Water Diversion / Retaining Wall Input Sought

uvascanyon(8A)August 28, 2011

While IâÂÂll do my best to explain, I attach a short, less than one minute video tooâ¦

Minus some touch-up painting and a gutter system, I recently finished constructing a 24â x 12â patio shelter. I look to put some type of âÂÂflooringâ in soon, and since we have a 2 year old and 3 month old baby, IâÂÂm looking at those rubber pavers. My concern is as follows:

When it rains, there is a flow of water from the left to the right, when facing the house, as seen in the video. I want to prevent the water from taking that route now (diver it) as I now want to use this space and put flooring down. Over time, one can see what this flow has done by simply looking at the crawl space vent distance to the ground. On the left (in the video), compared to the one furthest on the right is about a 10â deltaâ¦

IâÂÂm thinking that It would be prudent to put some kind of barrier at the left corner of the house (by the hose and BBQ) and extend it out approximately 12 feet to where the structure ends. I hesitate to call it a retaining wall, but I suppose it is, because the earth is about an inch or two higher further back, or to leftâ¦

I was thinking of putting some 6 x 6 pressure treated lumber down, and painting them as I know that treated wood is not safe. Or⦠I have a concrete mixer and can certainly make a form put a 12â âÂÂcurbâ there. Or, make my own concrete blocks⦠No matter what is put there, should I go right up to the stucco on the house, and if not, how much space should I leave? If I ever need to paint or do any work on the exterior of the house, it would seem like a good idea to leave a gap there, maybe the thickness of an easily removable 2 x 4?

Curious to hear any thoughts or input others might have. Thanks much.


Here is a link that might be useful: Video

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1- by "rubber pavers", are you referring to the recycled rubber pavers by VAST (or something comparable)? They're used in commercial applications like college campuses, so if you think rubber=soft you may be disappointed. I have a couple samples here under my desk and when you rap them with a knuckle, it's comparable to composite lumber.

2- why do you believe pressure treated wood to be unsafe? The new stuff (new as in the last several years) is treated with copper, not arsenic. I've been looking for studies that show the copper leaches and haven't found 'em. A timber is going to be your cheapest and easiest route, but if you're going to paint wood that's in constant contact with the ground... well, paint a patch of dirt out in the yard if you want to see how well it'll hold up.

Does the water have somewhere to go after the wall diverts it, or is it going to shwank back around to the patio area?

If it's this short, I'd do 6x6 timber if I wanted cheap and easy. If I wanted something nicer looking and more permanent, I'd do either a granite cobblestone or a man-made equivalent, like Tech-Bloc's Belgik cobble. The second you start talking about poured concrete, you're talking footers - which will be a lot of work for a 6" wall. Here in VA, that would mean going down 24" to then go up 6.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:16AM
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Thank you marcinde.

I hope all is well for you there in VA, in the wake of Irene...

The rubber pavers as sold by The Home Depot, as an example. They are usually 16 x 16 or 18 x 18 inches. I've felt them and they are spoongy and soft. Should a little one fall, I'd feel much better having these, as opposed to concrete pavers or the like...

As far as pressure-treated wood is concerned, I've come to learn that there have been changes over the years, I seem to recall in the late 90's and again around 2004. But, searching the web, still yields what seems to be valid concerns about today's PT wood.

Once the water is halted by whatever wall or edge is put there, it would then naturally flow downward past the patio area. We are nestled into a hill in a canyon and that's the downward slope from rear to front of the house (left to right)...

I plan to put in a perforated pipe at the base of this short wall or edge too.

Any thoughts if I should have this barrier go right up to the house, up against the stucco, or have some type of spacing?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I'm far enough inland that we escaped anything even resembling damage. Lots of rain and some branches down, that's it in my neck of the woods, thanks!

Question for you on the pavers - are these things sold for use around playsets or something? What goes between them? In other words, will water sheet across the entire patio, or will it infiltrate between the pavers? We just did an application (giant chessboard) where we had to account for water draining through the rubber tiles. Worth considering, especially if you already have water issues.

I would have a gap between the wall and the stucco, but you'll want to make sure that water is not then going to sit in there.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 4:17PM
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The one's sold at THD are called Envirotile, as seen here:


One can put down a concrete slab (not an option I wish to do), rock, or plywood. Not sure what I'll do, I just know that I first down want rain run-off going this area now. Here in CA, rain is basically from Halloween to Memorial Day or so... I have a couple months before we get rain, so that is why I want to get this done fairly soon...

If were to use something fast like these concrete blocks, I'd be able to make them look nice later by adhering decorative rock to them or tiles, I would think. If not, please let me know. If so, I can attach 2 x 8's lumber to the top so it can be used for seating, while also covering the hard concrete corners from our babies...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 4:49PM
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I read water diversion and retaining wall in the title and I see a red light flashing I read a bit more and now I can hear the bells too.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 6:10PM
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inkognito, do you care to add more or elaborate? Otherwise, your expression is not that constructive. Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 6:20PM
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I just meant that I would/will walk away, no offense.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:04PM
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So, you wouldn't even consider attempting to keep the water from flowing through the area? I'm all ears. It would seem that there have been more challenging diversions, but I'm curious to hear your reasoning... No offense taken. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:21PM
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If I had to guess, ink is saying that when it comes to moving water on a site, you really need someone there in person to design the solution. He's totally right. I'm happy to discuss material solutions with you like I have been, but there's a reason why I haven't said "do this, this, and this and all will be good." Water's tough.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:08PM
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I too agree with ink and marcinde. Constructing what would essentially be a dike abutting the structure that you are trying to protect - a fast and easy fix - will never work for any meaningful period of time. And once the dike is breached, especially if it is subterranean, your foundation will again be at risk of compromise. This may be an instance of "penny wise, pound foolish".

Yes, the gutters should help to divert water. However, it looks as if your property has a negative slope and perhaps questionable soil quality which exacerbates surface runoff. You need to hire a local expert to help you with percolation testing, topographical surveys, grading recommendations and specific drainage options for your site. It is a worthwhile expense - just not one of the fun ones. Good lick.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:43PM
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I really appreciate the input guys. That is what I'm after here guys (and gals)...

I had said earlier that I thought land had eroded based upon the distance from the ground to the crawl space vents. The more I look at things, I don't think that is a proper conclusion. First, the ground in the crawls is identical, or at the same level and slope as what we see outside. Also, if the ground was higher, to the same point in relation to those vents, it would be much higher than some wood fascia just around the corner of the house. It would also cover a large concrete step up to the deck, I think visible in the video. So, it appears that whatever amount of water has gone through this area over some 50+ years, it has not altered anything with respect to the ground / erosion. At least not appreciably. I feel much better about this...

While driving home tonight, I remembered something that I had forgotten about. Check-out this one minute video of a concrete drain that is fed by a gutter down spout and also an overflow pond / reservoir. It then runs under the patio structure and into some ivy and what maybe you all can make out as a redwood tree.

Might there be some creative way that I can make use of this drain? I ran hose water through this system and it works like a champ...

I'm contemplating pier blocks and constructing an outdoor plywood floor a few inches off the ground, then flooring materials on top, probably those decorative rubber pavers.

Here is a link that might be useful: existing drain systems

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:34PM
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I can't really make any further drainage suggestions but I do want to say that your little girl is a real charmer!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:10AM
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adriennemb, thank you. I really love being a Dad. She sitting here next to me now, past her bedtime...

Back to the existing drain... The concrete junction is fairly near the patio sheltered area, less than 2' away. The exit pipe appears to be ABS. Might it be possible to somehow patch into this pipe, and go up vertically, like with a T? I envision a collector drain, I guess like the French ones I've seen. Water that would accumulate there would then drain downward and out that existing pipe.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:57AM
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