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Old 05-06-2017, 01:34 PM   #1
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large square drain found in basement


Hi all,

I am refinishing my basement. It had carpet installed directly on the slab and im planning on adding a dricore type product and then laminate. When ripping up the carpet I found a large square hole with plywood over it.

pics here: http://imgur.com/a/rt708

I already have a drain in the basement in my furnace/hot water heater room (other side of basement) I also have a sump pump in that same room. So i found it odd to find another drain. I'm calling it a drain, but it isnt really a drain given that the cap is on.

Is this necessary? Can i cover it up? I have realized this is where the "damp" smell in my basement is coming from.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: large square drain found in basement


The pros will be along, but to me that looks like the cleanout access for a sewer line.

Looking at that water I would not be excited about putting the floor you mentioned over that concrete. A vapor barrier above the concrete will bring that moisture right to the top of the slab. It has been drying through the carpet so far and once you stop the drying everything gets equally wet.

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Old 05-06-2017, 02:39 PM   #3
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Re: large square drain found in basement


yes, you're right - it looks like a sewer cleanout (after googling it).

what can i do about this?

On one hand i am glad to have found the source of the damp smell, but I cant have this in my refinished basement.. this is basically going to be a kids play area. Its a sunny walkout basement and was looking forward to the reno until I found this..

I guess my number one question is: why is it so far underground? Could i not extend the pipe up to floor level, cap it, and pour concrete around it?
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:09 PM   #4
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Re: large square drain found in basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzz View Post
yes, you're right - it looks like a sewer cleanout (after googling it).

what can i do about this?

On one hand i am glad to have found the source of the damp smell, but I cant have this in my refinished basement.. this is basically going to be a kids play area. Its a sunny walkout basement and was looking forward to the reno until I found this..

I guess my number one question is: why is it so far underground? Could i not extend the pipe up to floor level, cap it, and pour concrete around it?

Yes that is what you should do...make sure the sewer line is not leaking 1st ...
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:25 PM   #5
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Re: large square drain found in basement


If by "cap it" you mean extend the clean-out up to floor level, yes you could do that, but the clean-out cap will still have to be accessible. It looks to be in a bit of a corner or alcove - would building a bench or something over it work? I don't know if you could engineer some kind of drop in piece of laminate (in which case the pipe cap would have to be slightly lower).

If that is ground water, by the looks of the wood it's been wet for a while. Is your sump pump doing it's thing? If it's not ground water, you have a repair problem.
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:44 PM   #6
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Re: large square drain found in basement


thanks for the replies.

I'm actually planning built in cabinet above that area. The cabinet will have a 3-4 inch base... so the pipe could even stick up a few inches above the concrete. I'd make sure the pipe is acessible by creating a door on the bottom of the cabinet.

During my googling on this stuff I also came up with the idea that this might be a backflow preventer (in addition to a sewer access). Still no problem with this right? I could extend the pipe and surround it with concrete?

We have had heavy rains here for the last week, with weather advisorys saying lots of rain coming and ground is pretty saturated. I'm sure this is ground water - also doesnt smell at all like sewer.
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:02 PM   #7
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Re: large square drain found in basement


Also, just wondering how common this is, and what they might have been thinking during the install.. (ie why opt to have a huge hole in the slab?)
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Old 05-06-2017, 07:39 PM   #8
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Re: large square drain found in basement


A clean out where the main sewer leaves the house is very common. Plumbing code requires it. Extend the clean out but you need to fix the more obvious problem of storm water. Usually that means you install a storm sump and cut concrete around the basement walls and install holed drain piping to the sump.

You can pay someone to do it or get her done your self. The other option is dig up the footer drains outside and replace them.
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Old 05-06-2017, 08:06 PM   #9
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Re: large square drain found in basement


thanks. i already have 1 sump pump in the other end of the basement.. not sure if you aware of that. I also believe that my property has a very high water table and its been raining like crazy for the past 3-4 days.

Last summer I installed a deck and hit water while digging my 4ft posts. and this was during a relatively dry period.

With that said, I want to make sure everything is draining properly and may have to get some pros in. Is there a way for them to confirm whether there is a problem or not (by inspection cameras etc..?)
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Old 05-06-2017, 08:18 PM   #10
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Re: large square drain found in basement


If that is a backflow valve, it will need to remain accessible. That means getting your hand inside the pipe if the valve fails to open or needs servicing. Take the plug off and see whats inside the pipe- if anything
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:00 PM   #11
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Re: large square drain found in basement


Ya no kidding lots of rain. I never thought about a backflow preventer. It doesn't look like any I have seen but that doesn't say much. Toronto has been on a big campaign to have them installed especially in low-lying areas so it's a possibility.

Why a big hole? Who knows. If it's an older home with lots of upgrades over the years, the waste line has to be compatible with the city's old system and a poured floor wasn't part of the original build. If it's a newer home, maybe an adjustment between the plans and the 'as built' and it was easier for the concrete guys to build a square box with some scraps.

I would get somebody in to scope it before you spend a bunch of reno money. Actually, if it's not a preventer, now would be a good time to put one in - I think the city still has a rebate program. It seems you are in a wet area which might make you prone for a back-up. The city's sewer system is so old in many areas it doesn't take much.
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:12 AM   #12
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Re: large square drain found in basement


im actually located in waterloo now.. have to update my profile. Right behind my house is a storm water channel that is about 10 feet lower than my basement, it has manholes that are much lower than my basement, so not sure how necessary it is. also i just checked and it seems the city has no rebate program anymore.

so im going to have a look today and dig around to make sure there is no backflow valve (which would require access) Assuming there isnt a backflow valve, I will just extend the sewer access up about 12" to make it above the floor level then fill around with concrete.

I was thinking i would just unscrew the plug, screw in a male threaded PVC adapter, add about 10" of pipe, then plug the top back up. Anything wrong with this method?
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:26 AM   #13
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Re: large square drain found in basement


Convincing someone that their basement was never intended to be finished is nearly impossible. Best that can be achieved is to prepare the owners for the eventual moisture issues related to moisture vapor coming up through the soil, the footings, floors, and the walls. A dry basement is only achieved at great expense when the house is built or when it is located in the Arizona desert.

As you proceed to finish your basement don't be fooled that it will be dry and plan on managing the moisture that shows up.
https://buildingscience.com/document...ts?full_view=1

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Old 05-07-2017, 10:36 AM   #14
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Re: large square drain found in basement


I understand all that. Keep in mind this is a *finished* basement. Its just that it was finished about 20 years ago and its time for updates (i.e. new finishes).

there have been no signs of water in the house in those 20 years. Having said that I understand the risks. ( i think a flood due to leaking kitchen and laundry room above might be even more probable).


So basically, i am refinishing an already finished basement... just want to make some minor improvements as i go along.

Anyone know if male threaded pvc adapters are common? it would make the job a little easier. Just got back from my local home depot and they dont carry them,
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:26 PM   #15
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Re: large square drain found in basement


male adapters should be common- keep looking. Perhaps a pro supplier will sell to you.

I just revisited your picture and I can think of 3 possibilities for that cap.
Clean out, backwater valve or a whole house trap (depends on how old your place is)
Pull the cap an show us what you find.

You can buy clean out covers that are designed to be embedded in concrete. The will finish to any type of flooring
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