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We bought our house with vinyl siding in Minnesota. The gap between siding and ground is generally at least 6 inches although in the back where it goes downhill it's much more. I don't see the foundation in the gap, just wood. I'm assuming there are cinder blocks behind it since we have a basement.

On side where the garage is and there is no basement, but still on a slope, you can see the cinder blocks but further along the same wall where the basement starts, the wood starts as well.

Is the wood the expected covering for this gap? It's not painted and is definitely exposed to the elements. Is there something I should be doing to maintain this wood?

Here the gap is more than 6 inches but the wood is touching the ground:

Here the gap is more than 6 inches but the wood is touching the ground

The gap is less then 6 inches in places:

The first image the gap is less then 6 inches in places

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    A picture or two would help clarify the situation. Some wood is weather resistant, but in general, you're right to be concerned. Did the home inspection report say anything about this?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 18:27
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    Normally wood should not be directly touching the ground. Can you dig away a bit of the ground to see how far down the wood goes?
    – Armand
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 6:19
  • The inspector didn't say anything. But when we he did the inspection, there was a lot of snow on the ground. I haven't checked to see how far down the wood goes yet.
    – Michelle
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:25
  • If you could post the full-size photos instead, it would help to see details.
    – Armand
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 20:12
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    Why is that wood there at all? Generally, siding (of any sort) would lap over the concrete/block foundation a few inches, and be well above ground level. The plywood you show should be pressure-treated and rated for ground contact. If it isn't, that's a big problem. It will invite fungus and termites and other wood-destroying creatures into your wall.
    – kreemoweet
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 1:57

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Plywood treated for ground-contact ("marine" grade) does exist, and it's actually used for below-grade wooden foundations in some cases. Since we don't know the treatment level of yours, it's hard to say whether this is a concern. Wood that is lower than 6 inches above grade should be treated for ground contact.

You'll have to do some investigation. Is the plywood covering framed walls or concrete block? If the former, it must stay. If the latter, it could be removed if it serves no other purpose. Sometimes it is hung below the wood framing to serve as a backer for siding. Sometimes it's a covering for foamboard. In that case it should remain (or be replaced).

Other notes... It's a bit odd that there's no channel at the end of that bottom siding row. There could be something I can't make out in the small photo, or it could be a case of "up north" construction. In my experience in Minnesota, inspections (and standards compliance) become rarer the further north of the metro one travels. :)

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  • Thanks everyone for the information. I think it's concrete block but I can't be sure since the wood is too close. In any case, it seems that I need to have it treated or removed if appropriate. Who do I contact for something like this-someone who does siding, a carpenter? I'm south of the metro and there aren't a lot of choices when trying to find professionals.
    – Michelle
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 18:11
  • Yes, a carpenter should be able to help, but so should a competent siding installer or handyperson.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 18:14

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