Planters against the side of a home can lead to moisture intrusion into a wall and even mold and mildew in a few circumstances. Buyers and homeowners should check to see if a planter is against the homes siding and if it’s higher than the floor level of the home.
Damage to the homes wall?
Planters often have dirt that is against the siding of a house. If there is not a proper barrier between the siding and the soil in a planter, moisture may seep into the wall of the home. In some areas builders waterproof the wall or siding to prevent moisture from entering the wall. Unfortunately, the waterproofing cracks or deteriorates over time and moisture enters the wall and can cause damage to the wood. Occasionally mold or mildew may develop.
Maintaining the back side of the planter so that moisture will not enter the homes wall should be part of your home maintenance plan.
Having a back wall on the planter with a two-inch air gap between the planter and the homes wall will greatly reduce or stop any moisture intrusion. Often the building codes have addressed this issue and have required a minimum of a two-inch air gap between the planter and a home’s wall. This air gap prevents moisture from entering the wall by providing an escape path for water and it allows air to circulate, helping to keep the gap area dry. If the gap is between 2 inches and 6 inches, the building jurisdiction may want the gap covered to reduce leaves, debris, and moisture from entering the gap area.
Homeowners who are concerned about moisture intrusion will often remove or modify the planter. Removing the planter and re-landscaping the area can solve the problem, as well as enhancing the appearance of the house.
A mold and mildew check
Should you have a planter where the soil level is above the interior floor level of the home and the planter construction is such that excessive moisture may penetrate through the homes wall (i.e no 2-inch clearance between planter and house wall), then you should do a mold and mildew check of the house wall; both the inside drywall and the exterior wall. Check for evidence of:
- Stains and dark discolorations
- Musty or mildew type odors
If moisture has intruded into the homes wall cavity, insulation may have gotten wet, there is a possibility of wood deterioration and mold and mildew may have developed. (Read more about mold)