Replacing An Old Imperial Manhole Cover

Replacing An Old Imperial Manhole Cover

If you found a crack in your manhole cover, even a small one could affect the strength of the manhole cover. It is time to think about getting a replacement.

One of our most common questions is “Can we replace an old imperial manhole cover?”. Sure, you can. We have a few potential solutions for you.

Option 1

The first option we have for you is to measure the old imperial cover in inches or millimetres and choose a new solid or recessed manhole cover just a touch bigger than the existing one. This is the best solution in our opinion, it is harder to install but the end result is better.

To install you need to break out the old manhole cover and frame. Then get a grinder or hammer and bolster and break out the surrounding ground a little wider to accept the new cover.






Then get some sand & cement to bed the cover down level with the surrounding ground.









Next make good on the paving, tarmac…etc around the cover so it blends with the old material. If you are replacing a recessed cover, you need to also infill the cover at this stage.






Option 2

For the second option, you can just replace your lid only.

Replacing just your old imperial lid is not our preferred solution but we fully appreciate it is the easier fix.

For this, you need to take the old lid away from the frame and measure the opening where the replacement lid will fit to the MM. You also need to tell us the depth of the frame.

The only other detail we may need is the type of corners on the frame, if they are curved, we will need to make sure the replacement lid will fit nicely.

With all this information we will fabricate a replacement lid only for your old frame. Assuming your old frame is sound you will have a cover fit for the future.

The reason this is not our preferred route over a new complete unit is:

  • The fit will never be as good as a cover and frame made for each other
  • The lead time is longer – as writing around 12 working days to produce
  • The cost is usually more than a complete unit at approximately £300 + VAT delivered (at time of writing 09-2022).

The main upside to Option 2 though is you can just get a nice new lid delivered to replace your old broken imperial one. It will just slot in place, and you are good to go. It is certainly the easier option.


Project Feedback

A footnote to thank Andrew for the above images of a recently supplied and fitted replacement cover. His kind review:

"Hello Jamie,

The metric manhole cover for an imperial hole is in.  Here is my feedback -

The frame is so wide and strong that I think it can easily be used for imperial or other odd shaped hole.

It straight forward use an angle grinder to cut out the space need for the frame to recess it.

The whole thing is much better quality and better design than the standard Clarks metric man hole covers that all the DIY place seem to have. Clarks ones only have a basic plastic frame that has to fit hole exactly.

Although the weight limit is 10 tonnes it seems stronger.  Being able to claim its strong enough to support a van rather than just a car is important.  The previous man hole cover and the metric one I tried to make work were both broken by vans being driven on to drive - one delivery and one tradesman's van.

I think you could easily market it as a purpose built solution to imperial man holes.   When I Google imperial man covers, I couldn't see any news imperial size for sale.

So thanks for your advice and for the selling a quality product.  I've included some photos.


If you would like information or to purchase a replacement manhole cover, please fill in the contact form, we will assess your needs and come back to you with some suggestions.

If easier we are also available to discuss at or 01516394281.