It’s humid in Texas. To those who live in this state, you can testify to this fact. As Texans, we do everything possible to try to eliminate humidity. We run our AC and monitor the humidity levels. Experts say it should be around 40%. We divert water away from our homes, have proper grading with our soil. I know building codes now have certain practices in place so new hmes built have specifc grading criteria to comply by; but those are the new houses. My house was originally built in the early 1940’s when at that time, there was no such thing as building up to code.
This brings me to the slight dilema we encountered when we moved into this home. As you know we are from South Africa. Houses there are built very differently. All homes are built with bricks and mortar; even the interior walls. The first time I heard about this “gadget” called a stud finder, was when we moved to the US. It took me a while to get used to this idea. So with that being said, mold is not a factor in SA. Should you live in a humid place and see traces of mold, you simply wipe it away and it is gone. It will do no damage to your home.
The home we live in now is obvioulsy not a brick and mortar home, its siding – very old siding – with no correct grading. As we pulled our UHaul truck into the property the day we closed, it was raining cats and dogs. It was one big mud bath. It was at that moment as I was observing the water level rising right next to my house and the puddles visible everywhere, that it struck me that we may have an issue. I was contemplating that we buy a Shop Vac to suck up the water next to the house! Would that be possible?
Fast forward to 4 months later and you will notice some changes. We added 4 drains leading into a french drain and graded 3/4 around the house at this point. There are areas where soil touches my siding which is a big no-no and we had to make a plan. My dislike to landscapers fabric makes my idea a little different but I can attest to the fact that it works. My home no longer smells wet and mildewy, plus it enhanced my lanscaping, it keep critters away as they cannot burrow next to the house to get into the crawl space either.
This is what we bought:
Painters plastic (good thick quality)
Rubber mulch (where soil touches my siding) and regular wood mulch (where there is sufficient concrete foundation clearance) .
We graded so that any water would wash away from the house.
It’s pretty basic. Cut the plastic to size and lay it down where you want it. Cut holes out where you want to place your plants. I poke a few additional holes for adequate drainage. Plant the plants, throw down the mulch and figure your border out. We didn’t want to spend anymore money so we just used what we had laying around.
The wet smell is gone and my landscaping looks clean and fresh. The reason I also prefer using plastic is because no weeds grow through…ever. You may pick up some leaves from time to time and a stray grass blade here or there but it is not time consuming. Easy low maintenance.
I do want to stress that keeping moisture away from the sides of your home may not always be the right thing to do. In Dallas the soil is predominantly clay and as it dries out, it may contract causing foundation issues so please consult with your local area if this is okay.
The plants still have to grow and we are still working on having a perfect lawn but that will come in time.