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How To Fix A Broken Drain Cover In The Garden

Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023

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Follow our complete guide to repair a faulty drain lid in your garden. Grab some tips on how to make it look fantastic too!

A broken drain cover cannot be repaired. It has to be replaced by a new lid.

When a drain lacks a proper cover, debris can enter and cause problems. Your children and pets can also get injured by an uncovered drain. Our guide explains how to fix the drain cover in your garden in no time.

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Why You Should Only Buy A New Lid

Sure, there are other ways to cover an exposed drain. Some people drag a large sheet of metal or stone over the hole. But that is not really a safe or permanent solution. And worse, depending on where you live, you could face charges for violating a safety code if your drain does not have a proper lid.

A real drain cover will keep you on the right side of the law and properly protect your drain.

Who Is Responsible For Replacing A Broken Drain Cover?

Once again, laws can be different depending on the region and the country that you live in. But in the UK, the authorities are generally responsible for the maintenance of drains and covers on public property. These include public roads, sidewalks, parks, and parking lots.

So, if your drain is located near the street or pavement, you can contact the local utility company to take care of the broken cover. It might also be a good idea to get permission from the authorities or your landlord to replace the lid if the drain is on private property.

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How To Replace A Drain Cover

Anyone can remove and replace a drain cover. However, please follow all the safety measures that you can in order to avoid cutting yourself on sharp edges, rusty parts or dropping the heavy lid on your fingers or foot!

Step 1 - Measure The Drain Cover


It is vitally important that you measure the cover correctly. One of the most important things to remember is that drain lids are technically measured by the area they cover - not by the size of the lid themselves. In the industry, this measurement is called a lid’s “clear opening size.” This counts for both circular and square drain covers.

In order to correctly measure the clear opening size, remove the lid and put it aside. Take your tape measure and get ready. For a circular drain, measure from one inside wall to the other. Do not include any physical materials. In other words, only measure the empty space from one end to the other. For square manholes, make sure to take width and height measurements.

Both types of drains, whether they are round or square, must also be measured for depth. The only depth you need to be concerned about is the space the lid will be sitting in. This is usually very noticeable as a sunken area around the hole, usually laid in the concrete or asphalt where the drain is located.

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Step 2 - Choose The Weight Load Of The Cover

A drain cover must be able to withstand a certain amount of weight. This so-called load class is based on where the drain is located. One that sits in the garden can have a lighter load class than one in the middle of a driveway frequented by vehicles.

Weight classes depend on the metal of the covers. In this case, the two most common materials are cast iron and steel. We included the heaviest classes for interest’s sake! Your needs will probably be satisfied by one of the lighter classifications.

Cast Iron Weight Classes
  • Class A15 - Handles 1.5 tonnes and is perfect for gardens and driveways with foot traffic.
  • Class B125 - Handles 12.5 tones and is suitable for domestic vehicles and driveways.
  • Class C250 - Handles 25 tonnes and can handle lightly used roads and parking areas.
  • Class D400 - Handles 40 tonnes on highways and public parking areas.
  • Class E600 - Handles 60 tonnes at loading bays and cargo areas.
  • Class F900 - Handles 90 tonnes under extreme conditions like at airports.

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Steel Weight Classes
  • Maximum weight capacity of 2.5 tonnes - pedestrian areas and gardens.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 5 tonnes - home driveways and domestic vehicles.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 10 tonnes - lightly-used roads and private parking areas.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 17 tonnes - public roads, highways, and parking lots.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 25 tonnes - loading bays and cargo areas.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 38 tonnes - airports and docks.

Step 3 - Choose The Right Material

Cast iron is the best choice if the area has high traffic, both pedestrian and cars. But other materials are also better suited for gardens, patios, and other light-traffic areas. These include stainless steel, galvanized steel, and aluminium. The last three options are also more attractive than cast iron if you are concerned about keeping your garden looking great!

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Step 4 - Only Purchase The Lid From A Reputable Company Or Store


Try to avoid cheaper second-hand lids sold by someone. As weird as it sounds, that lid was probably stolen. Unfortunately, the price of a new drain cover is not cheap and that is why this type of black market does exist. Do not advertise that you are looking to buy a new lid. Just go straight to a plumbing store or company after doing your research on them. Look for legitimate web sites and reviews that highlight the experts in their field.

Step 5 - Hire A Professional To Install The Lid

There are several benefits to hiring a professional company to install the cover. They can double-check that you chose the right lid and material for your garden. The team or person can also ensure that the cover is correctly installed and that it will pose no safety risk to your family in the future.

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Step 6 - Consider Hiding The Drain Cover

Once installed, the cover might still prove to be an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful and well-kept garden. You can do a lot to hide the cover, like add plants, a mobile pond or birdbath. Just remember not to make your decorations permanent as the water utility company needs access to the drain at all times.

One of the most popular concealment choices is fake grass. Don’t know where to look? No worries. We have reviewed the best fake grass products that are available on the market today.

A Quick Summary On How To Replace A Garden Drain Cover

  • Drain covers are necessary to keep out debris, pets, and children.
  • A broken drain cover must be replaced.
  • One must measure the new cover correctly and choose the right weight load.
  • In order to replace the cover without regrets, it is advisable to hire a professional company to do the job.

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