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Grading Question.

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Hi Ellen,

I can probably find it in one or more texts around here, but the standard recommendation in most parts of the country is 1" per foot away from the house for at least the first six feet from the foundation. In some parts of the country where they don't have snow - here for instance - you can get away with only about 1/2 inch without any problems.

I should think that down in Florida you can get away with that as well, so 6 to 12 in 10ft. is pretty good.

Didn't Florida just adopt the IRC? The IRC[401.3] requires a minimum of 6 inches in 10ft. away from the foundation.



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Hi Ellen,

I have gotten to the point that I can usually get a "lay-of-the-land" when driving up to a house. If there are alleys, I drive around and look from as many perspectives as I can.

One problem around here is that few communities have any building code enforcement agencies and the grading issues come up with new homes more than old. I have seen three 1/4 million $ houses that had to have "window wells" retro-fitted around foundation vents because the house was sited too low for final grading.

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As of 10:50PM January 22, 2004 Florida remains under the Florida Building Code 2001 with the 2003 revisions. Maybe someday our less than progressive state will adopt the IRC. Hell we are still building houses like they do in the frigid north. The authorities haven't realized you don't ventilate attics in hot humid climates like you do in cool dry ones. I guess they don't know how cold air coming out of an air conditioning duct blowing accross a sheetrock ceiling reacts with the humidity in an attic when the temperature on the attic side of the ceiling reaches the dewpoint of the air in the attic. Go know!!


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Jeez, I didn't have any idea there was any kind of standard for that. Grading doesn't get the attention it should here, but being a life-long resident leaves me with an intimate knowledge of which areas drain reasonably well and which ones don't. Outside of that, if it slopes down as it moves away, I'm happy. [:-shades]

Ellen, your dress is lovely....and who does your hair, girl?! [-crzwom]

Brian G.

Incurable Southern Flirt [:-eyebrows]

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Hi Guys, thanks for the replies.

Mike, I thought I found a reference in the Builders Guide (Hot-Humid Climates)but I can not locate the reference. Thanks for the IRC reference.

Norm, I checked the Florida Building Code and could not find a reference there. Do you know of one?


The zero lot lines do make it difficult to get a correct slope around here also. I had a heat pump installer the other day tell me he could not get the proper clearance off of the exterior wall?!


The dress is a Donna Karan original and the hair, I worked on it myself before the photo.

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Perhaps more important then slope away from the house is the distance the grade is from the siding. Around here (frigid NJ), it is common to see grade less than the required 9 inches (I call it out if it's less than 6 inches), on about 10% of inspections, the siding is actually buried below grade.

If the slope is less than required, your client could add top soil to obtain the slope but may end up with soil against siding. Be careful what you tell your client to do.


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  • 1 month later...

The IRC calls for 6" in ten feet from the foundation. I usually don't give any kind of exact measurements. I usually state that there should be a well developed slope away from the house.

I will be on tomorrow with the exact IRC code.


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  • 2 years later...

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