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Weep holes and flashing


jeffreyismith
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The front of my house faces Northwest. When strong winds from the NW with heavy rain, I get leaks in the front window. From what I can see after reading about weep holes I am missing flashing above the lentals of all my windows. If this is the case, the house being only 4 years old, is this not a building defect and should be repaired by the builder?

Hurricane Ike blew rain at the front of the house for hours and we had buckets of water leaking over the window inside. We kept the water off the wood floor and save it but we are worried about mold behind the walls. I had one contractor tell me that my weep holes were too deep and they would have to plug them a little. So I had to do some weep hole research. After reading, it appears this contractor does not know what weep holes are for.

JIS

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Just offhand, I'd say that is correct. Folks don't know what weep holes are for.

The lintels should have flashing. Understand, that flashing isn't just plastic stuck in the wall. It has to be detailed to the water resistive barrier on the inner wall correctly, and there has to be end dams on the lintel ends so water doesn't run over the side of the lintel.

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Check out The Brick Industry for excellent notes on brick walls and their detailing. Your local code may also spell out flashing details pretty clearly. While weeps are important and often neglected at lintels, with what you are describing, I'd go along with Kurt and assume improper flashing is the big problem here. Weeps and flashing are not the same thimg. You might need a pro to carefully remove some bricks to see what's causing the mess. If the flashing is goofed or missing, I would hold the builder responsible.

http://www.gobrick.com/html/frmset_thnt.htm

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I think a picture would go a long way to help us determine what is actually happening. I myself would be more inclined to think the window was leaking. A high performance double hung window should be rated at or near Design Pressure 50. The water intrusion portion of DP50 states no water penetration past the interior surface of the window at 1" of rain per hour with sustained wind loads of 25 miles per hour. We can see wind and rain exceding those levels during a hurricane generated rain event in the Great Lakes region of the country, so I would expect far greater wind and water in Texas. You could have errors in the detailing of the weeps or the flashings, or you might have lower performing windows, or (as I suspect) you had one hell of a rain event that exceded design parameters of the window system.

Tom

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Forget about the weep holes and flashing in the brick veneer. Brick veneer is not designed to keep water out of the wall, it is porous and a simple water hose running against the wall will be showing through on the other side of the brick in less than an hour.

The weep holes let the water out of the wall since we know it will get in and provides some ventilation to help prevent mold and rot inside the wall.

The sheathing and accompanying window flashing which is installed before the brick goes on is likely the problem.

Depending on how close you are to the coast, the windows should be wind rated and since you don't mention water AT the windows but ABOVE, sheathing or flashing under the brick is the only thing to consider. The only remedy is to remove the brick and repair the sheathing and window flashing.

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  • 1 month later...

See IRC 703.7.5 Flashing: Flashing shall be located be3neathth the first course of masonry above the finished ground level above the foundation wall or the slab and at other points of support, including structural floors shelf angles and lintels. This is in the IRC 2000 2003 and 2006. There is also a picture illistration of proper flashing and lintels. I have inspected many homes in Houston and have yet to find one done correctly.

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Originally posted by inspector57

Forget about the weep holes and flashing in the brick veneer. Brick veneer is not designed to keep water out of the wall, it is porous and a simple water hose running against the wall will be showing through on the other side of the brick in less than an hour.

The weep holes let the water out of the wall since we know it will get in and provides some ventilation to help prevent mold and rot inside the wall.

The sheathing and accompanying window flashing which is installed before the brick goes on is likely the problem.

Depending on how close you are to the coast, the windows should be wind rated and since you don't mention water AT the windows but ABOVE, sheathing or flashing under the brick is the only thing to consider. The only remedy is to remove the brick and repair the sheathing and window flashing.

Check out IRC 703.7.5
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  • 3 weeks later...

download Technical Notes #7 from www.bia.org for a thorough description and diagrams of properly installed masonry wall flashing

the only sure fix is to remove the brick and retro-fit the flashing as others have stated. however, if there is not a lot of exterior wall space above the window/s that is/are leaking you may be able to cross your fingers and get away with applying a silane/siloxane sealant over the brick. since the missing flashing will allow wind-driven rain and liquid moisture under surface tension to work their way back from the lintel opening you could also install rope weeps 6"-8" o.c.; and use backer rod and caulk to seal the lintel opening from wind driven rain entering. I am NOT recommending it but just proposing that it MAY work as a less expensive repair. If it doesn't work you really haven't ventured or lost much in the effort.

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Here's the problem w/that approach.....

If you caulk and seal up the lintel opening, where does the water go that is driving into the brick above the window?

This is becoming the defacto "repair" for screwed up masonry in Chicago. Water is retained in the wall, and we all know what happens when that, um, happens.

Also, my experience with silanes and siloxanes is they work well for controlling absorption due to porosity, but they don't stop water from working in through hairline cracks between the mortar and brick.

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