Permanently sealing a basement floor drain


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Old 08-27-11, 11:42 PM
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Permanently sealing a basement floor drain

Ok here's the situation. It's going to be a bit of a book, sorry..

My basement (mancave) is mostly finished, with a main "living room", 3/4 bathroom, and 'bedroom' (which I use as an office). It is a slab floor with carpeting. It was configured this way when I bought the house. Now, there is also a large "unfinished" area where the washer/dryer is, and another walled-off room where the HVAC unit is. There are two floor drains in this area (one of which is constantly in use from the A/C drain in the summer and humidifier drain in the winter.

For the very first time since I've been here, I had a water intrusion into the 'unfinished' area. One particularly nasty storm dumped 5" of rain in about 20 minutes, and due to the wind-blown debris the gutters clogged, causing them to overflow down the side of the house, dumping right into the window well. The well filled up completely, and weight of the water pushed the window open and water just poured in. This is when I found out that the second drain (the one that doesn't get the HVAC water) is extremely slow. I wound up with over an inch of water that took a couple hours to completely drain. I tried plunging it but it did nothing, so I know now I have to have a plumber come to snake it.

I told you that story to get to this story. In the 'finished' section of the basement, there is a 10x10 bar area, and behind the bar there is no carpet, and there is a floor drain with a 3' diameter 3" deep 'bowl'. Now I've never had any issues with this drain (I've never primed it), and I was going to simply find some kind of grate to fit inside the 'bowl' so it's not uncomfortable to stand in. But several days after the flood on the other side I started smelling sewer gas in the bar area. When I went behind to look, I noticed that there was silt deposits all over the 'bowl', meaning that the water had backed up into the bar. My best guess is that the slow utility room drain and the bar drain connect together upstream of the blockage, and only by chance it didn't overflow the bowl and ruin the bar and the carpeting around it.

Now that this has happened, I don't want to take any chances. I want that drain permanently plugged and I'm going to fill the bowl with concrete so I can level the floor and put tile down. What is the best way to plug it that I'm never going to be haunted by it? Expansion plug? Pack it with concrete? Breaking up the slab to cap and remove it is not an option.

I am also aware of their purpose, so I'm not looking for comments telling me it's a bad idea. Aside from the bar sink, there is no source of water on that side of the basement or the floor above. The windows on that side are above grade with no wells. So there is no reason to have a a drain there where it could possibly do damage.

Thanks
 
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Old 08-28-11, 08:37 AM
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If you are saying that there are 3 drains in all, I would say that they are all connected, not just 2 of them. Eliminating the drain behind the bar won't solve the window well problem. A dry well is needed for that. Snaking the slow drain would probably solve the inside problems but if you still want to eliminate the drain behind the bar, I would try hydraulic cement.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 11:06 AM
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You can buy a product called a 'flood guard' that is a rubber plug with a ball that closes up when you have a back water situation. These are pushed into the floor drain pipe and tightened down. They are not a perfect solution but are an easy one that can work, and these type of plugs cost around $10. They let water into the drain but not out of it. I have used them with success but there may be others who had failures for debris interferring with the closing ball action. Just another option for you.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 11:12 AM
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Matt, just stuff a rag, or better, a rubber ball that fits snugly inside the pipe and then concrete it over.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 04:40 PM
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Mmmm.. I like the rubber ball idea..

Pulpo I know for a fact that all three are not connected. The third one flows freely (its where I purge the hot water tank), and it didn't have any sign of backing up. And I know it doesn't solve the window well issue, but it has nothing to do with it since the window well is on the other side of the house (near the slow drain). It was a freak occurrence that won't happen again because I have since installed a cover on the well. None of the other windows have wells, they are above grade.

Equinox, at this point I don't want the drain there. It's in a finished basement section and I don't see any beneficial reason for it to be there. All I see is potential major damage if it ever backs up again.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 07:31 PM
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i would sugest you snake the drains and see if you can get them to work properly first. if you have success and stillwant to close one or two of them off i would then suggest the type of plug that fits snugly in the hole and then you tighten it and it expands and seal (im not a plumber so i dont know the name of the thing) then you could put a stell plate over the drain and cement it level on top of that. this way it would only require some small amount of chipping if youever decide to re-use the drain in the future. I think if you have a drain you should never make it unusable. If it is there..keep it, even if you coverit over keep it so it can be "brought back to life" with minimal headaches.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 08:51 PM
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Again, I only want to kill the one drain. It is in a completely finished section of the basement, and it only has potential to cause damage. Like I said, there's nothing in that section of the basement or the floor above that could possibly cause a flood, and if outside water ever got high enough to run into the window there, I'd need an boat. That window is a foot above ground level (it's not in a well), and my front yard grades down another 4 feet to the street.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 10:07 PM
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If you don't like the rag idea and can't find a rubber ball that fits then carve a piece of styrofoam for a plug. All it is for is to keep the concrete from going down the pipe.
 
 

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