Soil too close to foundation

Hello all. I’ve noticed many houses in central Texas have little to no space between the grass and the brick or siding. I know this is technically an issue, but how serious is it generally? I’ve even seen older houses like this and apparently with no problem. Is it actually possible to find a remedy for this even if the soil is mostly level around the foundation? My wife and I really like the house in the attached photo, which is admittedly not very clear. Thank you for any replies.

It is called “brick to grade”.

Wood siding is another thing. But how much do you see that under grade?

Is that house on a slab foundation? Hard to tell.

Thank you, David. From the photo, it seems the grass does cover the very bottom of the brick, though I’m going to take a look this evening to make sure. It is on a slab and the house was built in 1964. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks again.

it really depends if the weep holes are covered by the soil. and if the soil is higher then any framing members.

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You can surround 2 to 3 feet of the slab’s perimeter with landscaping stones or gravel and place some large planters on it. This can help prevent insect infestation, and moss and plant growth on bricks, which can cause damage.

Thank you, William. I’ll be checking the weep holes soon to make sure they’re clear.

You are assuming there are any weep holes to begin with.
No, they are NOT common on residential properties in my area.


Thanks Brian. I’ll look into that.

Good point. I did notice one old house had no weep holes at all, but I haven’t seen too many older houses up close.

It looks like there may be some weep holes. Are you getting it inspected? Obviously I highly recommend hiring a NACHI inspector :grinning: If not, pay close attention for any water staining at the floors or baseboards along the exterior walls.
Its likely not an issue, the foundation wall should still be higher than the grade

If it is a masonry cavity wall built on slab it would not have weep holes and is likely fine.

Thank you, Daniel. I did notice some black discoloration on the front porch area and a little less on the back of the house. There may have been bushes in front too, which may explain the discoloration there. We’re checking out the house Thursday, but I will definitely hire a NACHI inspector if we make an offer. Thanks again.

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It does appear to have weep holes when I expand the photo, but I could be wrong. Thanks for your reply, Russell.

Having lived and built homes and commercial buildings in the southeast (North Florida) and having repaired many homes and commercial buildings with brick at and/or below grade is a real termite issue. Termites enter through any cracks/weeps and travel in the cavity between the brick and foundation to framing and will cause excessive damage undetected. There should be at least 6” of exposed foundation for observation of possible termite tunnels/shelters.


I see a lot of homes like this too…it seems that over time the surrounding grade rises…If the recommend height between the floor level of the home and the surrounding grade is less than the typical 6-8" then the chance of moisture intrusion increases especially during a heavy rain event.

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He said that this house is on a slab. The holes will be at grade if that is where the slab is.


I’m scheduled to see the house tomorrow and hoping there’s a remedy if there is a grade issue. I’m very grateful for all of your replies.

Good luck…look for evidence of moisture intrusion (wrinkled up flooring near doors etc)…you never know so it may not be an issue with this home. But nevertheless I always remind the clients that the chance of moisture intrusion is greater if proper clearance cannot be maintained. Solving the problem is not our job and could prove to be difficult. My dad’s garage used to flood when it rained heavily. It would seep up through the expansion joints. The garage was 4 inches lower than the house and the water seep in.

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In my area, it is common for the brick to be below grade. Older homes seldom have weeps.

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I meant the foundation wall may be higher than the grade (and weep holes)

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