Can you cover a basement floor drain? ANSWERED

You are finishing your basement and are wondering if you can cover the floor drain. Let’s explore this in detail.

There is a good reason why there is often a floor drain in a basement. Basement flooding is one of the most common and destructive home emergencies. The risk of it happening to you is small, but the impact can be huge. 

In a matter of minutes, water can destroy your belongings, furniture, and walls, as well as compromise the structural integrity of your home.

A basement floor. The drain has been covered.

If your basement has a floor drain, it helps prevent flooding by draining excess water outside instead of inside your home. This is necessary if you have a water heater or washing machine in the basement.

It can also help if you sometimes have rain or water seeping into the basement.

You might wonder if you can cover this drain as you want to finish the basement. Let’s examine this.

Can you cover a basement floor drain?

This depends on the situation.

The floor drain is designed to handle lots of water and debris, so covering it up is not always a great idea. This is mainly a problem if you have groundwater or rainwater seeping into the basement.

Some appliances such as water heaters or washing machines can also need a drain to make sure that the water can flow away if they break.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your local plumbing code and your insurance. Covering the drain can involve some risks that you have to be aware of. You can change the location of the water heater or washing machine to avoid problems. It is also possible to insulate the walls so that groundwater doesn’t seep into the basement.

Covering a basement floor drain can have its advantages though. This drain is often connected to the city sewer system or your own septic system. If this backup, they can release dirty water or even sewage into your basement. Basements are in the lower part of the house and are more prone to backing up water.

You should know where the drain runs and how it is connected with the rest of your plumbing system. This avoids problems later on. If you don’t have plans of this, you can hire a plumber to run a camera through the drain. With a camera, it is possible to see how the drains are connected. It is also possible to see if there is dirt and dust in the drain.

Before you cover the drain, it can be a great idea to place a small cup inside it for a few weeks. It is possible that small amounts of water (or condensation) form and that the drain is actually used. If you cover the drain up anyway, it can result in mold or wet spots. 

You can also install another drain cover that is smaller if you notice that some water is still going through this.

You can also use a humidity meter to check this out. A lot of basements are very humid. Installing a fan or dehumidifier can also help in these situations. Water can cause a lot of damage in a basement so it is something that you have to monitor.

It is also possible to use a moisture meter to check for wet spots before you cover the drain in the basement.

How to cover Your Basement Floor Drain

Just covering the drain with carpet, a rubber mat or flooring can lead to problems. Drains can smell if they don’t get water in them and it can also attract insects. For this reason, it is important that you cover the drain correctly.

You can opt for a temporary solution such as adding a cap. These caps are often quite cheap and easy to remove if you want to. If you notice that this works quite well, you can move over to a more permanent solution.

More permanent solutions can involve removing the drain or filling it with concrete. Removing a drain can be difficult if it runs under the slab. For this reason, plumbers sometimes fill the drain with concrete. It is almost impossible to open the drain after this so you have to make sure that it won’t lead to problems before doing this. 

It is often possible to remove a part of the drain and keep the rest. Drains are generally made out of plastic so you can cut them or heat them up to remove a part of them.

Sand and rocks are also an option but these might break away over time. For this reason, most plumbers don’t use these materials to cover the drain. 

You should also check the cleanout of the drain and cover this as well if needed.

To conclude, we can state that it is often possible to cover the drain in the basement. It is possible that you have to make some adjustments though. These can involve moving the washing machine and sealing the basement.

It is also essential to study the situation before you commit to closing the drain permanently. It can be quite hard to reopen the drain as this can be installed under the slab. Digging under the slab is a lot of work and this is expensive. For this reason, it is important to check with a plumber before you close the drain with concrete or other materials.

Some houses have a pump to remove the water that was coming through the drain in the basement. You can remove this pump if you have closed the drain. This makes sure that the pump doesn’t break.

To conclude, we can state that it is often possible to close the drain in a basement but it is necessary to examine the situation before you do this. This avoids potential damage and other problems that can appear later on.