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When we think of landscaping, we think of curb appeal – flowers, plants, walkways, driveways and patios. We might not think of Ontario Building Code.

When we have any exterior cladding like masonry or siding, whether it wood, aluminum or vinyl, there has to be a measurable distance from surrounding grass, garden soils and any hard surface such as driveways and walkways.

The Ontario Building Code says to leave a minimum of 6” between the exterior cladding to the grade because any water will wick up the wall and cause rot to wood products and spalling to masonry products.

To provide some context behind these photos: the client wanted to have some landscaping done to the front walkway. In doing so, the stones were placed past the top of the foundation wall, which has caused water to penetrate the home.

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How did this happen? The space between the top of the foundation wall and the masonry wall will allow water to seep through because it has nowhere else to go. If the concrete was sealed off with a tar based product, water could not leak in and the masonry would still be intact.

It should be noted that prior to this landscaping project, the client never had any water in their home from this entrance point.

By planning ahead and ensuring a proper distance between your home and your new driveway or walkway, you can avoid a water leak and interior home damage!