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water behind ext/int wall and over foundation wall


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I was looking for some advice on how to repair a brick veneer. I have water leaking over the top of the foundation wall around the whole house (depending on rain/wind direction)and I have found water entering through interior window trim at the top of a first floor window. My best guess is that I have multiple problems. The weep holes have been cleaned out and more added, but I thought weep holes are there to let air behind the wall not as a drain as I've been told. I have found many spots where the foundation wall is set past the brick about an inch, many serface cracks in bricks and spots where tuck pointing is required. Does the foundation look like it might be a problem? Does the cracked brick right above where the leak through the wall look like a problem? I have also noticed the second floor window sill above the leak does not have much pitch on it. Problem? Thank You in advance for any advice.

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Originally posted by itsiceman

I was looking for some advice on how to repair a brick veneer. I have water leaking over the top of the foundation wall around the whole house (depending on rain/wind direction)and I have found water entering through interior window trim at the top of a first floor window. My best guess is that I have multiple problems.

I guarantee you have multiple problems.

The weep holes have been cleaned out and more added, but I thought weep holes are there to let air behind the wall not as a drain as I've been told.

You've been told wrong. Weepholes do help to equalize pressure, but their primary purpose is to let water out from behind the wall. However, they're absolutely useless in that regard unless they're paired with through-wall flashing just below the weep course. Without the flashing, water running down the back of the bricks won't know to go out the weepholes.

Oh yes, adding weepholes almost always makes the problem worse since the drill usually penetrates the building paper behind the brick.

I have found many spots where the foundation wall is set past the brick about an inch, many serface cracks in bricks and spots where tuck pointing is required. Does the foundation look like it might be a problem? Does the cracked brick right above where the leak through the wall look like a problem? I have also noticed the second floor window above the leak does not have much pitch on it. Problem? Thank You in advance for any advice.

The lack of pitch below the window is a big problem. It should be pitched at least 15 degrees. Cracked bricks are unimportant as are minor flaws in the mortar. With brick veneer, we just count on the fact that water will penetrate the brick and run down the backside of the veneer.

There's nothing in particular wrong with the foundation ledge extending past the brick. However, if this is an indication that the brick was set too far back, in contact with the wall, (without the required one-inch space) then that's a great big problem.

What's that stuff that your finger is holding back at the foundation ledge? An attempt at through wall flashing?

From your description and pictures, I'd say it's time to strip off the brick and start over.

On the bright side, those bricks will make some fine looking garden paths.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Terry,

Just break up the message you want into the sections you want to quote individually and place the word quote inside of brackets [] before each section and then /quote inside of brackets after each section. Then put your cursor between sections and respond individually to the sections.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanx Jim Sounds like there isn't much I can do to repair anything wrong with the flashing[:-banghea. This is on a new home any thoughts on how to find out what is wrong for sure. Guess I need to find a good lawyer and a few good inspectors ( or maybe they will find me [:-jump2] ).

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Originally posted by itsiceman

Thanx Jim Sounds like there isn't much I can do to repair anything wrong with the flashing[:-banghea. This is on a new home any thoughts on how to find out what is wrong for sure. Guess I need to find a good lawyer and a few good inspectors ( or maybe they will find me [:-jump2] ).

So you're the homeowner, eh? I'd thought you were an inspector.

It just so happens that I saw a house with a sub-standard brick veneer job today. Here are the exact words that I put in the report (after describing the deficiencies in the installation):

There's a chance that the rowlock-flashing-weephole issue could cause water damage behind the veneer. Repairs are not practical. Either accept the risk or re-install the veneer from scratch following the requirements of the building code and the BIA technical standards.

My advice to you is the same. But I'll add this: the amount of risk is proportional to the amount of brick and the direction it faces. If there's a lot of brick, particularly if it's a multi-story elevation and if it faces into the weather, the risk of damage is much greater than if it's a little brick and it's on the lee side of the building.

Any chance you can post full elevation shots of the house?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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icon_speech_oops.gifsorry Jim and anyone else. Is ok to post here? Was up late trying to research this problem and came across this site. I have become more active in investigateing this problem. We have had water in the front three times and once in the back (depends on th wind)in three months(and we are in a drought!). It has been going nowhere slow with our builder. It has been brought up by are super about a sealer but I thought this would be a bad cover up. Any thoughts? Any way I've about had it with being patient with the builder. Thank you Jim for being so helpful.Can anyone recomend an inspector?
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Hi,

I don't know if Kurt goes down that way, but if I were buying in Chicago he's the guy who'd be inspecting my home and I'd pay extra if it was necessary to get him to come outside of his usual haunts. What say Kurt? Do you go down that way?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by itsiceman

icon_speech_oops.gifsorry Jim and anyone else. Is ok to post here? Was up late trying to research this problem and came across this site. I have become more active in investigateing this problem. We have had water in the front three times and once in the back (depends on th wind)in three months(and we are in a drought!). It has been going nowhere slow with our builder. It has been brought up by are super about a sealer but I thought this would be a bad cover up. Any thoughts? Any way I've about had it with being patient with the builder. Thank you Jim for being so helpful.Can anyone recomend an inspector in the S.W. sub. of Chicago IL?

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That a Gallagher & Henry home?

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Originally posted by itsiceman

icon_speech_oops.gifsorry Jim and anyone else. Is ok to post here? Was up late trying to research this problem and came across this site. I have become more active in investigateing this problem. We have had water in the front three times and once in the back (depends on th wind)in three months(and we are in a drought!). It has been going nowhere slow with our builder. It has been brought up by are super about a sealer but I thought this would be a bad cover up. Any thoughts? Any way I've about had it with being patient with the builder. Thank you Jim for being so helpful.Can anyone recomend an inspector in the S.W. sub. of Chicago IL?

Oy! What a mess. Here's what I suggest. Hire Kurt Mitenbuler or Jerry Simon to carefully inspect the home. Give them written permission to open some walls to have a peek into critical areas. Then take their reports to a good attorney.

Your house is in trouble and the builder isn't going to fix it without some pressure.

Good luck.

Oh, yeah, forget the sealer. It won't do squat.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Iceman....check out the Brick Institute of America website (BIA) for info on proper flashing and weep details. DO NOT caulk the lintels!!! Re-pitch the sills and make sure to use urethane caulk where the limestone sills meet the adjoining brick. Drop me a line if you need more info. I'm going way down south of the city to inspect a house for a friend next week and would be happy to look over your exterior masonry for free. Good Luck!

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Thank you for the site and such a generous offer. Does anyone think the standards on that site are just a suggestion or do masons have to follow any rules. I have talked to a building inspector for my town and he said the only code they have for brick veneer is that it must be installed on the whole first floor. They don't have anything else on the actual work. I thought this is strange because I have heard they are tough on everything else. Checked out the lintel and from what I see it looks like there is no flashing at all. I finally have a meeting with the brick layer tomorrow. I will see what he has to say.

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Originally posted by itsiceman

Thank you for the site and such a generous offer. Does anyone think the standards on that site are just a suggestion or do masons have to follow any rules.

That depends on the code in your area. I suggest you do some homework to find out what the legal standard is where you are. If this goes to court, the BIA stuff will be useful.

I have talked to a building inspector for my town and he said the only code they have for brick veneer is that it must be installed on the whole first floor. They don't have anything else on the actual work. I thought this is strange because I have heard they are tough on everything else.

Yeah, well don't believe everything that the building inspector says. I've known them to lie through their teeth. Do some independent research.

Checked out the lintel and from what I see it looks like there is no flashing at all. I finally have a meeting with the brick layer tomorrow. I will see what he has to say.

He'll say, "I've been doing it this way for 30 years and it's never been a problem."

Then he'll say, "Its the window guy's fault."

He will never have heard of weepholes, through wall flashing or the BIA. He'll tell you it's all a bunch of rubbish.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Ron (er, I mean iceman),

I tried to call you at the # you left a few times, but all I get is a fast-busy. Musta wrote down the wrong number...call me back a leave the # again...I get down New Lennox way about once a week, and would be happy to stop by and take a look-see. I'll call you and let you know when I get a job that way.

Jerry

IL BLDG INSP

847-705-6800

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jerry, Thank you again for coming all the way down here. I told my builder about the thermal image test to try and find where the water is coming in. They might get one done. Just checking for any more info on who can do the testing. Anyway the pitch on the sill above the dining room has been corrected. Today it rained with the water hitting the front of the house and we have water entering again in multiple spots! Yesterday it rained in the back and water was entering in multiple spots! This is the most expensive Tee-Pee I've ever owned.[:-weepn]

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Originally posted by itsiceman

. . . Anyway the pitch on the sill above the dining room has been corrected. Today it rained with the water hitting the front of the house and we have water entering again in multiple spots! Yesterday it rained in the back and water was entering in multiple spots! This is the most expensive Tee-Pee I've ever owned

A thermograph might show where water is entering today, but it might not show where water will enter tomorrow.

Besides, keeping water out from behind brick veneer is sort of a fool's errand. The water *is* going to get back there. You've got to have a method of capturing and disposing of the water once it's gotten back there.

I'm afraid that the proper solution here is to strip off the brick and start over. I'll bet that you've got some reverse lapped felt or Tyvek behind it as well as probably a half dozen other installation screw-ups. (General rule of home construction: When a builder screws up the parts of the house that you *can* see, there are always more screw-ups in the parts that you *can't* see.)

I'd get a lawyer.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

I agree with Jim 100%. It's time to stop pussy-footing around with this builder and take off the gloves. He's screwed up big time somehow and the fact that another month has passed while he hasn't rectified this mess is indicative of an incompetent. You need to put this builder and the mason on the carpet and tell 'em in no uncertain terms, with an attorney standing there in a $1000 dollar suit and quoting a figure that will get him a new yacht, to get it fixed now or else you're going to own their companies real soon.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm flattered to have been mentioned by Jim as someone who could figure it out, but from all I've read, Jim (and everyone else) already has it nailed.

If there's no flashing, that's it. Period. Forget caulk & sealants; they will NOT correct the problem.

Sorry to have to utter these words, but it's time to put the builders feet in the fire.

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I met with Iceman yesterday, and he will end up having to take all the brick off the home. Some of the areas where the water shows up indicate the wall cavity is full of mortar droppings, and aside from all the other weep and flashing problems, the water can't even get down to the weeps.

A thermal imaging, right after a rainfall or a soaking-down with a hose, will show where the water gets in (multilple areas), where it travels, and where it ends up. I imagine it will show water ponding atop the mortar-filled wall cavities. Short of tearing off a lot of brick, this should be definitive proof of the problem, and all the ammo he'll need to start from scratch.

Too bad...nice folk live there.

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  • 1 month later...

Update: I have asked the builder to start over from scratch with the brick install. They proposed taking off the first four rows of brick in four foot sections, replacing the flashing around the whole house and then sealing the brick on the whole house. My gut feeling is not to accept this offer. Any thoughts? P.S. I found a spot for a peek behind part of a wall (air gap).

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Originally posted by itsiceman

Update: I have asked the builder to start over from scratch with the brick install. They proposed taking off the first four rows of brick in four foot sections, replacing the flashing around the whole house and then sealing the brick on the whole house. My gut feeling is not to accept this offer. Any thoughts? P.S. I found a spot for a peek behind part of a wall (air gap).

The four-foot-at-a-time-replacement thing is actually from the BIA tech notes. It's their recommended fix for installing through-wall flashing retroactively.

Unfortunately, you've got more than just missing through-wall flashing. There're issues around windows as well. Also, as your latest picture shows, they've got blobs of mortar touching the Tyvek. (Another no-no.)

Also, we're hearing about sealer again. Oy! It's like a guy who is facing triple bypass surgery who asks his doctor if he can't solve the problem by eating some oats. They're good for his heart, aren't they?

If you don't already have one, get a lawyer. No, wait, get two. Mean ones with sharp teeth. Tell them to convince this builder that he has to strip off every brick and start over, while your inspector documents the entire job.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not only problems with window installation backer rod ,flashing,sealant. Good chance the tyvek is wraped in at the head of the window instead of out over the nail fin or flahsing! Tyvek has several problems with their installation specs! How would anybody like to have this house in joco kansas? No tyvek or anything else after the bricklayer ran out of felt!

http://www.badstucco.com/bricks/bricks.htm

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