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Community and Q&A

How to deal with a drainage problem along the side of our house?

Ckind | Posted in General Questions on

We have a 1950s house in Saskatoon, SK, Canada (climate = warm summers, very cold winters and ~ 350mm moisture/year). Our neighbours re-built their house and the landscaped surface is now ~12″ higher than ours (about level with our stucco siding). One of their downspouts also drains directly onto our property (don’t ask). There is 3 ft between our outside wall and the property line. They have a concrete sidewalk between their house and the property line.

We have had several suggestions for dealing with drainage on our side:
a) pond liner + 6″ crusher dust tamped every 2″ and sloped towards the neighbour as well as towards the front of the house (property drains to the front)
b) weeping tile with landscape fabric and gravel
c) excavate to clay (remove topsoil) and add 2″ base gravel with clay sloping towards neighbour and to front of house.

Any suggestions as to which, if any, of these makes the most sense? If not, any other suggestions are welcome.


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  1. fitchplate | | #1

    Colin ... first thing to do is call the City and speak to a municipal property standards officer or building inspector. If your neighbor's drainage is directed to your property, their is a violation in code and it will also be a by-law infraction. They will likely order the neighbor to fix it. Even if you ignored the infraction and tried to solve it yourself, its a problem that needs addressing at the supply side, not the receiving end. A french drain and a catch basin is easy to install on a weekend; all parts available at Home Depot.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Flitch is right; the first step is to see if you can show that this problem is your neighbor's responsibility.

    If you end up being stuck with this problem, the minimum requirement is to change the grade so that (a) the grade is at least 8 inches lower than the bottom of your stucco cladding, (b) the grade slopes away from your house toward your property line, and (c) there is a drainage swale near your property line that slopes toward the front of your house.

    These details can be beefed up by including an "underground roof." For more information on underground roofs, see:

    An Underground Roof

    Fixing Those Drainage Problems, 30 Years Later

    Inground Gutters

    Ground Gutters

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