Making large/custom valve boxes for in-ground?

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Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2020
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Hi everyone.

I noticed the largest sprinkler valve boxes are very expensive. Like 250 bucks for ones that are just 25 or 30 inches long? Has anyone make their own custom made to fix in ground valve box covers?
I'm talking about things like this: VBSPRH - Super Jumbo Valve Box - Black Body With Green Lid + 2 Locks

I have an area that is maybe 40 inches by 36 inches I'd like to have an in-ground box with removable lid. I'm in Florida so it has to take the U.V. light.
Price plastic wood it sometimes comes already painted I have that for facor boards
On my house
This is a great idea and I'm surprised I didn't think of that. The composite or PVC deck boards would be perfect to make my own valve cover box to the size I want. It won't be cheap, but it will be cheaper than the already made valve boxes for that large. Looks like I can buy a single 16 foot already painted PVC deck board from Home Depot for 120.00 dollars. I'll have to order it. One reason I didn't think of this though is that I didn't think you could buy composite deck boards from Lowes or Home Depot. I assumed only professional supply lumber places sold them since they are expensive and not used very often by the average person who ever goes into home depot or lowes. Some of the boards are like 60 dollars a piece for just short ones. Or a 12 inch by 12 inch one costs 100 dollars! But you are correct that this is the material that would survive the U.V. light here and I'm close to the ocean so materials is extremely important. I also need to build a splash guard for my A.C. unit outside so I can use the same materials.
And are you sure that will be less expensive ? Will that one board give you the hetght and the top ? Plus it will probably leak. Sometimes it's just easier, less time consuming, and ends up less expensive to buy the correct thing.
Rick, maybe try a large, hinged lid tote from a place like U-Line, Akro Mills, plastic-crates-com. Get the heavy-duty ones, not those seen at home centers, office supply stores & Costco.

They come in many dimension combinations. Our shop has some big 40" x 12.5" x 15.5" ones for transporting jumper wires.

We recently bought some very heavy duty Akro Mills brand 27" x 17" x 12.5" for $14.00 each to use as temporary splice boxes for electrical underground. You can stand on the lids with no problem. (Some heavy ones have 300 pound rated lids)

Dirt won't enter the lids if buried. Get the ones without the handle cut outs or dirt will wash in from the ends.
Cut out the bottom, notch the walls for pipes and use the tote upright. They don't creep up like some valve boxes do, staying flush with the ground.

Really Inexpensive-
I've seen several meter pits that were made from those patio paste paver stones stacked vertically & mortared on edge to form a box. The pavers come in 1-1/2 to 2" thick and various dimensions. 8 x 16, 24 x 24, 12 x 12, 12 x 24, etc. Sometimes they are called Patio Blocks or Precast Bricks. (Photo shows a 16 x 8 x 2 for $1.45 each at Lowes)

They also come in Pink, as seen in every How-To Landscaping book from the 1960's. (And, unfortunately in my backyard)

Maybe one of these will save you some money.


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If this box is at grade or below, I'd urge you to either purchase a box from a professional irrigation supply house, or build a strong box using rust proof screws and plastic wood (Trex type products). Those tote boxes will not withstand the weight of a child standing on the lid, and besides injuring the child, you risk damage to the valves if someone was to step on and collapse the box.
"Those tote boxes will not withstand the weight of a child standing on the lid"

I put them there because the poster wants a low cost solution. Some of the tote boxes are rated for 300 pounds stacking weight. Note that they have been used, buried and walked upon- even used as step stools. Some go so far as to have no-slip grit on the tops.

But, it's the user's decision what to use.

"That or reinforce the lid with some extra support structure."
Good Idea! Buy a lower cost, no-lid bin instead.
A piece of ground-contact plywood or lengths of ground contact dimensional lumber both sound rather inexpensive. Perhaps go fancy with a sheet of aluminum tread plate as a lid?

If you just need access to the valves for service, maybe use a no-lid heavy duty bin upside down.

Cut your access in the bottom and use an electrical junction box cover or sheet of aluminum or steel.
Junction box covers come from 4-1/4 x 4-1/4" to more than 24" x 24". You can get rectangular ones sold as duct or "gutter" covers. They are all 10 gauge or heavier. You can get drive-over plates, too.
5-09-14a.jpg20130826_105708.jpgI guess there are lots of variables. I have a vacation home at Lake Havasu, and installed an irrigation box in ground to protect my sprinklers. A damn donkey walked on it, broke through the top and crushed one of my sprinkler valves, when I was 261 miles away. Yes, I had to make some urgent calls and got a handyman to go over and make the necessary repairs. This was a costly error.
You could use cellular PVC. I had a custom millwork business using this material. You can get 0.50" thick 4x8 sheets at Home Depot or Lowes. This material comes in thicknesses up to 1" thick (0.50", 0.625", 0.75 also) in sheet sizes of 4x8, and 4x10. You would need to go to a pro-oriented lumber yard such as Builder's First Source and you might need to order it. Brands you might have heard of are Azek, Versatex, Kleer, and Palram. Builder's First Source private labels this material under their Synboard brand. It would be a great material for your application and you would have a solid box, unlike what you'd be dealing with using PVC or composite deck boards. Use solvent-weld adhesive and SS screws to assemble it. Cut it just as you would cut plywood. You don't need to pre-drill it either. It will not split and you can just drive screws right into it.
Thanks everyone . I ended up being able to use a standard sized valve box for in ground. I realized they make they for different depths so I was able to get one that will fit. thank you!