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Old 08-08-2008, 08:59 AM   #1
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Protecting siding base in dirt


Please forgive the miscategorization, as I am new at posting as well as construction. Any suggestions are appreciated.
I have been working on an "A" frame, pole/barn house with a 50 X 30 extension. The house is in the catskill mountains(upstate NY) and has been a family project for years now.
At this point everything has been re-finished except the siding(foundation, roof, insulation and interior are done). But, I am not sure how to handle the siding because the house sits in the dirt. As it is now, the house has rough cut pine, with boards ranging from 1X10 to 1X16. The boards are old, and some are rotten/warped at the base where they sit in the dirt. The main poles behind the siding are 6 feet apart and seem to be ok, as does the pressure treated framing between them.

During heavy rain, water is getting in the crawl space. Someone told me I need to grade the dirt away from the house to stop this, but how can I also protect the new siding I install if there is dirt against it?

I have also seen stone and/or stucco used at the base of other homes in my area. This is another option, but I am unsure of how its done, or how expensive it can be. My budget isnt huge, but I dont like cutting corners either. I want to install new siding, protect it in the most cost efficient way, and keep the water out of the crawl space. If I have to shell out for cedar, or even some more rough cut pine, I just dont want it rotting in the dirt. There has to be a better way than just polyurethaning the base of the wood.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate any and all advice.
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Last edited by Bambu; 08-08-2008 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:49 AM   #2
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Protecting siding base in dirt


What kind of foundation is it on? Top of foundation walls should be at least 6" above grade for vinyl siding and 8" for wood siding. If this is the case, which it sounds like it may not be, than siding would come down just past top of block. Than if you wantd to finish the exposed concrete you can do tons of things from stucco to these: http://www.styro.net/FoundationInsulationPanel.htm
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:54 AM   #3
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Protecting siding base in dirt


Oh, I think I can see that the floor of the barn is elevated above grade so you have like a post and beam crawl space? You could maybe remove bottom panel of siding and install the insulation panels, like the ones in the link, to the outter posts? Or, possibly cheaper, install standard rigid foam insulation in the lower 8-10" and apply cement based stucco over that.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:29 AM   #4
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Protecting siding base in dirt


No siding material (including stucco) should be installed within 6" of grade. I don't think that there is any effective way to protect the siding from moisture if it is installed at grade. Your best course of action would be to re-grade around the structure to keep the grade at least 6" from the bottom edge of the bottom course of siding.

At the very least, you should backfill against the house with gravel instead of soil, which won't retain as much water against the siding. That would not be the best way to handle this problem, but it beats dirt.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:13 PM   #5
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Protecting siding base in dirt


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What kind of foundation is it on? Top of foundation walls should be at least 6" above grade for vinyl siding and 8" for wood siding. If this is the case, which it sounds like it may not be, than siding would come down just past top of block. Than if you wantd to finish the exposed concrete you can do tons of things from stucco to these: http://www.styro.net/FoundationInsulationPanel.htm
Thanks so much for the reply. I dont know if its correct or not, but here is a shot of the foundation. The supports are in the middle of the structure. The perimeter only has poles as true support.
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Old 08-08-2008, 04:08 PM   #6
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Protecting siding base in dirt


I wasn't meaning actual stucco cladding. I'm in minnesota and to finish exposed concrete(usually it has exterior insulation) we apply a mostly cement stucco for a decorative look. Better than insulation anyhow.

Bambu, can you get a closeup of the outside of the foundation? It is looking like you could just run siding down to about 8" above grade and apply a foam insulation below the siding. Don't know the exact situation and never done this applied to wood so not sure if it would work. Just an idea.
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:20 PM   #7
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Protecting siding base in dirt


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I wasn't meaning actual stucco cladding. I'm in minnesota and to finish exposed concrete(usually it has exterior insulation) we apply a mostly cement stucco for a decorative look. Better than insulation anyhow.

Bambu, can you get a closeup of the outside of the foundation? It is looking like you could just run siding down to about 8" above grade and apply a foam insulation below the siding. Don't know the exact situation and never done this applied to wood so not sure if it would work. Just an idea.

Thanks. I dont think the stucco finish will pose a problem. Here is a close up of one of the footings. I assume the foam boards and stucco would be the cheaper way out. Sounds good to me. What kind of backing would the foam boards need? And how do you join the foam boards with the new siding properly? My friend says we should bury 18 inches of the foam below the ground to keep water out, and have another 18 inches above ground. If thats ok to do, is there a coating of some kind to treat the boards with before burying them? Much thanks to all.
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Last edited by Bambu; 08-08-2008 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:19 PM   #8
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Protecting siding base in dirt


Stucco over foam board isn't going to last in this application.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:28 PM   #9
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Protecting siding base in dirt


you bury the boards and fasten them to the house those boards will crack with the freeze and thaw in the winter months, I spend a lot of time up there in the winter months and know what the frost can do. I would rethink this. BOB
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:36 AM   #10
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Protecting siding base in dirt


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you bury the boards and fasten them to the house those boards will crack with the freeze and thaw in the winter months, I spend a lot of time up there in the winter months and know what the frost can do. I would rethink this. BOB
Thank you Bob and Termite. Would the foam boards be ok if they dont get buried? Assuming the stucco on the boards wont last, what would be some better options? I have a supply of mid size river rock in my yard, but I dont know how realistic that would be to use. I was also looking at this foundation material, but I dont see any prices(and you know what that usually mean$.)

http://www.styro.net/FoundationInsulationPanel.htm

Thanks all. I really do appreciate the advice!

Last edited by Bambu; 08-09-2008 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:40 AM   #11
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It lets the shingles breath. its made to expel and water vapor under the shingles. costs just a bit more then 30felt.
Thanks Bob. Is that the standard way to go these days? Are there any other viable alternatives?

-Bambu
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:19 PM   #12
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Thanks Bob. Is that the standard way to go these days? Are there any other viable alternatives?

-Bambu
Please ignore the last reply it was intended for another post' that I was involved with. BOB
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