Question: Hi Robert, we had a near-miss on a house flood in the last rains, and I need to know what to do about the problem area. We’ve only been in our home for a few months, and come to find out, the planters adjacent to the house are all filled with soil to above the area where the stucco and foundation are.
There is no drainage in the planters themselves, so they literally filled like swimming pools and my wife and I were outside during the storm, using buckets to empty them so they wouldn’t flood the house. At this time we’ve lowered the soil level of the planters but I think we need to do more, only I’m not sure what that should be. Any ideas on how to prevent this from happening again?
— Dale E.
Answer: Dale, you are so lucky that you caught that problem in time to save yourself the headache of flooding inside your home. Good job, lowering the soil level on all planters, that’s step one.
A lot will depend on what material is closing these planters in – you didn’t mention so I will assume it is what is common in our area, some sort of brick. Another consideration is, where will this water now drain to, if we have you put weep holes through the brick?
You definitely don’t want to evacuate the water over a sidewalk — that could be recipe for disaster with slip-and-fall issues. Ideally, you could drain onto a lawn area.
To properly waterproof these planters, you will need to excavate soil to the planter and waterproof using Bituthene or Auzzie — each are acceptable waterproofing products. Installing weep holes and covering them with a fine mesh fabric will allow the water through but not mud.
If that isn’t possible, it may be a bigger project where you’d have to dig under a walkway and install drains. Either way you are in for some work, but it sounds like you can rest a bit easier until spring or summer, when you’re good to go for a stretch of time. 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].