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cable/light fixture holes in brick - water leaking


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I need to address water that enters the home from small openings in the exterior brick. As I walk around the house I see the cable company puts their box on the exterior brick wall and then makes a nice 3/4" hole to push their cable through. If it doesnt look water tight (i can pull the cables in and out) then I assume some water is getting in.. it might explain some of the mold I am seeing in various areas on the interior base boards.

Same with conduits and hose bibs. The hose bibs are going through the bricks and I can push them in and out. I can screw the bibs onto the brick and that might help those.. but still it doesnt feel water tight.

The conduit holes appear to be tight but I do not see any material making them water tight -- just perfectly cut holes.

Then I see light fixtures (exterior) where there are a nice holes with wire going into the house. I am sure water is getting behind the fixture plates. And even then it doesnt take a genius to see from these fixtures that there is a nice gap between fixture plate and the wall because too much brick was cut out to make them fit (so aesthetically, it would be nice to fill in some of the missing brick.. even though it is a small 1/2" gap)

How do I make all of this water tight? Is there some brick colored caulk that I buy and I just go away and seal everything up? Is there anything I need to be concerned about? The brick is empty in the middle, so do I buy some backer rod and just try and stuff it into these small opening? I have never used backer rod (so if there are some "must dos" i wouldnt know them)

The home is in Illinois -- so I assume the brick expands and contracts with the seasons.

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Use an exterior grade of elastomeric sealant, not that I've any experience in doing so, just that I've never seen such an issue with these unsealed penetrations in brick veneer.

There's alway a first one, I guess.

Marc

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Brick isn't, and cannot be, watertight. In addition to lousy penetration details, I'm supposing the flashing is either absent or installed wrongful, with the outcome being mold on the baseboard (and probably other areas you can't see).

Sounds like you got a leaker.

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Hi Kurt,

Yes, there is some leaking that is happening... if it was the flashing, would a hose test be effective in reproducing the leak? Do I need to test the walls of the brick or can I leave the hose on the ground?

I have left the hose on the ground for 30 minutes and could not get any leaking into the basement (my hose was at ground level with the floor of the basement being about 8 feet lower). It is a finished basement so I cannot really see anything.. but no water with a hose test. Now if we get a storm, then I will see water on the floor. It seems to come from one or two walls. So I can only speculate that maybe water is coming through some of these small openings (the opening are in areas that have some water damage -- so either it is coincidental or the wind and rain combination magically dumps 10 gallons through these small openings).

How do you suggest I troubleshoot from here?

It will be very expensive to tear open the finished basement walls.. obviously if it needs to be done, then I will do it. But I am hoping to figure out what is going on before taking that extreme step.

Note that I hired a roofer and that solved 90% of the water issues. So now I am obsessed with the remaining 10% (which are not roof related). There are two issues -- the water intrusion into the finished basement and then on the higher level there is one area where the baseboard is showing some sign of mold. The home is brick veneer..

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Too much to cover in an email.

Hose tests are not useful; they work a few times, but don't most of the time. There's a sort of home owner's logic that makes it seem plausible, but it's not a test; it's you spraying the hose.

After that, if you want to find leaks for sure, you have to open walls. Suspect problems. Everything you're describing says problems.

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Is this new construction? Is so I would be concerned. I agree with hiring a good forensic inspector. You need to see behind the walls to find out what is going on. An experienced inspector can often get a good idea where to open up or get a peak behind walls, sometimes with little or no damage.

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Some good news. I found the source of the multiple leaks -- all from one place. Above the basement is an exterior door. On the outside of the door is a slanted flashing made of copper (i dont know what you call this thing -- is it even a "flashing" but it goes from the bottom of the door sill to the concrete slab with an angle at the end) .. the design would normally direct water away from the door. That is sitting on the concrete (seems to be nice and well constructed) and there is nothing to seal it to concrete. I think it is designed for gravity to just take the water away and the concrete slab does seem to be sloped correctly. It is also attached to the exterior wall which is brick veneer.

If I leave the hose there for one minute the water starts dripping into the basement. So whatever is behind this is probably quite exposed to the ceiling of the basement (it didnt take much time or water to get it going)

This explains why I would have more problems when there was snow piled up against the door (it would melt and work its way under this metal, under the door, and to the basement -- the snow causing it to "puddle" easily). Also it explains why a lot of times I see nothing after a long rain (I think it takes some seriously strong rain that creates a puddle by the door). But whatever gets under it will get into the basement easily.

What can I seal this with? So this copper (it appears to be copper, but definitely a metal) that sits on the concrete and is attached to the brick walls? What is the best way to seal this up for good? If I can make sure water doesnt get under this then I am optimistic my basement problems are solved.

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