Water running off stone patio into conservatory doors at house

by Susan
(Toronto, ON, Canada)

Stone Patio With Water Issues

Stone Patio With Water Issues

Here's a question regarding water getting into the house due to improper installation of patio.

Water is running off patio into the house. Please also visit my page on Landscape Grading

Our contractor build our new stone patio right up to the doors, with the stones being about .33 inch higher

The water from a leaking hose alerted us to the water pooling in front of and then slipping into the room through the french patio doors
Any idea how to correct this problem?


Do you mean he brought the stone to .33 inches below the doors, not above? If the stone is above the doors, then how could you open them?! :)

Let me know and I'll make suggestions.


They are above the door but the doors open inward.


I cannot think of any reason why someone would design a patio this way. Actually I can make a guess that the grade outside of your doors is higher, but it is still not acceptable. (After seeing the photos at a later date, this was not the case! See recommendations below.) There are other ways to deal with this type of problem. I am sorry to say this but I feel your patio must be redone, or at least partially. There is nothing stopping the water from going into your home. The only way I can think of, based on what you have told me, of rectifying the situation is by removing part of the patio for a distance of a couple of feet minimum. This way you can create an area that will be lower than your doors. However, the water that collects there should most likely go into a drain which would lead the water elsewhere.

If I were designing this from scratch, I would start the elevation of the patio at least a few inches (the more the better such as in 4 to 7 inches for a step down) lower than your interior room elevation. I would then grade the patio away from the house at 1/4 inch per foot. The water that reaches the outer perimeter of your patio must go somewhere. A swale can be created, a drain can be installed or if for some reason these options are not feasible due to the grades of your property (such as the rear being very, very high), then a retaining wall could be placed at the patio border. A pipe should be placed here to collect water if running towards the patio. Ideally the land should lead away from the patio if possible.

I am sure you spent a lot of money on the patio and I am sorry that I could not give you a more practical, easy solution. However, it's better to correct it now before storms or ice melting create a perpetual water issue for you.


Thank you so much for your amazing answer and suggestions!


Your welcome! If I can be of further help, let me know. I understand your dilemma. I had a similar situation at my own home as far as water coming in through french doors due to improper grading of previous owners.


Hi Susan
Just to follow up (Water running into Conservatory doors from new
stone patio)

The contractor came back and said he could remove the top layer and lower it by 1"
, then he put it back on and that would solve the water getting into the door issue Keeping in mind that we live in Toronto, ON and can get up to 18" of snow pooling around the doors in winter In addition, we have no covering of any kind over the patio.

In your opinion, would his suggestion work?
We personally thought it best to remove the entire top layer of the patio reducing it to two steps as opposed to the three, giving us about a 5 or 6 inch drop away from the doors.

I have enclosed some photos.

Thanks in advance for your opinion and advise, which I very much value!
Kind Regards


I received your pictures. I see now that your grades are very different than I assumed. This is why photos are so important! Also, this now makes the design in regard to the elevations something that could have been easily avoided.

Would you please get the height difference (re-check) how much above your interior flooring the top level of your patio is. Then get the measurements of each riser. From the top platform as you step down to a step would be Riser A. The next would be Riser B. The last as you step onto the main patio would be riser C.

I totally agree with you that the top platform should be removed altogether. One inch is not good enough. I don't know why he didn't make it similar to the original deck where you had a regular step, down on to the deck. That design was so irresponsible.

I am asking for these measurements to see how high all your risers, or step-down's, are. Ideally, they should all be the same. However, if the step down from your house to the top of the patio is different than the others, that is ok. It looks as if the last riser is higher than the one before it.



Riser A (Top Step) 5 3/4"
Riser B (Middle step) 5 1/2"
Riser 3 (Bottom Step) 8"


Here are your options:

1. Remove the top landing. You will then step down 5 3/4" + 1/3". For easy addition and rounding off, let's make the 1/3", 1/4". So you will then have a 6" step out of your house. If you left all else alone, you will then have a 6" step out, then a 5 1/2" step/riser and then an 8" riser. I would never design steps this way as they are all different. However, I don't know how far you can push you contractor. Ideally, it would be the next option below.

2. This entails re-doing it all. Add all risers together, using the 1/4" measurement instead of the 1/3" for ease of calculations. You will then have a total of 19 1/2". Divide that by three because you will have one step down out of your house and two additional steps down to the main patio. It works out that each step will be 6 1/2"... perfect.

Note: Each step much slope towards the main patio. Your top landing must slope away from the house also. I like to work with a minimum slope of 1/4" per foot. However, some contractors work with a bit less.

Good luck! If you do it my way, you will have no water issues.


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