Conducive Condition: Soil Line Too High or Footing Too Low
Termites, Earwigs, Millipedes
A high soil line means that the soil line is above the foundation and actually touching the brick, stucco, or other siding. It doesn’t have to be soil, but mulch stacked above the foundation is also considered a high soil line.
Why it’s a problem
Termites live in the soil and have to maintain soil contact to have enough moisture to survive. That means they have to build a mud shelter tube up the side of the concrete foundation to enter the house. They can enter through a crack about the size of a width of paper. We most often see them entering in cracks in the mortar between the foundation and the first row of bricks. If the soil is above the foundation, termites don’t have to build a mud shelter tube and won’t be detectable until there is damage on the inside of the house.
Pests like Earwigs and Millipedes can be found out in the open, but they also can be found just under the soil surface. When the soil line is above the foundation, they can easily enter cracks and weep holes without ever coming out to the surface where a pest control treatment would stop them.
What to do about it
Usually, you can use a hoe or shovel to lower the soil or mulch so the foundation is visible. The construction code suggests 8 inches of visible foundation. For pest control purposes, 3 inches is adequate for finding termites and stopping other pests. In some cases, however, lowering the soil line can create problems with drainage, resulting in water coming in the house. In those cases, we suggest you contact a professional landscaper for a solution.