This is a side cutaway drawing of an existing 1930's stucco wall, showing the stucco in red and the original foundation. There is no weep screed, and originally the stucco was troweled right up to the then-current ground level.

Concrete pour up to stucco wall

This is a Mediterranean climate non-freezing area with expansive clay soil. For drainage reasons the new walkway must direct water away from the house.

What's the best way to pour a new walkway right up to such a foundation edge? How high would you set the top of the walkway, compared to the foundation? What sort of expansion joint, if any, would you place? The choices seem to be to bond the walkway to the existing foundation, potentially increasing consequences of movement. Or, try for a really thin expansion gap (tar paper?).

  • Some areas require 6" below the siding, my current location allows walkways to be within 1" below when not earth. I have poured many walkways 3' wide with no expansion joint at the foundation this was recommended to prevent termites and carpenter ants from tunneling through when in close contact to the siding having a weep screen will help keep the sub siding area dry and reduce the tasty damp wood problem.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 16:47
  • If you use no expansion joint, do you rod and bond the concrete? Won't that risk torque or damage to the older softer foundation concrete? If you used an expansion joint what would it be made of? I'm currently thinking of going 1.75" above the T-step, leaving 1.25" to the ragged old stucco edge.
    – Bryce
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 19:16
  • The older foundation is actually harder, expansion joints are needed along the length of the walk but only 3-4' wide it dosent need one at the foundation.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 22:26
  • The pour above is to be about 4' to a 4" curb, followed by an existing 8' wide 6" deep concrete driveway. So choices seem to be rod & concrete bonder, pour to foundation with no prep, or insert a bonding breaker (foam or tar paper) to prevent new from adhering to old. @EdBeal
    – Bryce
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 7:56

2 Answers 2


If you're relying on the walkway for water or damp proofing, you're on the wrong path... so to speak. You've got lots of options but if you don't stop the bulk of the water before it gets to the house it'll be a problem later. Water is the enemy. Divert it as far from the problem as possible.

You haven't given us enough information to help you. I'd need a rough site plan showing the slopes out to the best lot low spot and some detailed photos. Otherwise we're just guessing.

The concrete will never be any larger than the day you pour it. Same with the masonry. No "expansion" joints required, however there IS a product that may help you... It's a pvc drain the same size and shape and placement AS an expansion joint, do a search. If you can't stop the water before it gets to the wall, all you can really do is make sure it goes away really fast, and though I've only used it once, it handles a LOT of water if you keep it clean. Install per instructions over FULLY MECHANICALLY COMPACTED CLEAN GRAVEL, OVER FULLY COMPACTED FREE DRAINING SOIL ONLY, GET THE EXPANSIVE CLAY OUT OF THERE... then caulk the l.s. out of it with commercial grade, urethane self-leveling, thixotropic caulk. Don't cheat... No bond breaker necessary.

Put a foot or two of clean stone under the "slab" to the site drain. Line the excavation with filter fabric.. it's cheap. Then install filter fabric OVER that stone and then decorative gravel over that. 4" ought be good. Run a plate compactor over it til it rings. Then, instead of the concrete/PVC, the whole walkway becomes your drain. The more I think about it, do that.


I agree with Ed Beal. You definitely should not bond the walkway to the foundation or building at all. Nor, do you need any expansion joint, the new concrete will not glue to the foundation and will be able to act independently.

As far as walkway height, it depends on the rain and drainage you have. If you've never had pooling water and the soil is slightly sloped away, then I agree with your plan of 1-inch or so below the top of the foundation wall or the sill.

If you feel you need better water shedding or a cleaner look, then you can steeply ramp or hump the first inch or 2 up to the stucco and almost match the stucco's depth. You want the concrete slightly setback (1/4") from the stucco's face so water can't run behind the walkway.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.