Pulling into the driveway and seeing the house from a distance, I saw the front siding was virtually underground, and thought, "When it it okay to bury siding behind soil? Ever?"
Getting out and getting closer I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out that in this case it is okay!
The image on the right may be about the size of the view I had from the car pulling in.
What do you think? Should siding ever be buried?
At first glance I could only think we were in for a wild inspection - water, moisture, mold, and coughing! I do not like to spend much time in basements when I discover a lot of mold. Only minutes. I have gone home sick before and stayed sick for a day or more. Once in a house with dramatic problems I coughed for 3 weeks! And I wasn't down there that long!
However, when I got closer, I could see an interesting siding design!
It is a 50s concrete block, not very common, and no longer used today (that I know of).
Contacting a masonry friend of mine, he calls this a form of "Sill Block." He said that this block is a very dense aggregate and quite solid. They are as wide as 2 1/2 typical concrete blocks.
This block was created to make a particular design of wall appearance. It really stands out.
In this house the brick work extends from the ground to the roof line!
I have never seen concrete block walls done this way before. I admired it all over the house. It was fitted well, and had zero movement or cracking. Not seeing so much of it, maybe it was not popular and did not catch on.
Longer members are used for window and door headers. They must be specially reinforced.
And it is trimmed at angles to accommodate the roof line, no matter the line. They must have cut it with some kind of tile saw and water. I bet it was a lot of work to put together this house!
The basement was impressively dry, on the finished and unfinished sections of wall. Not a sound could be heard when trucks went down the road 50 or so feet from the house. I would love to see the design of the block, to see if and how holes are done and how such holes fit together when the blocks are stacked one onto another. Taking in the entirety of the structure, it was most impressive!
My recommendation: interesting construction is just that! What doesn't work in one context can work in another. In this case the walls were fine, the block acted as foundation and siding, and all was well with the basement, which is almost entirely underground. This is a solid house!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560