Found this hole in the basement floor after moving the dryer. The dryer was standing on a piece of plywood covering the hole. It has a pipe connected to the cavity at about half of the depth, but the pipe seems to be completely clogged. I assume this is some emergency drain or something? It seems to have some remnants of old rubber sealing, but it is rotten. Almost all of the floor tile is original from the 1950s, but tiles near the hole seem to be replaced more recently. The pattern is a bit different.

I'm doing laminate floors all over the old floors. Should I keep this hole, seal it, or pour it with concrete?


  • Could you edit in a clearer picture looking into the hole? Looks like either a sump, or a clean-out access for the stack that's right next to it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 22:38
  • Never ever consider filling a hole with concrete unless you know what it is. Since you have a clean out right there we can guess it’s not a clean out but it may be part of a foundation drain system. I would want to maintain access to the hole incase it is part of a drain system checking it in the winter after a rain may be a good idea. Dirt migrates into drain systems over the years but it may still function and in a really bad year you may need to drop a pump in the hole and pump the excess water out or your new flooring could be ruined by a minor flood.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 22:48
  • Old sump well? The clogged side drain likely was the original outlet for the pumped water. And originally connected to sewer line. I imagine it was a common installation to impede catastrophic flooding in 50's era basements.
    – user113627
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 0:41
  • 1
    With the clean-out right beside it, it makes sense its a sump considering if the pipe is clogged past the cleanout. opening it to 'clean it out' will release a lot of water. Too much for a simple bucket.
    – user113627
    Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 0:46
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    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


Could be a daylight drain for the laundry. It used to be legal to dump non-sewage into your yard. Look for an outside outlet at a lower elevation. They're likely to clog or collapse after 65 years, especially if unused.

I'd consider dropping a generic grate panel over it (slightly larger than the hole) and framing the grate with termination molding to match your flooring.

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