About Garage Floor Drains

The garage is a good place for a floor drain. Garages are often multipurpose rooms where cars are parked, trash cans are stored, laundry is washed, and household supplies are stored. A drain makes it easier to clean the floor in this multipurpose room.

The garage door is also frequently opened and closed, and when this happens on rainy or snowy days, water from outside can find its way into the garage. Wet cars, bikes, recreational equipment, and soaked raincoats and boots are other sources of water winding up on the garage floor.

All of these reasons make it helpful to have a functioning floor drain in the garage.

Some garages have a floor drain installed when the house is built. In other situations, it is possible to install a floor drain the garage retroactively.

Using, Maintaining, and Installing a Garage Floor Drain

There are two types of drains used in garage floors.

In some cases, the drain is a round hole which looks much like a large drain hole in the shower, except a bit larger. The drain hole is covered with a round or square metal grate, and the garage floor is sloped so that water flows toward the drain from all areas. At least, that is how it should be, if the drain and floor were constructed properly.

The other type of drain used in garages is a trench drain. This type of drain is composed of a shallow trench covered with a long metal grate, running the width of the garage and located just outside the garage door.

In order to function properly, the garage floor, and sometimes the driveway as well, must slope toward the drain, and the drain itself must slope from one side to the other.

Both types of garage floor drains must have an outlet, leading the water to a suitable discharge point away from the house and garage. In some cases, a garage floor drain is connected to the sewer. In other situations, the drain leads to the curb where water flows into the storm drain system.

If a garage floor drain is blocked, a plumbers snake can be used to open the blockage, just as it is used for clearing any other drain in the home.

If a garage does not already have a floor drain, the easiest type to install retroactively is a trench drain outside the garage door. However, installing a trench drain is still a fairly involved job. Installing a trench drain retroactively requires cutting-out a swath of concrete to accommodate the drain. Further digging must also be done to connect the drain to a suitable outlet point. In addition, the floor may not have the necessary slope toward the drain and may need to be re-poured.

If a floor drain is already in place in the garage, it is important to keep it cleaned out, so it will function properly. The grate can be lifted up and removed from a trench drain, making it possible to remove debris and dirt. An indoor/outdoor vacuum works well for removing this debris. The grate can also be lifted off of a floor drain hole inside the garage, and debris near the opening can be pulled or vacuumed out.

While having a garage floor drain is a helpful way of preventing water from pooling on the garage floor, these drains should never be used for disposal of hazardous waste. Do not pour oil, paint, or dirty gasoline down a garage floor drain. Take these hazardous materials to an approved hazardous waste disposal center instead.

If your garage does not already have a floor drain and you want to install one, first check the slope of the floor. If the floor slopes toward the garage door, installing a trench drain outside the door is probably the best option. If the floor slopes toward a low spot inside the garage, it may be possible to install a floor drain at the lowest point.

Retroactively installing a garage floor drain is not a simple job. It may be necessary to pour a layer of concrete over the existing floor in order to achieve the necessary slope. A slope of at least 1/8 inch per foot is needed for adequate drainage.

About the Author

Commonwealth Garage Door is a Richmond, VA garage door repair company servicing Glen Allen, Chesterfield, Henrico and other locals around Richmond.

Installing a floor drain in a garage is a job for a qualified contractor. Contact us for more information and ideas about installing and maintaining a garage floor drain in your Virginia garage.