A Guide to Drainage Systems for Paved Surfaces

Drain grate

Proper drainage for paved surfaces is crucial to ensure the longevity and safety of parking lots and municipal roads. Water and other runoff can accumulate without appropriate drainage systems, leading to various issues such as erosion, potholes, and even accidents. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of drainage systems, the types of grates available, how to ensure your system works, and considerations for severe weather conditions.

Importance of Drainage Systems

Drainage systems are essential for paved surfaces as they help to prevent water from pooling and causing damage to the surface. Water can seep into the pavement without proper drainage, leading to potholes and cracks. Furthermore, standing water on a surface can be hazardous for pedestrians and drivers, especially during colder months when it can freeze over, creating a slippery surface.

Road roller on a dirt road

Different Types of Grates

Grates are essential to drainage systems, as they help capture and transport water away from the paved surface. Several types of grates are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Although there are various options to fit each situation, trench grates and catch basin grates are two of the most commonly used options.

Trench Grates 

Trench grates are long, narrow, and designed to capture water from a wide area. They are typically used in parking lots and are often installed in a line along the curb or at the base of a slope. Trench grates are beneficial as they can collect water from a wide area, reducing the risk of pooling and flooding.

Catch Basin Grates 

Catch basin grates (also called storm drains) are typically circular or square and placed at the lowest point in a paved surface to collect water. They are commonly used in municipal roads and parking lots and are connected to a network of pipes and culverts that transport water away from the paved surface. Catch basin grates are advantageous as they can capture a large amount of water, reducing the risk of flooding.

Slopes in a Parking Lot

Slopes are a vital consideration in parking lot design as they can affect the flow of water and the effectiveness of drainage systems. Parking lots should be designed with a slight slope so water can flow toward the drainage system. The ideal slope for a parking lot is between 2-5%, with a minimum slope of 2% to ensure proper drainage. If the slope is too steep, water can flow too quickly, leading to erosion, and if it’s too flat, water can accumulate and lead to standing water.

How to Ensure the System is Working

It’s essential to ensure that your drainage system works correctly to prevent any damage to the paved surface. Regular inspections can help identify drainage system issues, allowing for timely repairs. During inspections, looking for signs of pooling or standing water and pavement cracks or potholes is important. You should also inspect the grates to ensure they are clear of debris and functioning correctly.

Drone photo of an asphalt surface installation

Severe Weather Concerns

Severe weather conditions can significantly impact drainage systems, potentially damaging the paved surface. Heavy rainfall and snowfall can overwhelm the drainage system, leading to flooding and erosion. During severe weather conditions, monitoring the drainage system and clearing any debris that may have accumulated in the grates is essential. It may be necessary to install additional drainage measures, such as sandbags, to prevent water from accumulating in certain areas.

Proper drainage for paved surfaces is crucial to ensure the longevity and safety of parking lots and municipal roads. Drainage systems, including grates, slopes, and catch basins, are essential for any paved surface and should be regularly inspected to ensure they function correctly. Additionally, severe weather conditions can significantly impact drainage systems, and it’s important to take measures to prevent damage to the paved surface. By following these guidelines, you are on your way to having your paved surface be a lasting investment. 

Work With Leritz Busy Bee

At Leritz Busy Bee, we know all things asphalt and paving. We are experts in our field and have decades of experience that we bring to every project we’re involved with. Our team is ready to work with you on new pavement projects, asphalt maintenance, and municipal asphalt projects. Contact us today!