How to Make a Sump Pump Cover

A sump pump cover for your basement sump pump is a good safety precaution as far as preventing objects or small children from accidentally falling into the hole and possibly causing damage. Some areas have ordinances that require a sump pump cover due to higher levels of radon gas in the plumbing system. Plumbers can easily test your basement to see whether this is a concern. Even if it is not required for any mechanical or plumbing related reasons, covering the well of a sump pump has been found to keep it in better working condition over time. It may make the difference in protecting the contents of your basement if you happen to live in an area that has a higher underground water table. 

Many types of commercial sump pump covers are available for purchase, but you can easily save the money and make your own with some basic tools, materials, and carpentry skills. Keep in mind that only sump pumps that drain directly into a well with subfloor pipes should have this type of sealed cover. If you have a sump pump without subfloor pipes, a perforated cover is an alternate option if the water still needs to drain above ground.

What You Will Need:

  • Plywood
  • Hand saw
  • Tape measure
  • Marking pen
  • Foam rubber gasket
  • 4 inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Vent stack
  • Sealing compound

Step 1 -- Measure the Well Opening

Measure and note the circumference and diameter of the sump pump opening. Use these as a guide to cut your plywood to fit securely over the hole. You can also hold your uncut plywood over the sump pump well and mark the dimensions where you will be cutting. Be sure to cut the correct size so there will not be any gaps when the cover is fitted over the sump pump, and remember it is easier to cut too little plywood off at first than to cut too much. Accidentally cutting off too much usually results in the need to start over with another piece of plywood.

Step 2 -- Apply Gasket and Sealant

You will need to seal the edge of your plywood cover with a foam rubber gasket. Fit this snugly around the edge of the cover, and also apply a coat of sealing compound once you fit the cover over the hole. If you are unsure how to fit a foam rubber gasket, most of them come with basic instructions included. Once you have the foam rubber gasket in place, locate the openings for the discharge and vent pipes; apply a layer of sealant to these as well. If there are any power cords running to your sump pump, seal these as well.  

Step 3 -- Sump Venting 

Before this project is complete, you will need to create a vent for the sump itself. Connect one end of the 4 inch diameter PVC pipe to the sump and the other end to the vent stack. You can alternately run the length of PVC pipe from the sump to the outdoors, as long as local plumbing and building codes allow this. It is a good idea to do a final check of all sealed components for any gaps you may have missed.