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I have noticed that the siding of single family homes in Colorado, at least my made-in-the-70's neighborhood, does not extend down to or into the ground. Why is this? Why not have siding (vinyl, brick, stucco, etc) go into the ground?

I seem to recall other buildings, such as apartments or schools, have siding that goes into the ground. Maybe this is just poor observation skills at work or due to sidewalks. This small gap between siding and concrete makes a wonderful little place for animals to get into the walls!

EDIT: How High Should The Siding Be Above Ground Level? does not answer this question. It's asking how high and I am asking why. The difference here is asking for a number and why you would even bother.

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    putting it to the ground doesn't stop underground dwellers from getting into the walls either.
    – rtaft
    Jun 29, 2022 at 14:38
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    Most obviously because the siding height would at worst help, if not determine, the level at which water could intrude without causing any problem. Jun 29, 2022 at 21:52
  • @RobbieGoodwin Thanks, but comments are not for answers!
    – PipperChip
    Jun 29, 2022 at 21:53
  • If siding were flush with the ground, it would be very hard to avoid damaging with e.g. a weed whacker if the grass touches the house. Jun 30, 2022 at 0:40

2 Answers 2

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Because constant moisture, from the ground, causes many materials to rot.

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    Yes, UV from me! I think in many parts of the country, it's code to have a gap between the stemwall and the siding for the exact reason you stated. Here in moist Western Washington State, I believe 6" gap is required. Don't quote me on that, but I think it's close. Jun 29, 2022 at 10:10
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    Even material like vinyl or stucco that don't, themselves, rot, will cause rotting issues. Vinyl to the ground will hide any rotting that's going on in the structure behind, and stucco will wick water from the ground to help rot the wall holding it up.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 29, 2022 at 12:17
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    Another factor - not sure how much this plays into it - is that on many homes (I would think especially in Colorado given the mountainous landscape), the line between the base of the house and the ground is not level. So you'd have to do a bunch of tricky cuts to make the siding go all the way to the ground. It's much easier just to start at some height above the highest point in the ground line. Jun 29, 2022 at 13:31
  • @FreeMan, yes, on my stucco walls, there's a steel strip below the stucco, probably to help with the original application. Since it's not touching the ground, the only spot that's rusted is where the AC dripline exited too close to the wall. Jun 29, 2022 at 16:15
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In areas where termites are active (which includes most of Colorado), any "edible" (to termites) material that is in contact with the ground gives termites an easy path to infiltrate your home. Termites dislike sunlight (it can kill them). If only the concrete foundation is in contact with the ground, the termites would have to build vertical tubes against the foundation, from the ground to the siding, in order to get into your home without being exposed to sunlight. But if the siding is in contact with the ground, they have a safe and easy path into your home.

According to Terminex:

  • Create a 4-inch barrier between mulch and your home. If possible, only the concrete foundation should touch the soil.
  • Keep wooden siding at least 6 inches above the soil.
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  • except for California termites, they love the Sun
    – Traveler
    Jun 29, 2022 at 22:02
  • @knowitall True. Coastal California termites would rather surf than invade a home. The desert California termites are another story however. Jun 30, 2022 at 15:04

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