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simiesue 01-01-2012 07:30 PM

Is this normal??? Exposed wood near foundation of house?
4 Attachment(s)
We were looking at a home we have put an offer on and we noticed that there is exposed wood (looks rotted) running along the back of the house (where the concrete meets the dirt). I will attach pictures so you can see what I am talking about. Our realtor has never seen this before and neither have I. It is like every foot and a half.. you will see a wood piece. There was one wood piece that was covered with a thin layer of concrete (?) and when I touched it.... it crumbled thus exposing more of the wood piece. I am assuming that all of the wood was once covered but now is not. Also there was one piece of wood that was jetting out from the home.. like 2 inches...?? Also one corner of the home in the back.. you can see exposed wood that then leads up under the siding. This piece is loose and moves easily. Then you see the wood post too. What is going on with this???

It is important to note that the interior of that (basement) wall has the long vertical cracks running down (I will post pics too). So, could the wood that is exposed on the outside be the culprit of the cracks running down the basement wall on the inside?

simiesue 01-01-2012 07:45 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Here are the pics of the basement walls with the vertical cracks... looks like 2 were professionally fixed. Now these cracks are on the inside of the wall with the outside exposed wood... correlation???
So the realtor thought that the 2 cracks that were professionally fixed were probably fixed by the builder (8 years ago or so) since there are arrows stating where to fix....
What do you think is going on with the one pic where it looks like water was getting in??? - looks reddish in color. Nothing is visually wet now.. and it was not fixed so not sure what is going on there.
Then there is a picture of a think crack going vertically down the wall... there are 3 of these.. so in review... the back basement wall has ~6 vertical cracks (2 professionally fixed with filler and posts/pegs sticking out of the concrete, 1 crack that appeared to have leaked water at one point, and 3 thin cracks.
What do the experts think???

cleveman 01-01-2012 11:00 PM

why don't you put your location in your profile?

quite strange. Are those floor joists let into the masonry? Perhaps it is not even masonry but just a rim joist which has been plastered or parged.

Funky is the name of the game.

mae-ling 01-02-2012 12:37 AM

What exactly is that wood doing? Strapping for the siding to carry down the concrete from the wall above?

abracaboom 01-02-2012 01:29 AM


Originally Posted by mae-ling (Post 809796)
What exactly is that wood doing? Strapping for the siding to carry down the concrete from the wall above?

That's what it looks like to me: the bottom ends of 2x4s that were embedded into the ouside of the concrete walls to have something to nail the siding to.

simiesue 01-02-2012 10:53 AM

So it sounds like the row of exposed wood isnt a big deal?? Can it do any damage to house structure (integrity) since it is rotted? What about the picture of the corner of the house... with that wood post and rotted wood piece dangling....
Thanks for your help..

joecaption 01-02-2012 11:05 AM

Is that a block house?
I'd be unlocking some of that siding and looking behind it.
If that is strapping to hold the siding it was a very poor job. There should have been a horz. piece where the bottom of the siding would go that should at least 4" wide then the strapping would sit above it. It's there to attach the starter strip.
By doing it with no bottom piece the siding is not supported and will be wavy, als air can get in behind it, and with wood that close to the ground termites have a ladder to get into the house.

simiesue 01-02-2012 11:38 AM

Joe- what do you mean by 'block house'??

joecaption 01-02-2012 11:53 AM

Concrete block.

simiesue 01-02-2012 12:05 PM

it is poured concrete

Gary in WA 01-02-2012 10:06 PM

Around here, we call them inset nailers for siding. Because the siding installs below the upper floor but doesn't have a wood frame wall there and the two levels need to be flush in front. The concrete is poured to the top of the 8' panels and the builder doesn't want to show the concrete wall off, rather siding. Usually only a couple of feet of nailers needed before grade. When back-filling with the excavated fill dirt and top-soil piles, there wasn't quite enough fill trucked out or moved next door so they just added it to the grade there or pay again to truck more out. He figured his yardage wrong…. .

They should not be showing and we never install a horizontal nailer because the siding is nailed directly to them after paper installed.
Vinyl requires solid backing but is met by the concrete wall. He held the sheathing back on the wall above so after being stood-up, it is flush with the concrete face.

We always use cedar or p.t. wood. Appears they used common wood on yours as they are rotting out.

The cracks are not on the panel joints at the snap-ties, seen those before. I'm guessing the insets weakened the wall OR the dirt was back-filled too soon, or both. Back-filling codes have recently changed since:

6" to wood from dirt grade:


simiesue 01-04-2012 09:47 AM

GBR in WA..... so how far in do the wood insets typically go? So, if I understand correctly, there should have been dirt covering the exposed wood?? Also, could that wall 'fail' down the road due to the wood insets and/or backfill issues?? This house is in IL and is ~10 years old. Is this something a regular home inspector can evaluate (both the exposed wood/cracks in basement wall)?

joecaption 01-04-2012 10:19 AM

Siding and wood should never be installed within 6" of the grade. Even that is pushing it. Splash back will get on the siding, any water getting to the wood under it is going to rot.
Unless someone removes some of the siding there's no way to tell how much damage there is.
It would take all of 5 min. to remove it enough to check it.
You really need to hire a real home inspector to check this over since your not sure what to even look for. Far cheaper to do that then to end up with a home not worth buying.

Daniel Holzman 01-04-2012 10:32 AM

The inside concrete fix appears to be epoxy injection, I believe I can see the injection ports in the photograph. Epoxy injection is generally used to seal concrete against water intrusion.

I recommend you hire (not your realtor, not the owner's realtor, buy you) a competent inspector with structural experience to do a thorough report on the house. The real estate agent is clearly biased by the nature of their position, and is unlikely to understand much about structural design anyway. You need your own inspector to do a hands on evaluation, which should help you to decide if you want to buy the house, pass on it, or negotiate a price reduction to handle necessary repairs.

simiesue 01-04-2012 11:14 AM

Okay... I guess another question I have is what do you think I would see if the siding was removed from the back of the house.... would I see a wall of wood?? a concrete wall with wood imbedded in it going up? Also is the wood we see just used to aid in nailing siding OR is it part of the frame or structure of house? Is it unobjectionable to pop off siding on a home I dont own???..... I agree that would be a great tell-all!
I know I am asking a lot of questions so thanks in advance for helping a girl out. :)

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