Robert Lamoureux | You’ll shed a tear if soil exceeds weep screed

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: My question is about a planter that I have against my house. We moved into this home this year, here in Stevenson Ranch. It’s a great home but I think the previous owners may have done a disservice to it with the way they did the landscaping.  

I noticed recently that one of the planters that is right next to the house is very full, where the soil goes up against the stucco, not the usual lower amount. Should I be concerned about this and do something?  

— Jeanette M. 

Answer: Jeanette, absolutely this should be modified. Any time soil exceeds the weep screed mark, the problem is just a heavy rain away. The weep screed is the flashing detail under the stucco, which directs water away from the home. Generally it allows the water to flow away and down, onto the ground area below it, whatever that may be made up of.  

In your case you have soil above the weep screed area so as soon as enough water accumulates in that planter, and it only takes one heavy downpour where the planter cannot drain fast enough, that water will take the path of least resistance — that will be into your home. Whatever room/area is inside, opposite that planter, I’d check it for any potential issues at the floor.  

You may have already had some water intrusion and not know it. Dig out that planter to lower that soil level to well below the weep screed area. If this is a planter that is heavily planted with mature plant life, you may be looking at excavating that plant life to do this properly. It may be opening a can of worms but anything you have to do outside in a planter is much less work and money than if you end up flooding into your home.  

Redo this planter to the proper level and add in drains if necessary. You won’t regret redoing it properly. My business motto is, “Do it once, do it right.” I highly recommend this. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].          

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