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Floor Cleanout Installation Tips

By Dr. Samuel Helms
Installing floor cleanouts requires plumber's tools.
plumber, plumbing image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

A floor cleanout is a drain set into the floor of commercial buildings and houses to allow a cleaning rod to be inserted into the drain to remove blockages. Cleanouts that are also used for drainage are subject to approval from the home inspector. Cleanouts can be set in concrete, tile or other types of floors for this purpose. When installing a cleanout, there are a number of guidelines and tips for proper installation.

Local Codes

Before installing the cleanout, check your local standards for the types of covering plates required if the cleanout is in a location where people will walk over it. The plates are designed to keep things from falling into the cleanout and prevent people from tripping.

Installing the Cleanout

Before the concrete is poured, install the cleanout drain with a coring plug. Pour the concrete around the plug until the level of the concrete is level with the top of the plug. Use a long, flat surface, such as a trowel, to smooth the concrete over the plug. Doing so ensures that the drain cover sits flush with the concrete. Be sure the cleanout follows the direction of flow in the underlying pipe --- this ensures that cleaning tools can be inserted to clear blockages.

Size and Location

Cleanouts need to be installed near sinks and other drains so they can be cleaned. Additionally, any change in pipe direction greater than 60 degrees should have a cleanout. The size of the pipe determines the size of the cleanout; however, pipes greater than 4 inches in diameter may have a cleanout that's only 4 inches in diameter.


Cleanouts should be visible so inspectors and plumbers can access them. Don't cover a cleanout with difficult-to-remove material. The drains can have decorative doors made from brass and other materials to help the cleanout look more appealing.