Judging by the ads Google runs in the side bar of this site, I’m guessing they think this site is about home repair, fixing leaks, stucco repair, and leak repair. (Just thought I’d throw in a few more key words for the construction ads).
When Google thinks it knows what your site is about they start sending visitors to your site who are looking for information about that topic. So for anyone wanting to know how our leak repair story ended, here is a description of our final solution for the wall leak we discovered a few months ago: GUTTERS.
Gutters solved 90% of the problem. They look nice, they were easy to install (i.e. it was easy to find a good installer), and they eliminated the cause of the problem by removing the water from the narrow section between our houses.
Getting our stucco repaired was another part of the solution. It was necessary because we had a hole in the side of our house, but I am not convinced that over the years that even repaired, well sealed, and painted stucco can withstand the water pressure that regularly exists on the side of our house if we didn’t have gutters.
Paint was another part of the solution. I dug the dirt away from the foundation all the way around the house and painted all the stucco I could reach as far down as I could reach. Several contractors suggested doing this as a way of keeping water from seeping through the stucco.
A French drain was NOT part of the solution. I considered the cost and effort of installing a below-ground drain, and it seemed like I’d be at the $500 mark quickly. After installation there would still be two significant problems left to solve: aesthetics and maintenance. The aesthetics of a line of gravel running down my side yard didn’t appeal to me, and I couldn’t think of a way to hide it with landscaping that wouldn’t also ruin the French drain. And maintenance on such a drain is necessary to keep it working. And the drain would only help if it could run out to the street or the pond in our backyard – all at the right slope. For our relatively flat Florida lot, this just didn’t seem like a good solution.
Tropical Storm Fay brought a week of heavy rain to Central Florida. On the Sunday after the rain stopped an informal raised-hand survey of people at our church indicated that about 30% of everyone had some sort of leak in their house during that storm. Our house didn’t get a drop inside, so I think it passed the test. I think this problem is solved.
Now I just have to get Andrew to fill in that ditch.