Separation of Top of Foundation Wall and Adjacent Exterior Grade

by evstudio on August 28, 2017

One of the most commonly asked questions to the structural department involved the required distance between the top of a foundation wall and the adjacent exterior grade. The 2009 International Residential Code requires a minimum of 6 inches of separation where brick veneer is not present. The idea here is to provide a buffer zone to help prevent moisture wicking into the timber framing typically framed above residential foundations. Where brick veneer is present this requirement drops down to 4 inches.

The code text reads:

R404.1.6 Height above finished grade. Concrete and masonry foundation walls shall extend above the finished grade adjacent to the foundation at all points a minimum of 4 inches (102 mm) where masonry veneer is used and a minimum of 6 inches (152 mm) elsewhere.

An example of where minimum separation is close, but not met.



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