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We explain how these weep or vent openings in brick walls work, where and how they should be installed, and what special products such as opening screens & flashings are available. Our page top sketch, courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates, shows both the reasons for and the typical design details used in weep openings on brick walls.
The beautiful Flemish-bond structural brick wall (left) on the Vassar College Campus was constructed with very subtle drain or weep openings at the wall bottom. Weep openings are drainage holes left in the face of a brick veneer wall [and possibly some other constructions] in order to allow water that has penetrated the wall to escape downwards through the wall cavity and out to the exterior of the wall surface through the weep openings. This escape passage and wall design are a method for reducing water intrusion into the structure interior.
Openings placed in mortar joints of facing materials at the level of flashing, to permit the escape of moisture, or openings in retaining walls to permit water to escape. At below left we show a brick wall (a veneer in this case) with weep openings at regular intervals at two heights above ground level. Above we illustrate a double-fault at a brick veneer wall weep hole found on a New York Home. Faux Bond Courses May Confuse the Identification of a Brick Veneer Wall - but is it a problem? Traditional structural brick walls such as at the building shown at above left are comprised of two or more wythes [defined below] of brick laid in parallel and reinforced by bond courses at regular intervals.
That space allowed water that leaked into the wall to run down the wall interior and drain at the wall bottom - provided that the wall bottom included weep openings or drainage. At BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS we describe the collapse of the structural brick walled building shown at right. A structural brick wall is normally two or more wythes of brick in thickness, usually separated by an air space of about an inch to form a thicker, more dry wall.
Carson Dunlop Associates sketch (blelow) illustrates the usual manner in which a brick veneer wall is supported. On occasion we find an "add-on" brick veneer supported by a steel lintel bolted to the building structural wall bottom. Details about brick veneer wall support, bulge & damage, fasteners, and repairs for attached veneers on wood frame construction are found at BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED. Carson Dunlop Associates sketch (below) illustrates that it's a bad idea to backfill against a building so that the wall's weep openings are below grade.
This mistake traps water inside the wall inviting frost damage, building water entry, and insect attack on the building sills and floor framing. The bottom two courses of the brick veneer, including weep holes, are below the top of the concrete stoop, when the front door concrete stoop was built. Should the weep holes have been placed above the finished grade of the concrete stoop a the front door entrance? I need to see some photos or a sketch to understand the question more clearly (use our CONTACT link if you like).
Ted, I agree that it sounds as if the flashing above windows and doors was omitted or not properly installed or punched or damaged during construction. Keep in mind that even if the flashing is properly installed, if a lot of water is leaking into the wall from higher-up, the water might be running down the wall sheathing and behind the flashing and out from underneath it. Several months later they called the builder and complained that the wood floor about 3 feet deep along the whole back of the house was buckling and heaving.
The purpose of weep openings is to let water out of the veneer wall rather than sending it into the building wall (and possibly floor) structure. For the case you describe, I doubt that the floor buckled from normal expansion from normal moisture level variations - otherwise the buckling ought to have occurred when moisture levels changed (perhaps seasonally) even before the patio and outdoor raised slab installation were completed. Tom Tamlyn, a residential building products manufacturer, sent us the two plastic weep hole covers shown below.
Above is a similar weep hole cover intended for retrofit use in existing brick walls or brick veneer walls. We include the new-construction weep opening cover immediately below so that you can see the difference in how these products are constructed. Missing weep openings: In traditional brick walls, omission of weep openings entirely, especially when wall materials or masonry admit wind-blown rain or leaks from roof spillage run down the wall. Excessive trash mortar falling behind the brick veneer or inside of a structural brick wall cavity can block wall bottom vents, preventing proper wall drainage. Rid-O-Mice, a producer of several types of brick veneer wall drain opening screens and covers (at left), advertises their product as preventing invasion of the wall by mice, scorpions, insects and other pests.
There's not much to attract a mouse to the cavity in a brick veneer wall, but as we illustrated in the article above, there can be a problem with clogging of these drain openings by mud daubers, wasps, other insects, and perhaps other small critters.
Watch out: adding a veneer wall vent or drain screen should reduce the chances of clogging from insects or animals, but if the wall was improperly constructed so that the opening does not actually vent the wall (for example if the opening is blocked inside the wall by fallen mortar or if the flashing in the wall was not properly placed) the vent screen cannot correct those defects.
In addition to providing weep openings to permit moisture or water drainage out of brick veneer walls and some structural brick walls, modern construction practices may include a more effective means of moisture removal from an attached veneer wall used in wood frame construction: vent openings are provided at the top of the wall before the brick veneer wall is constructed against the building. These wall top openings behind the brick veneer vent into the building's attic or roof space to permit moisture to escape from behind the veneer.
A weep opening in a brick veneer wall is placed at intervals and at one or more location heights always including the wall bottom and possibly at higher points in the wall depending on how the wall is constructed. The open space behind a brick veneer wall is typically intermittently partially obstructed by extrusions of mortar in the veneer, depending on how the wall was built, but hopefully nowhere is the air space totally obstructed across the whole width of the wall - so moisture can find its way to a weep opening for exit. SO yes the air space behind a veneer wall extends, though irregularly, from wall base to wall top. And if we *did* build a building exterior that was totally waterproof we'd have moisture and mold problems indoors from interior generated water and moisture - those long hot showers and spaghetti cooking on the stove. What all this means, I'm sorry to say, is that flood-proofing a home in an area that is frequently inundated, that is flood-proofing a home located where water frequently rises up along the exterior walls, will require raising the home above the flood level - on a higher pier or other foundation system - or moving. Re-build the first floor with solid masonry walls: If you are re-building a flood-damaged home in a flood prone area, you should consider replacing the lower floor walls with a high-lime-mortar based solid masonry structure that can withstand flooding with much less damage. Other sources suggest alternative strategies that I consider less reliable but probably less costly than a re-build of the structural wall. Watch out: some sources suggest replacing flood-risk-exposed fiberglass batt floor or wall insulation with washable closed-cell foam.
The veneer, according to some sources can be a brick veneer backed by a waterproof membrane, though I'd worry that you may end up back at the situation that caused original masons to add weep holes to the original brick veneer in the first place: water behind a brick veneer may damage the veneer even if it does not enter the building interior.
And adding a brick or any veneer is going to probably require building-out the trim around all windows and doors lest your building look as if it has sickly sunken eyes and doors. This article is section 5D of FEMA an article series that contains engineering principles and practices for retrofitting flood-prone residential structures.
Several manufacturers provide brick wall weep hole systems that assure that moisture or water behind the brick wall or brick veneer can drain out of the wall while at the same time insects or larger critters are kept from entering the walls.
Airolite BVC Brick Vents (extruded aluminum), The Airolite Company, LLC, PO Box 410, Schofield WI 54476, TelP 715-841-8757. Other brick wall drainage product manufacturers are welcome to CONTACT us to be listed here. Continue reading at BRICK WALL THERMAL EXPANSION CRACKS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.
Even with a lot of experience with mold detection and remediation in buildings I can't say for certain that mold will or won't grow at a specific location on a house I've never seen. You can explore the suspect area for visible mold by making a test cut into the most-suspect location.
Periodic area flooding that is submerging a building wall to heights above the top of the foundation wall suggests some more serious steps are needed to control floodwaters, or if that's not going to be reasonable or reliable, to live with water entering the property, structural design changes are needed.
Closing off weep openings in a masonry wall, presuming that they were properly located, installed, and flashed in the first place, risks trapping wind-blown rain or other water inside the wall cavity, inviting structural damage, rot, or mold contamination. I think your mason may have more experience with brick veneer than the builder, and his suggestion is worth a try. For a retaining wall (as opposed to a brick veneer or structural brick wall) it's also most likely fine to try jamming a rod back into the soil behind the wall, through the weep opening. But if the weep holes never worked because they are blocked by dense mud, lacked gravel backfill, are clogged by concrete, or some other snafu, you'd need to take a different approach, possibly involving a long masonry bit. I had the windows caulked and as an add on the contractor, as a favor, added metal wrap to the lentil and caulked around that too.

Watch out: Certainly we don't want to just close off weep openings or caulk in the wrong place or we risk either water accumulation in the wall or severe rust and lintel damage. Have you ever heard of a weep hole extending in a straight verticle line from the foundation to the roof? We recently had 3 days torrential rain; also possible there are mice (I live very near a river in a small town and river redraws rats and mice) also last year neighbor behind me built picket fence at top of wall (the earth behind wall is a dirt path with landscaping that leads out to parking area.
It's common for soil to wash through drain holes in a retaining wall, especially after heavy rains. I'm not sure why there would be a sudden change, perhaps settlement or a surge in water behind the wall. To avoid confusing other readers, a retaining wall is NOT part of a building structure, it is a wall built to hold back earth. I don't understand how your existing porch is constructed nor where the weep holes are located in it. I think the owner is not doing a very good thing to pour water in volumes far greater and at a greater rate than the brick veneer wall design would anticipate - a result risks leaks into the wall cavities, floors below, mold, insulation damage. However if you detect a clogged weep opening before the mortar is hard-set you might be able to just clear the existing opening or cut it bigger and insert one of the retrofit weep opening products in this article.
Longer tubes at weep openings may still become mortar clogged and certainly you don't want the end of the tube to be jammed up against the sheathing of the exterior wall. What do you think about using some of the other weep opening products shown in the article above. What can I do to stop the wall rot (interior crumbling plaster & also some crumbling of interior ferrocement) behind my 1938 brick - lath walls?
The brick frame house has no weep holes, and the problem is only on the west side along about a 15 feet section, all above grade. I have had the house for 24 years and the problem has been continuous - I repaired the interior plaster several times, then gave up & hung cloth over the mess.
Rot, which refers to organic materials like wood, is caused by a combination of water and wood destroying fungi, often basidiomycetes, sometimes more serious Meruliporia.
The right epair is to stop the source of water entry and to determine if structural repairs are needed. If you think condensation is occurring in the wall from indoor humidity I'd look for and fix any sources of indoor moisture and I'd seal penetrations into the wall such as around receptacles.
I would look at some of the brick veneer drain retrofit products we describe in this article.
I feel there is plenty of weep holes on this wall on the other side of the door to allow for air pressure equalization, but I don't see how moisture could escape between the door and the end of the wall (moisture can't go up and over the door opening to the other side to travel out of those weep holes). Obviously we don' t need continuous weep openings at the bottom of a masonry wall, the openings are spaced at intervals. Having a weep hole in even that short wall section would reduce the chances of water accumulation therein and thus related building damage. You can make a further risk or needs assessment if you can inspect the building interior walls below the section you are talking about - e.g. FOUNDATION CRACK EVALUATION discusses detail the process of evaluating foundation cracks and signs of foundation damage by examining the crack size, shape, pattern, and location. FOUNDATION DAMAGE SEVERITY discusses how we decide the severity of foundation damage and the urgency of further action. Movie Guide Experienced home inspectors and new home inspectors alike are sure to learn invaluable tips in this release designed to take viewers step-by-step through the home inspection process.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. A professional reference designed to assist surveyors, engineers, architects and contractors in diagnosing existing problems and avoiding them in new buildings. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors.
Stroovi is Your #1 Resources of Interior Design Ideas for Living Room , Bedroom, Kitchen Design and the entire home - The Number #1 Directory of Interior Design Inspiration, Landscaping and Gardening Ideas!. Weep holes in building exterior masonry walls (brick or stone) are a drainage system that is used in cavity wall or rain-screen wall construction methods to get rid of water that has penetrated the outer wall skin or surface.
It has survived intact even though the building is located in a seasonally wet and freezing climate.
Bricks were mortared against the masonry block structural walls of the home with no air space and no drainage provision. While the mason omitted weep openings, we did not find any evidence of water or frost damage to the brick veneer except at another wall where splash-up from roof spillage had worn mortar joints.
Such walls typically include an air gap between the exterior wythes of brick - the wall outside surface, and the wall interior.
A brick veneer wall constructed using full-dimension bricks will be one brick wythe in thickness (of the veneer). In the cross section of the collapsing brick structural wall at above right you can see multiple wythes of brick. The mason contractor installed a brick veneer wall with the appropriate flashing and weep holes at top of foundation. Generally if the concrete stoop abuts a brick veneer in a location where the veneer wall is already interrupted by an entry door it may be that those particular weep holes don't have much to do anyway. I can't see how to fix this easily without some exploring into the wall cavity to see what's going on. I'm worried that wicks won't allow sufficient drainage, that close to soil is an insect attack risk. The homeowners had a raised concrete patio installed and all the weep holes along the back of the house were covered by concrete after we installed the floor.
I went to inspect it and attribute the problem to the covering of the weep holes thus preventing ventilation and moisture build up.
That drainage is needed when wind-blown rain (or possibly significant amounts of condensate) in the cavity space between the veneer wall and the exterior sheathing of the wood framed wall behind needs to get out. I suspect that actual water entered the wall cavity and the floor structure at the bottom of the wall.
I suspect that water from rain penetrating the veneer wall, or perhaps even excess water from the add-on slab itself are what entered the wall and floor of the home. The openings are intended to keep critters out of the veneer wall; At below right we show the same device from the back so that you can see its construction.
Air entering through vents at the bottom of the veneer wall flows upwards behind the brick veneer, passing through openings at the wall top into the attic or roof space where it is vented outdoors through a ridge vent or other roof venting system.
Brick veneer walls are built to shed water from wind-driven rain but not to resist standing floodwater. While that might slow water and mud entry into the wall cavity during flooding, it will also trap more frequent wind-driven rainwater that will enter the wall and be unable to drain out. Many Texas (and other) homes are built as slab on grade, but if your home is built on a crawl space or basement flood vents may prevent foundation damage. If you are considering this option you might want to consider option 2 above and compare cost estimates.
We describe Tamlyn brick wall weep opening inserts used in new wall construction and a second product used in retrofits at Guide to Brick Wall Drainage Opening, Flashing & Ventilation Products. Check the cavity side of the drywall for visible mold and also check nearby wood framing and insulation. If the weep holes are clogged from insects, such as mud dauber wasps who love those openings, a careful routing with a suitably-sized tool and maybe using a shop vac to draw out as much debris as possible may be enough. I have tiny patio that abuts earth -- the top of the wall is at ground level of a row of neighbors that live up a hill behind me. What would suddenly be forcing so much dirt to come out of the weep holes at bottom of my retaining wall? If the wall has not moved, bulged, cracked, then it sounds as if the drainage openings are doing their job. The contractors says we can leave the existing brick walls with the weeping holes in place. If you are describing drain openings in a masonry wall that is earth filled, over which a porch slab was poured, leaving them in place is harmless.

If it's just a very few and if weep openings are frequent enough along the wall bottom, it's not likely to be a concern. I think condensation may be part of the issue - this is in Salt Lake City and driving rains are not frequent. Near the end of the wall is a double door and then just a few more lengths of brick prior to the termination of the wall into hardi-plank. However an individual wall section bordered by other structural elements, that is not connected to drained wall sections, should have its own weep openings even if only one is fitted. Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are typically constructed as barrier walls; masonry is often constructed as a cavity wall. In addition to being the former president of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), a longstanding member of the NAHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the Environmental Standard Organization (IESO), host Stephen Showalter has performed over 8000 building inspections - including environmental assessments. Fully revised and updated, this edition, in new clearer format, covers developments in building defects, and problems such as sick building syndrome.
The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Hopefully, you can gather valuable information and guides about Free Garage Plans Small Building and Free Garage Plans, Help You Determine the Project Cost, which are able to be useful for your own home and garden. This part of digital photography of Free Garage Plans Small Building has dimension 800 x 600 pixels. We have the prime assets for Free Garage Plans, Help You Determine the Project Cost inside of the Design & Ideas category. You may find Free Garage Plans, Help You Determine the Project Cost guidelines and read the latest news of Free Garage Plans Small Building in this page. Veneer wall weep openings are placed at least at the very bottom of the brick veneer wall cavity. The total wall thickness will include the veneer wythe plus the thickness of the wall structure itself. Check out Carson Dunlop Associates' page top sketch (click to enlarge any image) to see what the flashing position should be. If it's not reasonable to lower grade (and slope away from the home), we need to investigate further: is there a basement? If the floor is built on a slab then we can't see into that space without a borescope or some demolition, but I'd bet that if you did look into such a cavity for the case you describe, you'll see water stains (and maybe rot).
Floodwater will pass through the veneer and enter the wood framed wall cavity wetting insulation, drywall, and other components, inviting costly mold damage too. Similarly, foundations and walls of most buildings cannot resist the forces of standing water against the building exterior and certainly that's also true for a building's exterior walls above-ground. After the rain stops and the water level outside recedes, the water drains from the room in the same direction from where it came. If drywall is wet or even if it's not, if there is water inside a wall cavity that sends moisture higher in the wall cavity to where drywall is located, you can expect problematic mold growth to show up. Try working on just one segment at a time and perhaps leave more bricks loose but in place, removing the temporary support ones just briefly during repair and re- flashing. I have leaks in three windows, one easily seen dripping from the top window frame the others I suspect are running down around the edge of the window and coming out below the window from the lower trim, running down the inside walls. I suspect the flashing must have been run out through the lentil and that wrap and caulk job are the reason it's worse. In any event the intent of drain or weep openings is to allow rain or other water penetration to exit the structure. More important is proper flashing at the wall base to be sure that water is directed out to the weep openings. Is there any way I can add ventilation from the inside of the house to the airspace behind the brick?
These wall systems are discussed along with common deficiencies that allow water intrusion to occur. Now, the founder of a national home inspection school and inspection training curriculum shares his extensive experience in the inspection industry with everyday viewers looking to learn more about the process of evaluating homes.
Ed Seaquist was among the first speakers invited to a series of educational conferences organized by D Friedman for ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, where the topic of inspecting the in-service condition of building structures was first addressed.
Well liked for its mixture of theory and practice the new edition will complement Hinks and Cook's student textbook on defects at the practitioner level. You may download the Free Garage Plans Small Building digital photography above by right click within the digital photography to get the high resolution version. We suspect that the wall cavity does not extend lower than the weep holes in our photo - why?
Air movement might address or reduce condensation IF there were a lot of air movement but with just weep openings at spaced intervals along the bottom of a masonry veneer wall, there's not much air flow in that cavity space. Water and high moisture can indeed cause severe buckling of a wood floor, more so if the floor was installed without an expansion gap around the floor perimeter. Ultimately homes flooded in this manner need to gut the wall to framing, replacing insulation and drywall. But water entering such a wall cavity will not leave quickly enough to prevent a mold problem in the wall.
In last month I now have large piles of Dirt at openings of the 3 weep holes (I have photos) . Some people tell me we should have the brick wall removed so moisture will not built up and create mold.
Sealing them, in general, risks future trapped water and a moisture problem or in freezing climates, frost damage. It is so arid here (average humidity 15% - 20%) wouldn't it be possible to ventilate the cavity from inside of the wall? Professor Wickersheimer specializes in structural failure investigation and repair for wood and masonry construction.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. In view of the fact that pool decks generally are produced with the similar height with the top of the pool, you can see that it can be made approximately four-six feet on top of the ground. The lower brick courses were probably laid tight, with no cavity at all, against a solid concrete or masonry block foundation wall. In a flooded wall cavity, mold will grow on the cavity side of drywall and on wood framing and sheathing even if the insulation itself were mold-resistant. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Because of this you also need to ensure the safety by adding a railing or other safety barrier to make it secure.If you go to have an above-ground pool deck plan, you can try this one. Wickersheimer's engineering consulting service can be contacted at HDC Wickersheimer Engineering Services.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. You can take the shape design that is really imitating the look of the pool, like circular shape or oval. Do you have another suggestion other than removing portions of brick and installing the flashing? This plan also can make a great choice to put yourself in the pool from any place you prefer. The construction maybe the same with the standard and conventional pool deck, but you need more bases to hold up the pool construction.Other choice is a side deck as the above-ground pool deck plans. This deck connects the above-ground pool and generally has one entrance place to the pool with one location of stairs to the top deck. Most people choose rectangular, crescent-shaped, sphere-shaped, or octagonal-shaped with feature of pool ladder fixed next to the side pool deck. Some people prefer to have a deck that encases the wholly pool plus a side deck that next to the full surround deck.

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