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Old 04-10-2012, 12:46 AM   #1
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Foundation wall too low.


Previous owner built addition to the existing house. I was fixing some cedar siding at the corner of the addition and found a couple feet of bottom 2x6 sill almost completely rotten. So I checked all around and found out that top of foundation is only about 1" above grade. Is there any solution to my problem other then take this addition apart and add some height to the foundation wall?

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Old 04-10-2012, 06:27 AM   #2
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Foundation wall too low.


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...found out that top of foundation is only about 1" above grade.
Is there any solution to my problem...?
Poorly done grading is a fairly common problem.
The solution (in almost every instance) is to lower the grading.

Or you could, I suppose, raise the house.

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Old 04-10-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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Foundation wall too low.


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Poorly done grading is a fairly common problem.
The solution (in almost every instance) is to lower the grading.

Or you could, I suppose, raise the house.
Correct.....

Did the PO use PT wood for the bottom plate?
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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Foundation wall too low.


That's one of the most common problums I come across when doing home repairs.

That and building a deck or stoop level with the door opening.

What we have done is remove the siding Cut the sheathing 2' up from the foundation or slab, replace the bottom plate with pressure treated wood and cut off any rotted studs, add a piece then sister another one 2' long next to it.
Replace any rotted insulation.
Replace the sheathing.
Add what amounts to Z moulding so the metal runs up the wall 6" and is bent so it goes out over the foundtaion and runs under ground. This is to stop water from getting in under the wall.
We then use Storm and ice shield on the wall.
We use 1 X 6 vinyl lumber at the bottom of the wall held in place with stainless steel of ceramic coated trim head screws.
Then another piece of Z moulding.
A strip of vinyl or pressure treated lattice to act as a kick out for the siding then just install new siding.
The best part of the vinyl at the bottom of the wall is if the weed wacker hits it your not hitting the siding.
We have done this to lots of sheds, pump houses, DIY additions, garages and it works great and never have had a call back.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
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Foundation wall too low.


The mudsill should be 6" from grade. Raising a house or addition 5" is going to be orders of magnitude more expensive than regrading. That's not to say regrading is just a matter of shoveling a few inches of dirt away from the perimeter of the house. You need to make sure that the soil slopes away from the foundation. If you take 5" from the edge and you end up with soil that is level or sloping downward into the foundation, you'll have fixed your mudsill/siding failure issue, but created even larger headaches down the road. Consult with a professional landscaper (not a lawn mowing service!). If they're a good outfit, they'll know grading requirements and tell you what's practical to do. Note that the IRC (code book) has specific grading mandates that should be met.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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Foundation wall too low.


Thanks joecaption. I think I will go your way. That first Z molding, you said 6" up the wall, how deep should go down under ground?
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:11 PM   #7
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Foundation wall too low.


Hi Corterll. Lowering of grade is not good option for me, total length of addition walls is almost 150' and area to remove soil would be up to 30' out. Although existing grade has proper slope. How about pouring 3' sloped sidewalk around the house and seal the gap between foundation and sidewalk. Would that keep moisture away from the wall?
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:15 PM   #8
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Foundation wall too low.


This bottom plate is not PT wood.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Foundation wall too low.


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Hi Corterll. Lowering of grade is not good option for me, total length of addition walls is almost 150' and area to remove soil would be up to 30' out. Although existing grade has proper slope. How about pouring 3' sloped sidewalk around the house and seal the gap between foundation and sidewalk. Would that keep moisture away from the wall?
That sounds like a really awkward solution. It would look really odd, IMO, and I sure hope no one would try to walk on it on an icy day. Plus installing a properly done sidewalk is way more expensive than regrading. And as a bonus, it probably wouldn't solve anything and possibly make things worse. This walkway would be 1" from your mudsill and your siding. Guess what heavy rain does when it hits pavement. It splashes.

Honestly, regrading an area 30'x150' is not going to cost you an arm and a leg. A good landscaper with a bobcat could probably knock it out in 4-8 hours. Then there's resoding, if you have grass. If you have sprinklers, that's a much bigger issue. And if you have any utility lines in that area, it's a non-starter.

Last edited by cortell; 04-11-2012 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:31 PM   #10
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Foundation wall too low.


Along as the flashings below the slab your fine.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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Foundation wall too low.


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What we have done is remove the siding Cut the sheathing 2' up from the foundation or slab, replace the bottom plate with pressure treated wood and cut off any rotted studs, add a piece then sister another one 2' long next to
Joe, I'm very curious. How do you safely replace the mud sill on an exterior/load bearing wall??? After all, you're only cutting off 2' of sheathing. I'm dying to know.
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Old 07-27-2012, 03:37 PM   #12
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Foundation wall too low.


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Joe, I'm very curious. How do you safely replace the mud sill on an exterior/load bearing wall??? After all, you're only cutting off 2' of sheathing. I'm dying to know.
Did anybody figure out to replace the mud sill. I ran into the same situation. I'm about to redo my cedar siding and I realized that my foundation is barely above ground level. I was hoping there was another reason my current shingles are basically touching the ground. Regrading is out of the option, for now, as I would have to rip up my brick patio.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #13
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Foundation wall too low.


When we build this low to the ground level we treat the bottom 16" or 2' as a basement, Treated sill, treated plywood and waterproofing.

You will need to temporarily support your roof, with a beam or temp wall inside,
Open up the outside of the wall, remove 16" min ( or 2') of sheeting, sill plate and fix any rotten studs.
Put in Pressure treated sill, pressure treated plywood, and cover with blueskin, or bitumastic coating and Black plastic or other basement system.
The reside over it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #14
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Foundation wall too low.


Thanks for the info. I removed the siding off the first wall today. The sill plate had a few rotten spots, but nothing too deep or major. I was going to spray it w/ something that i have (forget the name) that kills dry rot. I was going to let that dry and then inject it w/ one of those epoxies that hardens rotten wood. I was then going to caulk between the sill plate, foundation and the board on top of the sill plate. I'll cover it w/ blueskin or a similar type of product. I had to remove the bottom sheething board (my house uses 1x8 as sheathing). I'll replace the bottom board w/ pressure treated lumber. Is there anything else that I should do? My siding is cedar shingles w/ an under course. I'm making the bottom row three courses deep.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:22 PM   #15
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Foundation wall too low.


I forgot one more question. My framing is even w/ the outside of the foundation wall. The sheathing sticks out past the foundation, is that normal?

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