Thread Number: 75260  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Floor drains
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Post# 990892   4/15/2018 at 20:20 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Folks, please help me understanding

Why a floor drain in the laundry room or in the kitchen is almost impossible to be seen here in the USA?

Post# 990894 , Reply# 1   4/15/2018 at 20:52 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Mostly because most old floor drains do not go into the septic system and it supposedly hurts the environment to just drain outside and have mostly been outlawed because of the crap going in them, especially from garages, leaking anti-freeze and oil etc. I wanted one in my basement, but was told no. All soaps have no phosphates now and that is what hurts the environment. They are so adamant about septic systems here, but these jerks spread fertilizer right up to the lakes edge to have a beautiful lawn and its all phosperous that runs right back in the lake after the next rain, but that is fine?

Post# 990904 , Reply# 2   4/15/2018 at 23:05 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
There are fifty states

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All with their own building codes that cover plumbing. Piled on may be local rules/codes on top; so without narrowing things down to a particular area it is hard to give an definite answer.

In general much will depend upon what sort of waste one is speaking of and or where the floor drain is to be located. This goes further taking into account will water go to a septic or local sewage system.

This being said it isn't "impossible" to have floor drains, at least not in commercial/industrial settings. Laundromats, laundries and others use washers without pumps have drainage troughs that lead to drains. IIRC many commercial kitchens have floor drains to aid in cleaning (easier to hose down floors or whatever). Am also thinking of places that use various washing machines or dishwashers that could in theory overflow and or need to be drained....

Think main reason why you don't see floor drains in residential kitchens or laundry rooms any longer has to do with they are no longer needed. For decades now semi and fully automatic washing machines along with dishwashers have come with pumps. Thus whatever reasons for having/putting up with floor drains were removed.

Post# 990917 , Reply# 3   4/16/2018 at 01:34 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Thank you for your interesting answer.

That's exactly my question.

I mean, it's known that nowadays nobody uses washers or dishwashers that would need a floor drain but, what about cleaning? Of course, we can use mops or floor washers like the Hoover Floormate or the Bissell Crosswave or others, but what about the good and old "wash using water".

One of the things i miss the most from Brazil is the floor drains. I used to use a pressure washer to wash the bathrooms in my apartment in Brazil. actually the whole apartment floor (porcelanatto) was meticulously designed to be slightly slant towards the drains in both bathrooms and the balcony.
All my furniture had high legs to make it much easier.
Once in a wile, it was super easy to simply use a garden hose and wash EVERYTHING, i mean, the whole apartment, being careful to avoid spraying the furniture or the walls.

After everything was done, i wouldn't need to worry about using a squeegee because all the water would slide straight to the drains.

Of course, that kind of "ultra deep cleanimg" is unthinkable here in the US with all the wood and drywwall constructions, but for example a toilet, it is MUCH better if you can simply wash it with tons of water.

Post# 990940 , Reply# 4   4/16/2018 at 08:29 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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You are encountering the same things all of us who come to the US from more technologically advanced countries encounter - NIH. Not invented here. You may have a floor drain in my state, provided it is hooked up to a 'grease separator' and the sewer line in your municipality is certified to run separately from the storm drains with no interconnection. Sigh. Americans stopped innovating and learning when St. Ronnie von Rayguns came into office. It's been pure polarization and resistance to anything anyone else on the planet does better ever since.

Post# 990942 , Reply# 5   4/16/2018 at 08:50 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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I have a floor drain in the center of my laundry room. But I don't have one in the bathroom, I have a bath and a shower but a floor drain would have made it easier to give the bathroom a thorough cleaning now and then.

Post# 990950 , Reply# 6   4/16/2018 at 09:59 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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I have a floor drain in my basement, had one in every house I've lived here. Basement floor drains are very common in older houses here.

Post# 990981 , Reply# 7   4/16/2018 at 13:01 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
One *thinks*

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In Northeast and Mid-West, and or places that were cold enough to warrant or had steam/hot water heating there would be floor drains. For one thing to drain water should the boilers overflow. Other reasons would be for routine maintenance such as clean out. Far easier to let water drain on to floor and down drain then to rely upon buckets.

Also *think* in homes with basements that can flood and or where there is a water heater you find either floor drains or sump pumps.

Main worry about floor drains (especially old ones) is keeping the thing clean and sanitary. This and then you have worries about vermin/pests. Cannot speak for anywhere else but here in NYC when it is warm/humid long enough "bugs" start coming up from the sewers into basement, ground and even first floor drains.

Local plumbing codes long have mandated screening on pipes leading from sewers to keep out rats/mice; but "bugs" are another matter.

Saw a beautiful older French washing machine on CL several months back. It was a H-axis top loader which always gets one's vote. Besides the distance the thing required a floor drain because it didn't have a pump. This washer was made in France for sale in Asia (Thailand IIRC) where apparently washing machines without pumps are very popular. One either lets the hose drain out off balcony, porch, etc... or into a floor drain.

Post# 990984 , Reply# 8   4/16/2018 at 13:17 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Years ago while reading about early 1900's immigrant experiences in NYC came upon a story of an tenement in Little Italy where the housewife (fresh off the boat) decided to clean the floors of apartment the only way she knew how; throwing buckets of water.... Neighbors from floors below promptly began banging on her door shouting "the greenhorn is going to drown us...."

Post# 991010 , Reply# 9   4/16/2018 at 18:16 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I had drains put in the basement floor in the laundry, bathroom and hall when I had all new plumbing installed. Most of the basement floor was replaced with new concrete, so this was the same as doing in new construction.

I wish I would have had the bathroom walls built of glazed tile units (like they use in schools, hospitals, etc.) instead of steel framing with tile over cement board, so I could hose the room down.

I don't think I'd want a floor drain in the kitchen. The only time I've ever seen one was in a friend's basement kitchen.

I don't think many houses with finished basement have drains except in utility areas. I'd imagine people would be afraid of backups ruining carpet, especially if the main sewer line became clogged and all waste water from the house (or other neighborhood houses) came up the floor drains. This happened to us way too often. We finally got a backwater valve to prevent backups from outside, but they require regular maintenance or will fail to work.

Post# 991037 , Reply# 10   4/17/2018 at 00:57 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

You will not find a floor drain in the US in most homes with framed flooring.  Basements yes, but very rare other than that.  For a framed floor to have a usable floor drain it would have to be water tight not allowing water to get under whatever is on the surface and onto/into the wood sub-floor.  With a poured cement type floor, no issue.


Here in MI floor drains in the basement are fairly common.  They are generally tied into the tiles that run around the perimeter of the basement.  Either drain into an sump pump or storm sewer system, not a sanitary sewer.  Luckily I'm higher than all my neighbors and do not have a sump pump, and floor drains are connected to the storm sewers.  Most of the time it's fine, but over the years we have had our share of basement floods due to this after extremely heavy rains when the streets are under water.  Once it happened just prior to a large gathering we were hosting, and all the tables in the basement had to be picked up, floor scrubbed and but back in place, no sleep the night before!  A back flow check valve would be great, but very difficult and expensive to dig up the yard to do it at this point.

Post# 991049 , Reply# 11   4/17/2018 at 04:57 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Matt, Would something like this not fit?  They just fit down into the drain itself.

Post# 991058 , Reply# 12   4/17/2018 at 06:20 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Those kinds of stoppers are very hard on the plumbing...basically the water goes where it wants to go, and if you push down on it at the drain it comes up in worse places (the weak place in the pipe, for instance) and you have a mess on your hands.

Post# 991088 , Reply# 13   4/17/2018 at 10:49 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Basement Floor drains

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Were banned long ago in this area because the water in the drain trap evaporates over time and then sewer gases back up in the house, the only way you can have them is if you install a driper that constantly drips water in the drain.

The best way to add one to your basement is to break up the floor and install a basement shower where the floor of the shower stall is a few inches below the floor level, this will make a very good floor drain in the event of a basement flood.

John L.

Post# 991094 , Reply# 14   4/17/2018 at 11:29 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

As noted the "plugs" can create more issues by forcing the water out elsewhere such as the perimeter tiles.  Ideally in my situation a check valve at the storm sewer at the street would be the best option, but that does not solve the issue of the water from the perimeter tiles needing to go somewhere.  My location is very much a sand/gravel mix with lots of natural springs so water flows quickly down through the porous soil.


In my situation the water is "relatively" clean since we have so many springs in the area and 95% of the folks around here have sump pumps pumping the water into the storm drain. 

Post# 991135 , Reply# 15   4/17/2018 at 16:04 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The floor drains in my house are connected to the sanitary sewer system, as the previous ones were. The new underfloor piping is all PVC, and watertight. The old pipes, however, were not. They were 4" clay tile in sections about 16" in length. They were not the hub and bell type as used for the sewer going out to the street, but rather the plain style, and laid with a gap of about 1/4" between them. This was so the piping could also serve to drain away underfloor water.

We tried stoppers on the order of the ones Greg mentions, but we still had a flood. In addition to water overflowing the basement toilet, it came up through the floor. I found out why when we tore out the old floor - the gaps in the tile as I stated above. We had always thought the underfloor pipes were cast iron like the soil stack and other drains, but not hardly.

The backwater valve my dad had installed was in the basement level garage. There was a big heavy steel lift-up door to get to it. The new one is also there, but just a small plastic cover right by where the sewer goes out to the street.

Post# 991144 , Reply# 16   4/17/2018 at 16:46 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I guess floor drains are de riguer in more technologically advanced nations because, as we all know, European shit don't stink.

Post# 991217 , Reply# 17   4/18/2018 at 08:08 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
For sure Rich!

and in Cairo too!
I was watching some movie or show once, I don't remember, but they were joking that the sewage plant in L.A. over flows during the heavy rainy season into the ocean.

Post# 991336 , Reply# 18   4/18/2018 at 22:24 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

We have floor drains in our garage and utility room. They combine with the foundation French drains, which drain to daylight. Our air conditioner condensate drains into the floor drain in the utility room.

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