Siding Clearance

If you’ve ever looked closely at the side of a house, then you probably noticed that there’s a gap between the end of the siding and the top of the ground’s surface. 

In most cases, siding clearance should be about 6-8” from the ground. Some manufactures even require 8" for thir products. If it’s done improperly, the siding may be too close to the ground, which will invite insects, pests, and other types of damage and eve void the manufactures warranty. 

Clearance to Grade


No matter what type of siding material you choose, it’s important to keep the proper clearance of it from the soil’s grade level. This is called the “foundation exposure” because the concrete foundation you can see is determined by how far the soil grade level is below the siding.

In regards to clearance, vinyl siding should be 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If that’s not possible for some reason, any clearance is better than none. This clearance, which is called foundation exposure, is there to prevent water from intruding into the structure of your building due to ponding during heavy rains. Even with the best drainage system, rainy seasons in the northeastern United States can overwhelm your home, so it’s best to have the additional protection of adequate vinyl siding ground clearance. If your foundation is more exposed, it will also make termites and other pests easier to detect. Vinyl siding always looks good and can hide rot better than other products, so frequent inspections are still needed.


Wood siding typically needs a little bit more clearance than most of the other types of material. In most cases, it’s recommended to be built 8 inches from the soil. The extra space allows the wood products to dry thoroughly after it rains, which helps prevent them from becoming damaged too early in their lifespan.

Wood can last 20 to 40 years with the proper maintenance. Factors that influence its longevity include the maintenance of the paint, finish, and other sealants, as well as its exposure to water. Fortunately, you can help protect it by providing the proper maintenance and making sure the siding is installed correctly by choosing the right company.


Fiber cement should be kept at least 8 inches above the ground. It’s recommended to keep the bottom edge of the first course even with the bottom edge of the trim.

The most popular brand of fiber cement is James Hardie. In fact, the name is practically synonymous with the siding material. This type is designed to last for decades. In many cases, it can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance and upkeep. This type is resistant to rot and insects, and it can even handle the salty spray from the ocean.


The siding to ground clearance for metal is the typical 6 to 8 inches. Metal is considered one of the most durable and low-maintenance products on the market today. There are usually four types that you’ll be able to choose from aluminum, copper, steel, and zinc.

Most metal siding types will last at least 20-40 years depending on how well it’s installed and maintained. If your installation company adheres with the ground clearance guidelines, this will protect it from moisture that can destroy your siding, and ultimately, your home.

Metal can be more expensive than other kinds, but it may be worth it depending on your preferences.


Siding made of brick or stone should typically remain 6 inches from the soil. Brick and stone are sturdy and durable, so they’ll be able to withstand many types of elements, from fire to strong winds and hail. In some cases, these types are expected to last for 100 years or more.

If you can afford brick or stone for your exterior, they are recommended. When it comes to performance and longevity, they leave their competitors in the dust. Not only are highly durable, but they also provide good insulation for homes. Talk to your local contractors to see if you can find brick or stone within your price range.

Roofline & Concrete Clearance


James Hardie is, without a doubt, the superior exterior siding brand in today’s market, covering 8 million homes and counting. However, James Hardie can only perform as well as it’s installed, and sad to say it often is not.

Roofline clearance is a vital part of correct installation. Due to the volume of water that can run down a sloped roof, one of the most critical flashing details is where the roof intersects with a sidewall. At this junction, there must be a self-healing adhesive-backed membrane along the roof to the sidewall, installed before the flashing.  The roof is then flashed to the wall with 16 oz. copper step flashing positioned at every shingle course. We also install a kick-out flashing to deflect water away from the siding. Kick-out flashing is made by cutting and bending a piece of step flashing at an angle. The water-resistant barrier is then lapped over the step flashing and the roofline to sidewall intersection is 100% waterproofed.

Ispecx reporting software is advanced home inspection reporting software that allows you to write quality, expert reports quickly and easily. Built by a home inspector with extensive construction background, it is designed to take your inspection business to the next level.