For context: Talking about at 1920 stucco/lath+plaster house on raised perimeter foundation in the Bay Area.

I know that in modern construction the stucco would never go all the way down, there would be weep screeds etc but with this old house, stucco goes all the way down (covering the foundation as well) and I have pavers or worse, soil directly against the wall.

I want to fix this. As most important step pull back the soil and create an air gap. But while I’m at it, why not just build a French drain as well?

My question is: When I dig a trench right next to the exterior wall, do I risk compromising any structural integrity?

If so, how deep should I maximally dig? Anything else to consider?

1 Answer 1


Don't dig deeper than the foot of the foundation. Other than that you should be fine digging beside the foundation.

  • Any ideas how far from the building wall one should dig ?
    – dinesh R
    Commented Apr 29 at 14:34

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