleaned a few times annually, it is not considered a high-maintenance drainage issue on your property.

Floor Trench Drains

Floor Trench Drains

Trench drains are widely used in both residential and commercial settings. They are the finest choice if you have a large volume of water to deal with. They’re easy to maintain and clean, and they’re the best option if you have enough water to deal with. These drains come in various sizes and depths, as well as different grating types for allowing water to flow into them at various paces.

Floor drains are an important part of any home or business. They allow water and other liquids to be drained away quickly and safely, preventing accidents and damage. There are many different floors drains, each with its unique purpose. Some are designed for use in commercial settings, while others are more suited for residential applications. Whatever your needs, there is a floor drain that will fit the bill.

Trench drains

Floor drains come in various materials, so you can find one that meets your specific needs. Stainless steel is a good option if you need a heavy-duty drain for a commercial setting. If you need a drain that is lightweight and easy to install, plastic may be a better choice. Whichever material you choose, select a grate or slotted cover to keep debris from accumulating in the trench.

Wrapping up

There are various floor drains available on the market, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It is critical to examine the requirements of your specific space before selecting a floor drain, as different drains are better suited for various applications. In general, floor drains should be installed in areas with high water runoff to prevent standing water from becoming an issue. When choosing a floor drain, it is also critical to examine the slope of your floors as well as the flexibility of your current drainage system. You can avoid the nuisance and dangers of standing water in your home or business by properly caring for your floor drains and using them correctly.

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