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62caster

Negative slope, drainage, and weep holes

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Hey guys,

My new home has a slight negative slope into the back of the home. I'm trying to be preventative in regrading the yard to move water away from the house, and consulted with a landscaper yesterday. He mentioned he could simply add some dirt, but would not recommend it until I move my weep holes up (currently they are sitting at the bottom brick). A quick google seemed to tell me that you cannot simply "move" weep holes.

I'm trying to think through other options here. Do I install metal covers similar to what is around my crawl vent? Go through hiring somebody to tear the brick apart and redo the weep holes so I can grade the lawn? Keep in mind this is pretty much preventative - there is a tiny bit of evidence of moisture in the crawl.

I called my inspector, and he was unsure of what to do since he did not see or note any of this in his report.

Thanks all

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Without seeing some good establishing images of what you are talking about it is difficult to make any substantive observations.

However, based on what you have said I'll offer the below:

- Weep holes have been installed where they are 'required' to be installed. Approximately every 30-inches along the first course of bricks.

- Odds are there is a slight 'drainage swale' along your backyard that routes the water runoff to the sides of the home. Sometimes those swales are minimal, but (in most cases) handle the runoff quite well.

As I noted, a series of images will be most helpful.

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Grading involves bringing dirt in, taking dirt away, moving around what's already there, or combinations of all of them.

Create some swales. Direct water where you want it. Because you shouldn't be messing with the brick at this point. You could, but it'd be stupid.

Landscaping properly makes stuff prettier anyway.

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Kurt is right. Did your landscaper mention the possibility of swales? They're like ditches but much more shallow with gentle curves.

Bringing in more dirt makes a quick buck for the contractor but might complicate things.

Marc

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Thanks all... Adding more dirt would make it so that dirt was touching the bottom 4 rows or so of brick. Is that a no-no?

I could create a swale but the valley would be so low in the yard. Might be worth it though.

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I'm just baffled right now. I just went out to take a closer look. The entire back of the house is graded so that three rows of brick veneer are under earth. Is this right??

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I'm just baffled right now. I just went out to take a closer look. The entire back of the house is graded so that three rows of brick veneer are under earth. Is this right??

Yes. The bottom of the brick veneer is usually placed below grade. The first course above grade should have weep holes and *more important* it should have through-wall flashing. Weep holes don't do squat without flashing below them. Also, from the through-wall flashing down, the space between the brick and the foundation wall should be packed with mortar. You, of course, will have no way of telling whether or not this was done, but it should make it clear why you can't just "move the weep holes up."

A nice positive grade away from the house is a good thing - always to be admired. But a slight negative grade isn't the end of the world. Don't screw things up by trying to fix this minor problem. If it's not actually causing a problem, you might want to just leave it alone. If it causes a problem, you can work on fixing it next year or the year after that. The house won't fall down in the meantime.

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Thanks, Jim. The only problem it is causing now is slight fungus on the joist closest to that outside wall. When my inspector saw the fungus he said he almost didn't mention it because it wasn't bad enough. I'm just worried about the future, though. The house only is 6 yrs old (granted in it's first year we had a 100 year flood which could have easily caused a bit of fungus afterwards).

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That's the opposite of how it's done here. In Chicago, it's exposed foundation and the first course of brick (hopefully) is above grade.

Where else do they bury the first course of brick? Never heard of nor seen it unless it's a screw up.

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Stopped doing that here in the the 40s. By 50 there was a brickledge cast into the concrete foundation. The first course of brick is above grade and below the sill plate.

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Thanks, Jim. The only problem it is causing now is slight fungus on the joist closest to that outside wall. When my inspector saw the fungus he said he almost didn't mention it because it wasn't bad enough. I'm just worried about the future, though. The house only is 6 yrs old (granted in it's first year we had a 100 year flood which could have easily caused a bit of fungus afterwards).

If the rim joist is below grade, that's a problem all by itself.

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That's the opposite of how it's done here. In Chicago, it's exposed foundation and the first course of brick (hopefully) is above grade.

Where else do they bury the first course of brick? Never heard of nor seen it unless it's a screw up.

Bizarro World Brick.

In the 50s & 60s we did it that way. Since then, we cast a stemwall with a ledge in it that will end up well below grade. The brick starts at the ledge and the space between the brick and the concrete is fully grouted until we reach the elevation that will be final grade. At that point, we have (well, we're *supposed* to have) a course of through-wall flashing and weepholes above. Well above that is the top of the stemwall where the wood framing begins. When done right it works well and looks very nice.

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Rim joist is not below grade, just 2-3 rows of brick veneer

If the rim joist isn't below grade, then why did fungus grow on it?

Is this because you had standing water in the crawlspace?

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I may be ignorant here, but the rim joist goes around the perimeter, correct? if so, that does not have fungus, a couple of the floor joists in the area do. Assuming it is due to moisture under there.

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Bizarro World Brick.

In the 50s & 60s we did it that way. Since then, we cast a stemwall with a ledge in it that will end up well below grade. The brick starts at the ledge and the space between the brick and the concrete is fully grouted until we reach the elevation that will be final grade. At that point, we have (well, we're *supposed* to have) a course of through-wall flashing and weepholes above. Well above that is the top of the stemwall where the wood framing begins. When done right it works well and looks very nice.

I don't know why it's bizarre; it's how most of the world does it. Maybe everyone's got it wrong...(?)....

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I may be ignorant here, but the rim joist goes around the perimeter, correct? if so, that does not have fungus, a couple of the floor joists in the area do. Assuming it is due to moisture under there.

You're correct. The rim joist goes around the perimeter. When you said "joist closest to the outside wall" I inferred rim joist.

If it's just a small amount of fungus on joists that happen to be near the exterior, that really doesn't mean much. It might have been on the joists before they were installed.

Pictures?

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I've never seen it done that way, but then again, I don't see much brick veneer.

Most of the buildings I look at are solid multiple wythe load bearing masonry, lime mortars, limestone details....that sort of thing. Never really understood brick veneer.....seems strange to me.

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That's the opposite of how it's done here. In Chicago, it's exposed foundation and the first course of brick (hopefully) is above grade.

Where else do they bury the first course of brick? Never heard of nor seen it unless it's a screw up.

Agreed. I suppose you could get away with high soil if there are no termites but burying the bottom of the brick here is a no-no. Of course the vast majority of foundations here are monolithic slabs and the bottom plate is usually only a couple of inches above the brick ledge.

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. . .

I don't know why it's bizarre; it's how most of the world does it. Maybe everyone's got it wrong...(?)....

Not bizarre. Bizarro World. (Can't believe I found a literary reference that escaped you.)

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The middle of Tennessee would be termite country. Don't let anyone pile more dirt against your house. That landscaper guy needs to get some education.

You might be wise to get some termite treatment but I would not know about that, maybe was done when the house was built. You can't see behind the bricks, which could be providing a highway for termies into your house.

If you have vents to your crawlspace. make sure they are open and measure the humidity down there. You can buy a cheap meter for about $20.

The swale just controls surface runoff so doesn't need to be deep.

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