How Much Do Trench Drains Cost?

trench drains cost

Trench drains are a great solution to handle large quantities of liquid runoff. They are usually located at the bottom of a hill or rise, and they collect the runoff that goes through the soil to keep it from flooding the area at the bottom of the hill.

Drainage solutions can vary widely as far as cost because there are lots of factors that go into determining how to design the drainage field and what materials will be needed to make it work right. If you are struggling to decide what the right trench drain design is for your needs and your budget, you are probably not alone!

There are some factors that always affect the cost of a trench drain. Read on to learn about the cost of different types of trench drains so that you can pick the right one for your needs!

How Much Do Trench Drains Cost?

There are various kinds of trench drains, and they all cost different amounts. The type will often be decided by whether your drain is being added to a new home construction project or whether it is a retrofit for an older drain field.

On top of this, there are some material choices that need to be determined that may be affected by the location and the amount of runoff that your trench drain is intended to handle.

The Cost of Radius Trench Drains

These complex drains are curved by design and are used in situations where the runoff needs to be collected prior to meeting a curved sidewalk or driveway. They are also used in situations where a curved slope is required for aesthetics or to meet the standards for a specific landscaping design.

Trench drains are often 2” through 24” in width. They can be ornamental or plain, depending on your needs. They are also often 4” in diameter to 12”. This means that radius drains can be quite flexible to meet the needs of your project and your aesthetic desires.

These drains are common in garden settings or around pools, and they make a nice, seamless transition between grass and other surfaces when you have a slope in your yard. This is the best way to deal with a large amount of water without building a giant ditch-style drain or having to insert multiple square drains throughout an area.

The average cost for this type of drain is $30 to $150 an installed foot. If you are using concrete and metal, the cost will be at the higher end of the range, and if you select plastic and wood, you will get close to the lower end of the range. The materials that are required will likely need to be chosen in part based on the demands of your overall project and the weather and stresses that the drain will be subjected to.

Chemical Trench Drain

If you need a drain that can hold up to ,chemical runoff, you will need to invest in a chemical trench drain. These drains are shaped similarly to the classic radius style drain, or they can be made in straight segments for areas like the edge of a garage or other space that needs this additional drain type.

A chemical trench drain will come in size 2” to 24” and can be as wide as 48”. The primary difference with this type of drain is that the drain body will be made of vinyl ester, which is resistant to chemical compounds that can cause erosion or damage to the drain itself and the surfaces near it.

This type of drain is also installed with extra attention to the seals of the segments. Chemicals need to be contained within the drain and run properly into the containment location at the termination of the drain field. You do not want seepage at the drain joints or seams.

This type of drain can be more expensive due to the installation process and because of the higher-durability products that are needed to make it. The cost per installed foot of this type of drain can range from $40 to $150.

The main difference in installed cost for this type of drain is often related to the need to do extra work on seams and joints and the requirement for a well-prepped drain field that will capture the chemical runoff properly.

Pre-fabricated Trench Drains Price Points

cost of trench drains

These handy drains come already prepared in segments and can be made from a variety of materials. This is the right drain choice for a myriad of drainage needs.

You can select these drains from 2” all the way to 48” in width. Smaller drains will not need as much depth in the installation process, and the slope may only need to be as small as 0.5%. This means that you may have a much smaller overall cost when using this type of trench drain.

Materials make a big difference with this drain type, and frame options can include steel, fiberglass, brass, plastic, and many other material choices. The stresses that the drain will be placed under, as well as the surrounding area, can make a big difference when you are deciding what material your prefabricated trench drain needs to be made from.

The smallest size of this kind of trench made with precast materials costs $85 per installed foot on average. You will have added cost if you opt for higher quality materials or decorative additions to the basic drains themselves.

If you need a much larger drain for your project, the 24” pre-fabricated trench drains will be $185 per installed foot. This cost could also range up and down, depending on the materials that you choose and decorative options.

This is a great value to be able to add a completed section of drain to your project without needing to create each drain from scratch.

Cost of Utility Trench Drains

This drain type is intended for use when you need a space for sewer, gas, chemical piping, and high-voltage lines. The drain is pre-sloped so that it will fit nicely into the area that is prepared for it, and you can buy various widths all the way to 48” wide. This is a nice fit for your complete chemical draining system if you need it or for a new construction project that needs a lot of lines placed in the ground.

Utility trench drains can be made to fit various shapes and needs, from straight drains to sweeping drains. You can also pick custom frames for each of the types of use that this type of drain might be needed for. You can also select the option of having them made double thick to protect against chemical seepage.

These start at 10” wide and cost around $187 per installed foot. The largest size, at 48” wide, starts at around $510 per installed foot. For pre-made and secure drains, that is a great price. You will be thrilled with the protection that this kind of pre-fabricated drain can offer sensitive or potentially harmful items that need to be buried for your project.

Once you see what this type of drain can offer, you will be shocked that you ever buried anything directly into the ground without this kind of additional protection. Installation, concealment, and protection of sensitive piping and lines are so much easier when you use utility trench drains in your remodel or new building project.

Slot Drain Usage and Pricing

trench drains price

Slot drains are a clever solution to spaces where you cannot place a grate on the top of the drain itself. These drains are essentially tubing that is connected to a small slot at the top of the pipe. These drains cannot handle the volume of other trench drains, but they are a good solution for certain areas which do not have the flexibility to include a bigger drain choice.

Many of these slot drains will be made of metal, and they might be anywhere from 4” to 36”. The 4” option will cost you $129 an installed foot, which is not bad at all. These drains hold up well so long as they are placed correctly and supported properly at the time of installation. They do not have the flat bottom of other pre-fabricated trench types, which can support more weight.

Possible Added Costs to Your Drainage Project

Drains by themselves may not comprise all of the items that you will need to make fit into your budget. Depending on the location and needs of your drainage location, you may have to add additional items to make your drains function correctly.

Most of these items will need to be assessed for cost by your installation person. There are unique cases where these items will need to be custom-made in order to fit the needs of your project.

Pipe Connections

While pre-fabricated trench drains often don’t need any connections to make them work properly, you might sometimes need a little extra support at outlet and inlet spaces. Outlet and inlet pipes will have to be 4” or more below the surface and need to be strong enough to hold up to the pressure of water flowing over them all day.

These can vary quite a bit in cost related to the material that these items are made of, the size that is needed for the job, and many other factors.

End Plates

These close off the ends of a trench to make sure that a trench drain does not have issues being water-tight. These can be fitted with sealant or screws and often do not add a significant additional cost to your install.

Drain Sealant Pricing

These can range quite a bit in price depending on what kind of sealant you have selected. Smaller batches can be $5 for 2 oz, but larger bulk purchases will cost less. It is always best to get a quality joint sealant that you can apply with a caulk gun.

These sealants are usually urethane or polyester, with polyester being higher quality as far as chemical resistance and water-proofing.

Cost of Trench Drain Frames

These are commonly needed for trench drains and they can make for an easy installation as well as providing a nicer, more finished look for your completed drain.

These come premade in various materials, or they might need to be custom-made to get the exact look that you are searching for. The cost of custom frames will be more than a pre-made frame, of course. These items may have been budgeted into your original total cost per foot, but you should always ask if this is the case before you make an assumption about this part of the job.


These are usually made of plastic and are fairly affordable. They often come in 3” wide of 5” wide and are slotted plastic rectangles that drop into the top of the drain. For 24” of the 3” width, you will only pay $27.30.

If you decide to choose custom designs or transition to metal for this function, your cost could double or triple quite easily. There are instances where a decorative or a hardy metal drain screen might be the right choice for your need, but in many cases, plastic drain screens are just fine.

Proper Trench Drainage is a Worthwhile Investment

price of trench drains

If you have gotten sick of standing water on your property, or you are sick of dealing with standing water around a pool or a fountain, you are probably ready for a good drainage solution to deal with this issue.

Taking the time to decide on the right drainage design for your needs and making sure to budget for any additional costs can take the stress out of the installation process. If you have been worrying about how to make the right drainage installation decision, you just need to make sure to work with an expert to get a quote for the time and labor involved.

With a detailed quote in hand, you can start planning your new drainage system that will make your next project beautiful and free of standing water!

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