It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the early stages of hillside erosion, expecially if you can’t really see the problem. As in this case, where a water pipe was leaking under the patio softening up the soil around it. This pipe had been leaking for years and every time the rains came they washed away more loose soil from under the patio.
Until one day the bushes could no longer hide the problem and the gardener discovered that part of the home owners patio was now floating on air. And it all started with a leaky water pipe.
So it sounds like an easy fix right, just repair the pipe and back fill the space with dirt. But remember this had been going on for years, and the damage went far beyond the patio. You see the constant flow of water (water is sneaky) was running all along the hillside wooden retaining wall softening even more of the hillside soil, which when the rains came also got washed away, this was potentially compromising the whole stability of the hillside. But it didn’t stop there.
Upon further inspection of the hillside retaining wall we find much of it is rotting, this due to the fact that when the waterproofed timbers were cut, the now exposed ends of the wood used to build the retaining wall had never been re-sealed. Moisture was entering the wood at these cut points and rotting the wood from the inside out. The retaining wall was now failing at many places with the rotting timber no longer able to hold the soil in place. Not sealing the wood cuts, had cut the life of the retaining wall in half…maybe even more.
In a word this hillside retaining wall was “shot” so to insure the safety of the patio; in other words keep it from sliding down the hill putting the house in danger, a totally new retaining wall needed to be built.
It all started with a leaky pipe, then the damage was compounded by earlier builders not taking the time to seal the cut ends of the waterproof timber used to build the retaining wall. More to come on this project…
The Crew at Aim Higher Construction, General Contractors in Los Angeles