Flashing or ??? at base of siding?

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Old 08-20-07, 05:23 AM
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Flashing or ??? at base of siding?

The wood siding goes all the way to the ground on our house. I am in the process of replacing some of the siding and would like to know - what should I do where the siding meets the ground? It's a wood foundation with house wrap.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-20-07, 10:27 AM
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You never want siding (or sheathing) to be in contact with the ground. Most housewraps are not sufficient for ground contact, and hopefully your sheathing below ground is protected with a waterproofing foundation membrane (there are many types). These membranes usually terminate at ground level and are sealed to the foundation with a terminator strip and sealant. Above the membrane, at ground level, it could be that you might want to install either a flashing or skirt board made from a product rated for ground contact (like Azek). It's ideal if you can keep the siding about 6" above ground level. Having a skirt board that is rated for ground contact (like Azek), drip cap, then the siding might be the answer you are looking for.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 07:46 AM
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Xsleeper, thank you for your advice! There is some sort of membrane around the house, but in our excavation and remodeling efforts we have so many holes above ground , we are going over the above-round sections with housewrap. The house is about 17 years old and all the sheathing underneath seems to be totally fine, so I am not too concerned about the membrane below ground-level.

So it sounds like I need to do this:

Siding down to 6" above ground
Drip cap (is there a particular kind I need to use?)
Flashing (I assume regular flashing will do?) or skirt board.

If I choose to use flashing, should it go below the ground level a little? How much?

Luckily the side of the house that needs the housewrap the most has not contact with the ground - I actually found the foundation level! I assume I just need to do a drip cap here.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 09:09 AM
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You would only need a drip cap if you install a skirt board. The drip cap is needed to flash the top of the skirt. If you aren't using a skirt board, you don't need a drip cap.

As far as flashing is concerned, you would likely want to use galvanized tin. You could contact a local HVAC / plumber and see if they could bend you up what you need. It really doesn't have to be anything fancy, just some strips that are maybe 12" wide or so- if they put a hem along the top and bottom edges it would lay alot straighter for you. You could also use copper but it would cost a lot more. You could use prepainted (in any color you like) aluminum trim coil cut and bent with a metal break, but aluminum sometimes has corrosion problems, depending on the minerals in the soil. It usually doesn't play well with alkaline soil or cement. The galvanized tin is your best bet- it will be bright and shiny so I assume you might want it painted before you install it. If so, you might want to consider one of Sherwin Williams DTM (direct to metal) paints... or ask for painting advice in that forum. IMO you'd want to paint it all prior to installing it, but that's just me.

The main purpose of the flashing is to flash the top of the membrane. If you don't have one and wont be getting one, then the flashings only purpose is to give you something nice to look at (besides your housewrap) since the siding will be 6" up above grade. In that event, you'd just want to make sure that the flashing is deep enough that it is not exposed anywhere. If the flashing is 12" wide it should go up behind the siding 2 1/2-3"... you want the siding 6" above grade so about 6" will be exposed to the weather, and the rest (about 3" or so) can be buried- that gives you a little margin for error so that the grade can vary somewhat and you'll still be covered.

This sort of construction amazes me, I'm suprised you don't have rot and termites. You don't see houses built like that where I'm at. Your ground must have excellent drainage. If a house like that was built around here it should also have a perimeter drain. Good luck!
 
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Old 08-21-07, 09:50 AM
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Xsleeper, thank you SO much for your help! The membrane goes all the way up to the top of the first floor where it is in place. Of course they neglected to put the membrane on the back of the house, but luckily we excavated all the way down to the foundation back there, and a new deck covers the whole back, so with the new house wrap, weathering is not as much of an issue. Eventually, when we can afford it, we'll enclose that area and turn it into a 4-season porch/sunroom.

FWIW, the house siding in most areas does sit about 6" above grade, and then they put a bunch of rocks around the base so you don't see the membrane. Of course the local pack rats, field mice, chipmunks, black widows, and other assorted critters just LOVE to nest in the crevices, and every winter the rocks shift around. They also did put a french drain all around the exterior, but of course it was not socked or installed properly, so when we excavated, we found critter nests in it. ::sigh:: And yes we have excellent drainage since we live on top of decomposed granite. And no termites. The only rotting we found was below a hose bib that probably dripped for quite awhile (only problem with being on a well and having no water bill - you don't notice unusual water usage!).

The skirt board definitely sounds like the more aesthetic way to go here, although the galvanized tin would match some of the exterior lights ;-).

Again, THANK YOU. I tried to research this on the web but since it's weird construction, I found nothing useful. DoItYourself.com forums save the day again!
 
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Old 08-21-07, 10:48 AM
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You're very welcome... I noticed your previous post had not been answered, and I'm afraid that most of us have been a bit apprehensive to offer advice- like you said, it's "weird construction"- especially when it's not in your area of expertise. Sometimes there will be a post where you just feel like you don't want to comment because of the potential problems involved.

In construction and remodelling you often have to learn to make due with what you've got since completely starting over isn't usually an option.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 11:07 AM
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Too true! One thing remodeling problems teach us - "I'll never do THAT (again)!!"
 
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Old 09-19-07, 06:14 AM
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Update:

Well the siding that is currently on the house (thankfully only on the first floor, half of which is below grade) is a custom cut. Three mills contacted all said they don't even have the blades to cut the profile properly so they have to make custom blades/knives too. So to have the repair boards made (about 300 ft) will cost about twice what completely replacing all the siding with new, standard siding will (about 1100 ft). Whee.

The good news is that we can take down all the siding and find out what is behind it, repair any holes in the sheathing, and wrap the house in Tyvek. Also we decided to go with the metal flashing at the base since that is the most maintenance-free. Plus we can have the siding pre-finished before installation, ensuring it has maximum protection.

Quick question, as I am looking to demo the siding this weekend - how do I get the stuff from behind the meter, demark box, and electrical panel (we have an exterior rated panel)?? Do I have to take all this equipment off?
 
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Old 09-19-07, 05:20 PM
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Some of it may have to come off, or at least be loosened. Things like central air conditioning and your light meter I usually try to go around by drilling a hole in the exact location where the conduit is, then cutting the board in half through the middle of the hole- creating a seam above and below the penetration. Other times it may work better to drill a hole, make 2 cuts to remove just the upper portion then save that piece to reinstall over the top of the penetration. It just depends.

It will make life easier if you have an electrician come out and loosen things up for you, so that you have some room to work behind all that stuff.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 05:15 AM
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XSleeper thanks again for the great advice! That was kind of what I was thinking would need to be done. Good thing I am married to an electrical contractor - no extra cost there
 
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