How much of a gap do
I leave at the bottom?

Ask the pros- March, 2002
By Reggie Bullard


                I have a slab that sticks up about 24" above existing grade. How far should I or can I take the stucco to the ground?
Does the stucco on the slab create moisture to crawl up the slab toward the stud wall?

I try to leave 4" above the grade. I think 2" is fine because if you have new fill dirt, it will eventually settle into the ground leaving a
bigger gap than you expect. In Southern California the building code
requires a gap of 4" or so, depending on the county.

The important thing here is to allow for draining, as well as to prevent the  wall
from staining.  You can see old houses
done this way where the stucco is flaking
and nasty looking. Also, anything close to the ground will get stained anyway. You'll never see this gap when you plant grass and plants. It isn't real noticable.

Another good reason is termite prevention and inspection.
If your house is on a hill, and the framing is close to the ground, it is possible that dirt will wash down around the bottom, burying the framing below the ground
level. This will rot your framing and invite termites.

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