Exterior Manhole covers – Questions answered

Exterior recessed manhole/access covers

Following on from our previous blog about interior access covers this week we are covering the exterior options.

If you need an interior solution pop to


What is an exterior manhole cover?

A manhole cover is a removable lid with supporting frame over an opening in the ground that allows a person to pass through for access to pipes or do maintenance under the ground level. The manhole cover is there to prevent any one accessing the area and to keep people safe from falling into the hole. Exterior covers are outdoors and are used for many types of access, you will pass many of all sizes every day.

Take a look at our selling page at Spudulica.co.uk for sizes avaliable.


What is a recessed drain cover?

A recessed drain cover has a lid that is lower than the frame. The recess allows you to fill the lid with blocks, gravel, slabs etc to disguise the manhole cover into your flooring, while proving you drain access when required.

How do exterior manhole covers work?

An exterior manhole cover is fitted with a frame securely around an access hole in the ground. The removable cover then covers over the hole to keep out debris and unauthorised access. Then when needed the authorised worker can then lift the cover using keys and then access the underground space it is protecting. When done they can replace the lid so the area is now again safe. Once installed exterior manhole covers can take considerable loading and are strong and durable.

Can I just replace an exterior manhole covers lid?

If your manhole cover has a broken lid/cover it is likely that the frame has also been damaged. It would be best to replace the whole lot both frame and lid. Also matching a lid to an installed frame will mostly likely not be a tight and secure fit. Most older styles of cover are not compatible with newer models. You do not need someone to have an accident!

Use the opportunity to replace the manhole cover with a more robust and new cover and frame. You may be able to get one that works better for your requirements, do you know why your old one was damaged? Do you need a higher loading capacity? Or are you planning a re- vamp to your outdoor area and need a recessed tray so you can hide the cover in your paving? Planning for grass you may want a grass top cover?

See options at Spudulica.co.uk



Manhole covers are described and specified by their clear opening size

How do you lift and external manhole cover?

Firstly have a look at the cover does it have any holes for keys or areas at the side with plastic tabs?

Also make sure the cover is clean and any dirt or muck is cleared from the covers edges and key areas. You don’t want to be covered in muck as you lift and you don’t want the key holes blocked.

Smaller recessed covers tend to have plastic handles that can be uncovered then are lifted up, then you grasp firmly and lift from both handles. You may need a flat screwdriver to help uncover the handles and help clear any muck from around the edges of the cover before starting.

Larger metal manhole covers with a heaver loading will need metal lifting keys that are inserted and turned; once turned the key locks in pace so you can lift the cover with the keys. Just reverse to put the cover back in safely.

How do I know what exterior manhole cover I need?

Make sure you have your measurements and an idea of the loading the cover will need. All exterior drain covers are tested for strength so once you have an idea you can be sure to get one that will suit your requirements. Also consider where the cover is going and how you want it to look.

Double sealed recessed aluminium manhole cover features

Lifting key and mesh

Aluminium frame and cover

Self-secured by infill

Odour and waterproof

Lifting holes covered with caps

EPDM rubber seal

 construction manufactured to BS:EN124 


Get in Touch if you any assistance at – 


0151 515 1415

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