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I'm in the middle of a project where we removed a rotting deck (termites) and are in the process of installing a raised patio with pavers. The fill the contractor is using for the paver foundation is a combination of leftover concrete pieces and dirt.

I am aware that wood siding should never be below grade nor be in direct contact with soil, and I keep stressing that to the contractor, but he keeps assuring me that this approach of installing a waterproof barrier over the old siding that would be below grade, plus an aluminum barrier on top of it, will prevent any moisture or termites from getting to the siding, and into the house frame.

Is this correct? Everything else I've seen says ALL SIDING SHOULD BE 6" AWAY FROM GRADE but I haven't seen anything about anyone using an aluminum barrier. Note that the lower edge of the siding is still exposed beneath the aluminum.

siding removed

waterproof barrier installed

aluminum siding installed

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for the input. The contractor is convinced that the original way (house siding as the 4th wall) is fine and they've been doing it that way for 15 years, but they ultimately let me dictate what I wanted (at a small cost): a retaining wall is being installed about 1/2" away from the house, after that lower siding panel has been removed and flashing installed from the (new) lowest siding plank to the foundation. The (now) bottom siding panel will sit about 3" above the top of the pavers.

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  • In the 2nd picture, do I see a block wall meeting the corner board that will be trapped in place when the concrete goes in?
    – Jack
    Dec 4, 2023 at 1:01
  • Yes, if I understand correctly, you’re asking about part of the siding being wedged between the house and the end of the retaining wall?
    – BrDaHa
    Dec 4, 2023 at 3:17
  • If there's a right way to do this I don't know what it is.
    – Jasen
    Dec 4, 2023 at 4:32
  • I found this. My gut feeling has been that this approach is suboptimal and this article confirms it: stonehengebpl.com/proper-design-raised-paver-patio
    – BrDaHa
    Dec 4, 2023 at 4:56
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    @Jack The article basically says, "Remove any siding below the patio line (as you said), install flashing in place of the siding, lay blocks in front of the flashing (same as the front edge of the patio), and then fill only between the blocks. So, IOW, the patio should be a 4-sided box, not a 3-sided box. Which sounds right to me.
    – FeRD
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:23

2 Answers 2

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In my opinion, there is no amount of metal that will keep termites out of the siding. The smallest gap is all it takes for them to get in. Even with a membrane under the metal. The laps of the siding make this rather difficult to seal.

The siding needs to be removed beyond where the concrete pour is going, to the sides and above the pour as well. Peel and stick membrane needs to be added to the wall over that exposed area that should extend 4" beyond the projected patio. The edges sealed to all joining surfaces, then metal placed over that to protect it from debris and other potential mishaps, with nails only at the edges beyond the concrete pour. THe concrete rubble will keep the bottom close. And the pressure from the concrete will press it against the foundation tightly.

Then after it has set up and forms pulled, the siding can be added back. I have sen 5/4 material used to fill in where the siding was removed, but the cuts to remove the siding need or should be made with this in mind.

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  • If it matters, it won’t be concrete, it would be pavers, with sand and dirt as the fill. I’m not sure what you mean by 5/4 material for the siding? Is it reasonable to make the contractor remove the siding and is there any sort of documentation / code to make them fix it?
    – BrDaHa
    Dec 4, 2023 at 3:20
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    what's reasonable depends on your contract.
    – Jasen
    Dec 4, 2023 at 4:22
  • It doesn't mattrer whether it be concrete or dirt or rubble. It harbors moisture, termites like all of the above, if it is not sealed they will find a way
    – Jack
    Dec 4, 2023 at 6:01
  • As @Jasen says, it depends on how the contract is written, most likely they will correct it, but as an extra. Only if it is written to remove the siding and they did not, will be the only way they can be made to fix it at no cost to you, as far as I know.
    – Jack
    Dec 4, 2023 at 6:04
  • The 5/4 mention is a way to cut out the siding and add trim so the siding does not have to go back, it is a piece of trim, much like the corners board I see that looks like there is a concrete block up against it.
    – Jack
    Dec 4, 2023 at 6:06
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I tend to agree with Jack, but Jack is focused on the termites getting in. There's one more key to the mix here: why they would want to get in in the first place.

Termites can get in even the tiniest of places. The larger problem here is water intrusion. The reason you don't want untreated wood contacting the ground is that it will absorb water. Termites want wood and water. Remove the water and they lose interest in short order. Even if the termites don't find it, the water reaching the untreated wood is a disaster waiting to happen when that other thing wet wood does starts to happen: rotting. Do you want to bet the farm (literally) on no water ever reaching the wood beneath? I wouldn't. I bet your insurance company wouldn't either.

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