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A Home Owner’s Guide Cover To Drain Repair And Replacement

iron grate of a storm drainage system on the side of a footpath made of pavers near a green lawn top view

Although owning a house can be considered a massive milestone in adulthood, learning to maintain one is a different kind of beast. Because on top of keeping track of the bills, you also have to keep yourself on your toes when it comes to maintaining certain parts of the house that are important. One of which is the drain cover. 

Typically, the drain cover tends to be overlooked because it’s easy to blend in with the rest of its surroundings. However, consequences like flooding can be a result of its neglect.

Why Do Drain Covers Break

Whether they’re used for shower drains or sewage, drain covers are designed to filter out objects big enough to cause blockage on the drainage which may attract pests. Typically, the materials used for the indoor drains in your bathroom are plastic or metal. However, for outdoors, it’s strictly all-metal materials which can be aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, or galvanized steel, to name a few. 

While all of these materials are sturdy, that doesn’t make them completely resistant to rust or wear and tear, especially with their frequent exposure to water. Eventually, these will break if they are left unrepaired.

Can You Repair Drain Covers

Unfortunately, you can’t repair drain covers, especially the maintenance holes. If there are cracks on its surface, its load capacity would be compromised. The load capacity pertains to how much weight it can handle without any issue.  

 And as you can see from this replacement guide for maintenance holes, even the smallest crack can be dangerous to people who might walk on it.

On another note, while having broken drain covers in your bathrooms or gardens may not be as life-threatening as the cracked maintenance holes, they can still cause some inconvenience. As mentioned earlier, flooding is the typical consequence of broken drain covers.  

Replacing the broken drain cover with a metal sheet could help prevent debris from blocking the drainage. However, doing so will not keep the water from getting directed away from you or your house.

 Closeup of the metal cover for the drainage

How To Replace Drain Covers

When having the drain cover repaired isn’t an option for you, you can have it replaced instead.  Despite functioning as a simple grate that keeps out most of the dirt, drain cover installation and removal are intricate processes which you must have the patience for. In case you decide to do it, here are some things to consider:

1. Identify Who’s Responsible

First thing’s first, you need to determine who owns the damaged drain cover. If it’s within your property, then you will have to shoulder the replacement costs. But if it’s located close enough to where your property is, then you can contact the authorities to have them handle it.

2. Remove The Cover

If you’re confident to do this on your own, proceed with removing the drain cover. Don’t be surprised if it’s not the usual screw-on as there are many indoor drain cover designs in the market. So, what you might have would require you to pull it up first to get to the screws hidden beneath the cover, or you can press on the cover to raise the cap and twist it in a specific direction until you can unscrew it.

3. Take Measurements

Indoor drain covers are typically used in showers. Therefore, you can say that, compared to the outdoor ones, broken indoor drain covers are not too risky. That’s why you can measure the lid from all sides once you’ve removed the cover. This way, you can avoid any problems in getting a replacement because you have the exact measurements.

Other than removing the cover, you must also remove the lid, especially if both are broken. You have to take note of its height, width, depth to ensure your cover is the exact fit as the hole. Otherwise, you might have to go through the trouble of making changes to the concrete to accommodate the drain cover and the lid’s size.  

4. Know The Load Capacity

Apart from taking measurements, determining the load capacity is essential in handling outdoor drain covers. Because machines like lawnmowers can roll over them, you must know how much weight your drain cover and your lid can carry. To do that, first, you must identify what kind of metal the cover is made out of since the capacity to handle varying weights depend on it entirely.

5. Hire A Professional

Before you call it a day, reach out to a professional first. Through them, you can be sure you got the right drain cover. Not only that, but they can also do the work of installing it for you, correctly and securely.


Maintaining a home can be complicated and overwhelming, especially if you’re still new to being a homeowner. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it eventually. But one of the first things you need to learn is how to handle a damaged drain cover.