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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Walk-up stairwell drain

    Greetings!

    This is my first post here, but I've been a This Old House fan all my life. I look forward to joining this community!

    My question is about the drain in the walk-up stairway leading out of our basement. In heavy storms (like we've been getting this year on the east coast), the smallest amount of debris has no difficulty clogging up the drain. This causes as much as 9* inches (!) of water to build up in the bottom of the stairwell, until the sliding doors simply can't hold it out anymore and it all comes spilling into the basement.

    We used to have a finished basement, but after the first time this happened, we ended up tearing out about 600 square feet of carpet and a bunch of drywall. Now we have an un-finished basement, and even if we had the money to finish it (we don't), we wouldn't do it if it's just going to flood again. Does anyone have an idea how to fix this?

    To clarify: the issue is not with the drain tube its self getting clogged. The pipe is fine, and dumps into our floor drain where the sump pump is just fine. The problem is that the cover to the drain, which is no more than 4" in diameter, gets covered by leaves and junk. I've seen it get completely blocked this way in under three minutes. It's pretty scary.

    What can we do? We're terrified of not being home during heavy rains. We went on vacation for Memorial Day, and it happened again but there was nothing we could do about it until we got back.

    Help!


    *we haven't seen the water get to 9" in person, but we had the water line to prove it...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,436

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    It's amazing what damage some innocent leaves can do...
    You can clean the area regularly, and don't let the leaves accumulate there.
    Or, install a large screen to cover the drain hole and hold off the leaves.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    It's amazing what damage some innocent leaves can do...
    You can clean the area regularly, and don't let the leaves accumulate there.
    Or, install a large screen to cover the drain hole and hold off the leaves.
    Thanks for the reply!

    Unfortunately, I do clean the area regularly! All it takes is a few dead leaves from the trees around our yard to get blown/swept into our stairwell and it's over

    I've been looking for screens but I can't really find any products that look like they would work...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Is is possible to add a screen to cover the stairwell itself? One that you could install when you're away? It may give you some peace of mind at least.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    That's definitely something we could look into. Though, I don't think there's really anything to lean it against on one of the sides...

    I think stuff would probably still find its way in, though The trees have it out for me!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Maybe you should look into placing a drainage mat over the floor area.
    Or constructing a sleeper system with a raised drainage mat on top.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Do you have any links to this "sleeper system" you're talking about? I'm not familiar with that term...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Look for a Paver Pedestal System.
    These are installed over roof decks to make a patio that lets water drain to a lower roof.
    A drainnage mat would be required over the pavers.
    Or maybe even under but this would be very hard to clean.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Walk-up stairwell drain

    Yeah, that looks like it could be a problem if anything got through to the bottom. It would make it very hard to see if the drain was covered at all, and even harder to clear it. It would keep most of the stuff from getting through, but I don't think it would get all the stuff that washes down the steps. Plus, I don't think there's enough clearance between the floor of the stairwell and the threshold of the basement for that system...

    Thanks, though!

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