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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    4

    Default Cement under first course of siding?

    Hi! We've been slowly-but-surely trying to restore the modest old 1920 house we bought last April, learning as we go. We've been tackling round one of Humans vs. Old Paint this summer, and while prepping, I noticed something odd behind the first course of siding. Actually, I noticed it *falling* out from behind the siding... Anyway, there's a weird cement "plug" that was fitted up underneath the bottom edge of that first course of cedar. It's definitely not part of the basement concrete, and it's a continuous strip about one-and-a-half inches in height that seems to run most of the way around the house. It's deteriorating pretty badly in places, and I'm trying to figure out if I should replace or repair it, or dig it all out. Like I said, we're learning as we go, so I have no idea if this cement shelf is the way they did things back in 1920, or if it's a later, jinky add-on that I should probably remove for the health of my house. Any ideas? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    A photo(s) will help. Need to see.
    Maybe it's for supporting the siding or water channeling?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    I wish I *could* upload a picture! Pretty much no matter what I do, the awesome software they've got here doesn't see my pictures as pictures. So bear with me a bit--remember, I'm learning as I go, and there's an awful lot I don't know about how houses were built!

    Anyway. It's like I said: a thin "strip" of cement, which isn't part of the foundation. It fills the gap between concrete and siding, and comes down pretty darn close to the bottom edge of the cedar. I'm assuming that it was some kind of moisture or critter-exclusion barrier...

    Since I can't show a photo, I guess what I'm wondering is whether or not I should try to put another impermeable barrier along there. The paint has failed in a number of places due to moisture and poor preparation; all the joints between courses were painted over and subsequently cracked; sometime around 1950, I think, somebody installed some of the small round louvred vents near windows on the south and east sides of the house. So my question is: What *should* have been behind the bottom course of siding on a house built in 1920? Is keeping out spiders and earwigs important enough to try and fill that gap back up again? We have a full basement, so the siding doesn't even start until about 24" above soil...

    Thanks for the help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    US
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    Is your problem solved?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    Well, maybe this will help... Rather than fighting the forum software, I uploaded a captioned slideshow to youtube (dot) com /watch?v=eTcQZZFoJJs

    Hope that illustrates things a little better!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    Most likely this cement acts like a spacer/support for the 1st row of siding. Without it the first row of siding will not have the same angle as the other rows.

    Very much like the first row of roofing tiles or shingles - they need a "starter" to raise them up a bit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    Most likely it's a spacer/support for the 1st row of siding, without it the 1st row won't have the same slope as the other rows.

    Just like roofing tiles or shingles.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cement under first course of siding?

    That's kinda what I was thinking, but I thought blocking was usually made out of the same stuff as the siding. Since its absence doesn't seem to mess up the way the siding lays, should I replace it with more cement or something different? I don't want to suffocate the walls, but I need some kind of critter-exclusion.

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