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I'm planning to attach stone or stone veneer to the bottom 2–3' of my house.

At the front of my house, the poured concrete foundation is about 3' tall. Halfway from the front (toward the back), the foundation heigh changes to be quite low to the ground (around 4–5") with wood crippling to make up the same height as the concrete foundation in the front. See image foundation outline front vs back.

  • The blue outline is the concrete foundation
  • The green is the wood crippling
  • The area on the other side of the outlined area is all crawlspace

I'm not sure how best to plan the installation to maintain an even depth/distance away from the wall while accommodating the backing needs of the stone.

Initially, I planned to install Hardie board on the back half where there is wood crippling. But, if I do that, the surface wouldn't be consistent (i.e., the thickness of the Hardie board would extend past the surface of the poured concrete).

I haven't decided if I'll use real stone or stone veneer (something like Eldorado or similar). I don't plan to use panels, but I'm not opposed to it. Either way, the backing needs aren't met by the wood crippling. I'd like to find a solution to this before purchasing the material.

What's the best way to approach this?

Edit: I've added several close-up images that show the transition in foundation height, flushness of the crippling, and different angles for clarity.

In the pictures, it shows how the crippling ranges between flush and 1/4" inset from the exterior side of the foundation wall. At the point of transition, it's flush. If I were to add 1/2" hardie board on top of that, the exterior mounting surface would be 1/2" proud. I'm cautious about using anything less thick than 1/2" due to the weight of the stone and general recommendations I've come across in my reading so far.

Also worth noting: It's not uncommon for snow to pile up to 2.5' during winters here. This is also partly why I'm considering the stone & cement board approach.

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    You basically can't see anything of this wood crippling, so I can only guess it's some sort of bright green framework. Get us a better picture, but if the problem is as it appears to be, you should remove the black/uneven layers of wood siding in front of the crippling, expose it, flush or fur out any surfaces necessary(need better picture to tell you the best ways to do this, then seal it and begin your masonry.
    – K H
    Apr 16, 2021 at 7:12
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    You say, "the height of the Hardie board would extend past the surface of the poured concrete" and that confuses me. Do you mean "height" above the ground? If so, then cut the board to the appropriate size. Do you mean thickness ("extend past the surface of the poured concrete" as in the Hardie board is too thick? If so, you may have to put thicker board in one place and thinner in another to make the surfaces flush. Or, depending on how large a discrepancy, you may be able to make it up with just mortar. Please edit to clarify.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 16, 2021 at 13:53
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    Edit your question with important information like the word thickness, the additional photos or the reason you can't provide them. If you can't put Hardie board on concrete you can look at why and a layer to go between or another compliant product to fur the wall flush. A close up picture of where the surfaces join, with tape measure or banana for scale, will be much better than your verbal description. If the green lines are inset at all there may be a clever way to bring that area flush without furring the concrete.
    – K H
    Apr 19, 2021 at 1:07
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    I'm not sure a banana would work quite as well for scale, @KH as a tape measure, but your point is made. :)
    – FreeMan
    Apr 19, 2021 at 11:25
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    Well I know board that can go over cement exists although I don't know the product name. Because you're inset on the crippling you can use shims to produce a flat, square mounting surface over the crippling, so you'd only have to attach an equal thickness product to the concrete. To seal it I'd strip 2 or 3 extra rows of siding to get a good overlap. Unfortunately I don't know what order your layers should be in and my pet mason is out of town for a year.
    – K H
    Apr 22, 2021 at 0:22

1 Answer 1

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Answering this for others that may encounter a similar situation.

I spoke with contractors at the local contractor supply store, showing them the same info as I included in the question here.

Their recommendation was to attach the lathe directly to the tall side of the foundation, and make the scratch coat thick enough to make up the difference. Then, on the rear side (where the foundation is stepped down), affix the cement board (on top of any other required things like WRB) and then do a thinner scratch coat on that.

Whether this is perfect, I’m unsure. But, it seems reasonable and I don’t see many viable alternatives.

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