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Adding Weep Holes


Terence McCann
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Yes, I have seen it done on a townshouse project.

The method used was a l o n g process.

The 4 courses up from the ground level were removed; an area about 3-4 feet long. The flashing and weeps installed, bricks re-installed. Waited 2 days, the next 3-4 feet were removed and so on. Of course you can do it from both ends to cut the time in half.

Of course, the new mortar joints were not the same color but at least the job was done right.

In this project, there was no areas above the windows that needed repairs.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Hello All:

Is it possible to add weep holes, after the fact, to newer homes that have the brick facing but lack the necessary weep holes?

If so how hard? Cost?

Thanks.

No it will not help to drill holes and add weeps after the fact. Weep holes must be installed during construction with proper flashing under weeps to direct moisture to the weeps. The brick will have to be removed to do the job correct. The flashing is installed under edge of building wrap. Cost is not cheap.

Paul Burrell

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Hello All:

Is it possible to add weep holes, after the fact, to newer homes that have the brick facing but lack the necessary weep holes?

If so how hard? Cost?

Thanks.

Yes, you can add flashing and weepholes after the fact. However, the brick must be removed and flashing added.

In Houston, we see them just going back and drilling holes above the lintels or breaking out some mortar between brick above the brick ledge.

The problem we have with lintels here is that the flashing is actually there, but they put the lintel directly over it and never pull the flashing over the lintel before bolting it down.

Cost? Pretty pricey I'd imagine, especially when they'll probably tear up more than they actually fix.

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Hello All:

Is it possible to add weep holes, after the fact, to newer homes that have the brick facing but lack the necessary weep holes?

If so how hard? Cost?

Thanks.

Yes, it's possible to add weep holes after the fact. Of course, it's necessary to also add the through-wall flashing at the same time.

Go to the Brick Industry Association web site at www.bia.org then click on "Technical Notes" then choose technical note #46.

Near the bottom it will outline how to install flashing retroactively. It's very similar to Darren's method.

The cost is prohibitive.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

To answer Terence's question, I call it when I don't see flashings and weeps in full-face veneer in newer housing stock. I don't call it for the little bits of wainscot-high veneer applied to the front of a garage where there's a gap at either side for moisture to drain out of and I don't call it on older buildings where it obviously hasn't been a problem.

Around here, the through-wall flashings are typically just the lowest layer of building felt placed under the bottom course - not steel or brick - and every once in a while I'll find a home where the weeps have become plugged and it's obvious that the felt has disintegrated because the moisture will be overflowing into the interior of the wall. I've found some where they built the house with a reverse step on the foundation ledge, placing the brick higher than the sills so that when this happened the water ran onto the sills and caused them to rot. Most of the time though, despite the volume of rain we get here in the rainy season, they're holding up well.

This past week I had a large Federal style colonial built in 1929 where the entire exterior was original and done with veneer brick. There wasn't a weep hole or through-wall flashing seen anywhere - just steel lintels. No indication of moisture issues in any of the interior walls or basement to indicate it's ever been an issue. Go figure.

I didn't even go into the through-wall flashing thing with the client. He's a flipper. Buys houses, fixes them up and flips them for a profit. He knows all about weeps because I'd educated him on a previous building. Pointing out the lack of weeps in this home wouldn't have made any sense because there's no way anyone on either side of the transaction would have been convinced after 77 years that they were necessary. Hell, in this case I couldn't even convince myself that they should have been there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Second Question:

Does everyone call this out as a defect?

Yes on all new or recently built homes. The code calls for this. On older homes there is seldom weeps and flashing but brick layers did a better job on older homes and if there is not an obvious moisture problem I do not call it.

Paul B.

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Here in MA, we don't see as much veneer as some of you do, but when I am inspecting a house with brick veneer and there aren't any weepholes, I always point it out to my client and explain it both on site and in the report.

Part of that explanation is: "Sometimes this results in moisture damage to the walls, often it doesn't. I'll look for signs of problems, but they aren't always discoverable in a home inspection."

This is one of those issues that goes beyond "calling it out". I think we need to spend some time teaching clients about the issues so they can make an informed decision.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go shovel about 18 inches of snow off my driveway.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Here in MA, we don't see as much veneer as some of you do, but when I am inspecting a house with brick veneer and there aren't any weepholes, I always point it out to my client and explain it both on site and in the report.

Part of that explanation is: "Sometimes this results in moisture damage to the walls, often it doesn't. I'll look for signs of problems, but they aren't always discoverable in a home inspection."

This is one of those issues that goes beyond "calling it out". I think we need to spend some time teaching clients about the issues so they can make an informed decision.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go shovel about 18 inches of snow off my driveway.

Jim I agree with your methods RE: brick veneer inspection. We have lot's of brick veneer construction in my area. I was called to a red brick new home a few weeks back and it looked awful with efflorence. The flashing and weeps were not installed correctly and not at all in some areas. My client was about to have a nervous break down arguing with the builder for six months. They paid $325,000 for home which is a lot in this market area. I furnished them with code section and diagrams of proper installation. I informed them that in my opinion all the brick needed removal and start over again. Lo and behold my client knocked on my door last week with a gift certificate and thank you note. He said the builders sub was going to remove the wall and re install it because of the info I furnished them. The certificate was for $50 but the thank you note was better than money but I can not post it as it has a religeous connotation.

I also see brick homes with no weeps or flashing exposed with no visible moisture problems at all.

Paul Burrell

PS: Mike H. and Kurt furnished me with some advice on the job metioned above which I appreciate.

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What a timely posting.

Just inspected a new, not quite finished house where owner is jumping up and down about the brick.

I wrote up no weeps, plus little or no slope on sill courses at window openings.

Owner's big beef is that about one pallet of the stuff was off color. Looks like the devil. Contractor says brick vendor blames color difference on mortar color difference. Contractor also says "just one pallet out of 100,000 brick."

Owner asked me to do a "brick count", which I pulled off with a reasonable degree of accuracy. My count was <30,000. Owner says he met the masonry crew at the corner package store one morning, and the last day they worked they left all their empties scattered about.

Before I left the site I had to listen, like a counselor, to the sad stories of both owner and contractor.

Get me out of here, Percy!

Thanks Jim Katen for the link to remedy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'd write it up. Code aside, it's a question of workmanship. It's not like the brick trade hasn't known about this - it's only been around since veneer was invented - so I don't look at it as a code issue. I think the reason that it got into the codes is because masons who never learned the craft the right way blew off traditional methods of work and it caused so much damage in so many homes that it was put into the code to try and force the issue with todays crop of younger masons.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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In addition to the above, I think it has much to do w/material, particularly the mortar mix. I see lots (I live in a masonry city) and lots of brick homes from the 60's w/ steel lintels, that lack flashing, wicks, or weeps, & they are in, literally, perfect condition.

The demon seems to be tricalcium aluminates, but I'm not sure yet. Having adequate sand in the mix so that the assembly can breath is critical; a lot of guys, and architects, are using high compression mortars, which is a problem. They don't breath.

This sounds really stupid, but I've found it to be true. If it's a 60's masonry veneer house and it looks like it is in satisfactory condition, it is.

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Originally posted by Garcha

What would you guys call in a 10 year old house with no weep holes at window or garage lintels? I thought that was a new code and wouldn't apply to a home that age.

It is posted on the web site of the southern brick institute that 1995 CABO and 1994 Standard Building Code that weeps and flashing are required. They also have drawing details of how they should be installed. CABO 703.7 and SBC 1403.1. www.sbionline.org

Paul Burrell

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Weeps are correctly done on only 5 or 10% of brick veneer homes in Central Texas. A few builders are starting to get them right on new homes, but even then improperly spaced/located weeps are common. I always write them up, and when asked if they can be added, I say "No, the brick has to be removed to installed proper flashing and weep holes."

I agree with Kurt. 30 or 40 year old houses without weeps and no visible problems aren't likely to develop future problems. But I still write'em up.

FWIW, my 30 years brick veneer home has no weeps and I'm not losing any sleep.

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These are at 33 inches however they are wicked and the other guy is saying that it should be 16 inches. That is correct but I was wondering if it was 33 inches 10 years ago when the house was built. If not could we just pull the wicks and call them open weeps? There is no sign of moisture problems at the sill or band in the basement or at the windows inside. Absolutely zero moisture after 10 years?

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Originally posted by Paul MacLean

From the 2000 IRC -

R703.7.6 Weepholes. Weepholes shall be provided in the outside wythe of masonry walls at a maximum spacing of 33 inches (838 mm) on center. Weepholes shall not be less than 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) in diameter. Weepholes shall be located immediately above the flashing.

For Mike G.

The section that Paul quoted goes back to the 1995 edition of CABO. Back then it was called section 703.7.4 and it uses precisely the same words.

The 1986 - 1992 editions of CABO don't use those words, but they require masonry veneer installations to comply with Figure R-503.4. That figure shows weep holes required on 4' centers.

None of the codes that I have say anything about reducing weep hole spacing to 16" when wicks are present. Do you know where that idea originated?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif CABO 86 Veneer Figure.jpg

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Dangit!

Well, this is a subject I've avoided up until today, because I see it as pretty insignificant... A formality.. "straining at gnats" Today's second new construction inspection brick veneer has no weeps. And, of course, because it's code I have to make a big deal out of it.

Frankly, after 14 years as a journeyman mason, 6 ears as a general contractor and 14 years as a home inspector... I've never ever seen anything come out of a weephole but bugs. I don't even think I've ever seen a stain indicating that a weephole ever served its purpose!? If anything, I can see that weepholes offer a bit of ventilation and evaporation and yes, of course, it makes logical sense to install them over flashing. But, I bet the ventilation is probably more of a plus than the drainage.

I just hate to make a mountain out of this mole hill.

Oh, well. There, I've said it, reported it and, thereby, done my job.

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