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Recessed Manhole Covers

Composite 3.5 Tonne Recessed Manhole Cover and Frames available from EasyMerchant. Perfect for use on driveways with block paving.

More Information on Recessed Manhole Covers:

category picture of a driveway block pavior lid with slabs installed over it

Recessed manhole covers are at times referred to as "recessed tray covers or inset cover frame" are used in paved areas to conceal the presence of access fittings, inspection chambers, and utility holes.

When it comes to the field of coloured, natural or decorative stone paving, recessed manhole lids are of utmost importance, especially when compared with utilitarian lids generally used in modern-day construction.

Recessed manhole covers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous when installing paving on a driveway or patio. They can be used to efficiently hide inspection or drain lids, especially when used for laying asphalt, gravel or block paving inside the cover.

By installing a recessed manhole cover frame the pattern and design of your paving will flow seamlessly through the cover frame . What's more, the cover will be neatly concealed and integrated into your paving design.

They are easy to install and are obtainable in different sizes, including square 600mm x 600mm, square 300mm x 300mm, and oblong 600mm x 450mm

Steel tray inserts are also available at depths of 43mm, 80mm and 100mm which make them ideal when laying 80, 60, and 50mm blocks as the blocks will fit easily inside the cover.

The new manhole lids have two or four corner holes where you can insert a key into the key slots for easy lifting. When lifted it allows the lid to be easily removed and replaced from the rim of the manhole cover.


category picture of block pavior lid T1G3 Clark Drain

They're typically made up of two parts; the frame, which is mounted over the utility hole, and the tray, which sits inside the frame and is covered with paving to match the adjacent area. The material they're made from is most commonly steel.

The most common size used on domestic patios and driveways is 450x600x90mm, though other sizes are obtainable, mostly by order.

Those used for commercial projects or public areas include galvanised steel frames with galvanised steel trays, while those for light-use, like on residential driveways, might use plastic frames.

Advances in plastic moulding technology have also made it possible to have plastic recessed lids for foot way/driveway use.

Load ratings explained:

category picture of installation of block pavior lid

The European Standard (BS EN 124), brought in to replace BS497, excludes fabricated steel utility hole lids, though there's a Trade Organisation (FACTA) that endeavours to introduce some new standards into the industry.

Nevertheless, the galvanising and welding of these lids are within the scope of the two British Standards - all welds must adhere to BS4872, and galvanising must be to BS729.

For foot traffic only, grade 'A15' lids are okay, but for driveways, grade 'B125' products, with safe working load minimums of 1.5 tonnes should be utilised.

For block paved driveways with large vans or 4x4s etc., consider using class B125 block paving manhole covers. Heavier uses in public areas call for class C, D or E products, made from more resistant material.

Plastic Round-to-Square Covers

As previously stated, many manhole lids for residential uses are now manufactured in plastic.

There're obvious advantages in terms of manufacturing costs and weight, and we are starting to notice that there're fewer occurrences of trays being jammed.

However, some contractors are unenthusiastic that some frames and trays are more prone to deformation, which affects the aesthetics of the fitting and installations.

The move to plastic frames has made possible the improvement of 'Round to Square' lidss, which are designed to provide a rectangular or square cover that fits over a circular Access Chamber (AC) or Inspection Chamber (IC).

This type of lid is considered much better for paved driveways on residential driveways and patios, as the orthogonal shape makes cutting-in easier.

How do I free one when it becomes jammed?

It is not unusual for neglected lids to jam over the years as the joint between the frame and tray becomes blocked with weeds and detritus.

To overcome this problem, the inner faces of the frame and the outer edges of the tray are smeared with lubricating grease. The grease prevents sand particles from entering the gap between the tray and frame and makes removal of the tray easy.

In case trays are jammed, some techniques can be employed to free them from the frames. The simplest starts with using a high-powered water jet or compresses air.

While this technique works well for simple detritus problems, when there is a rust problem, spraying some oil into the joint between the frame and tray can at times free-up the tray.

There're also manhole cover lifting machines that are much better at lifting heavy or jammed lids. These devices can be hired, if necessary, and work well in most cases.

Every once in a while, we come across trays that are really jammed, and the only option is to remove the paving from the tray, and then use a grinder to cut out the tray.

When it comes to recovering the chamber, a whole new tray and frame will have to be fitted, which is why this is the last option.


I haven't installed it yet; can you give me some advice on the installation process?

Installing recessed covers requires implementing some steps before the cover can be laid into the ground:

  1. Excavate the adjacent area, so no excess dirt or debris falls into the chamber.
  1. The manhole is bedded into place using cement and sand, ensuring the cover is at the right fall and height. A string must be used from one end of the driveway to the other at the correct height that the blocks will be to achieve the right measurements.
  1. Place the outer frame of the cover on a bed of cement and sand and tap it into place until the frame is flush with the string.
  1. Even out the outside and inside of the cover and then place the lid inside the outer frame to prevent any accidents.
  1. Once the driveway has been block paved, you can start filling the manhole.
  1. Cover the entire area of the cover and compact it together using a trowel, then use a strong piece of wood to level the surface.
  1. Now that the mixture is semi-dry it's time for the blocks to be laid, line up the pattern of the blocks to the pattern that is surrounding the manhole cover by cutting and placing the blocks cautiously.
  1. Brush sand over the blocks and gently tap them with a piece of wood to shift the loose sand into place. Make sure no sand goes between the frame and cover.
  1. The final stage is to put the cover into place, and all that can now be seen is the outside edges of the frame.

How do I know what size I need?

The size of the recessed manhole cover is measured by the clear opening inside the frame, as this is the only constant between manufacturers' designs.

Would one of these be ideal for my driveway?

Yes. These manhole covers are becoming increasingly popular when installing paving on driveways or patios. They efficiently hide the inspection or drain covers.

What are the advantages of purchasing EasyMerchants covers?

Improved public relations, reduced litigation from property damage and injuries, and increased public safety in the communities to which you provide service.

Why order from EasyMerchant?

When it comes to best quality building materials, we've got you covered. Our wide range of recessed manhole covers includes varying weights and sizes to help you find the best product for your next project.

Take our round to square manhole cover for example: it's recessed ready for the blocks for driveways to fit inside and is made from steel for long lasting wear and tear.

We're not just proud of our high-quality products – we also understand that at times tight budgets have to be met, which is why you will find our items reasonably priced.