What I'm Seeing Now


When Wood Siding Is Too Close To The Ground

This is what happens when wood siding is too close to the ground.

It gets wet, it rots, and it attracts termites!

Wood siding should be 4" or so from the ground whether that be soil or solid surface.  Six inches would not be too far.

The further the better.  When it is higher from the ground splashing water onto the wood is minimized.

The wood is not sitting in a moist or wet condition, so it is not wicking moisture.

And termites are less inclined to try to reach it with their mud tunnels.

But if wood siding is too close, even siding that has been primed and painted, it is an invitation to trouble!

And the siding in this photo is a buffet!

Microbial growth requires three things - air, food and water.  Of course temperatures play a role, but water is the catalyst!

Termites are looking for wood to eat, preferably moist wood.  And termites work as a team 24/7/365.  A single colony of termites can contain billions, and they come and go, stopping at the Valhalla feast to munch down and return to the queen.

What termites were created to do they do very, very well.

My recommendation:  insure that wood siding is better protected by making sure it is at least 4" from soil and moisture.  Keep it painted or stained.  Fill holes and gaps and cracks with caulking when they occur.  Maintenance goes a long way toward the longevity of anything.  Fall is the perfect time for such maintenance, before it gets too cold.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 7 commentsJay Markanich • November 28 2016 11:09AM


Good morning, Jay Markanich  oh, what a handsome photo...and I don't mean the rotted wood!!!  

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 4 years ago

I vote with Barbara Todaro who can think about termites with that eye candy portrait distraction Jay Markanich !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Do you mean the smiling termites, Barbara?   ; >)

S&N - that is a crop from a photo that Pat Kennedy took of me and my sweet, sweet dog Jenny.  That was at our AR get together at our home last winter.   Wanda was unable to get out due to a recent surgery so everyone was kind enough to come to our house for the meet up.

The day before this Thanksgiving Jenny was bitten by a snake in our yard and died in 2 hours.  It made for a very sad holiday.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Damp wood is a feast for termites, like lobster and steak for humans! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 4 years ago

So much trouble and expense could have been avoided had the foundation just been poured 6 inches higher.  Sorry to hear that your friend was lost over the holiday

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 4 years ago

I always include this in my speech about why a home needs gutters... no splash back!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

There will be lobster and chocolate in heaven, Wayne.

That's all it takes, Ed!  A little higher.  Thanks, we are still very sad.

Fred - every now and then I see no gutters on a house, by design, but seldom.  Usually, when they are not there, the gutters have been removed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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