When a new home comes with only the grading (no dirt or grass) and above grade basement windows, how far below does the grading have to be from the window?

In other words, once I add the dirt and grass, how far below the window does the base of that grass have to be. Or event easier than that, once I add my base and pavers, how far below does the top of the pavers have to be from the window?

Thank you.


1 Answer 1


The Code does not stipulate the distance from grade (soil) up to a window. However, it does REQUIRE (not recommend) that there be a minimum of 6" from grade to siding, sheathing and wood framing, or the wood needs to have a wood preservative (we call it pressure treatment and we often abbreviate it PT). (See Section R317)

However, we've all "cheated" on this and encroached on this 6" minimum to keep a good slope away from a building. In fact, the Code allows siding, sheathing and wood framing to be within 2" of concrete steps, porch slabs, patio slabs, etc. The difference being one is measured to the dirt and one is measured to a "hard surface"...I guess they require extra protection where bugs can crawl out of the ground. (See Section R317, Item 5)

If you can keep 3"-4" from the dirt to the wood, I don't think you'd have a problem, unless you live in a termite prone area. If so, you may want to stay at 6" minimum. (Do you have a "termite shield"? It's a piece of metal flashing installed at the bottom of the siding.)

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