Does Brick Really Need To Weep?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

In the olden days the brick siding you saw on houses was structural.  There were two layers of brick, into what was tied structural members.  The brick was structural, the wood was interior. 

Currently the brick siding you see is a facade, sometimes called a "veneer," and the wood interior is the structural part of the house.

Various construction materials combine to create this newer method, but essentially the brick is set off of the wood interior and exterior sheathing, which is all protected by some form of vapor retardation.

The brick is virtually strapped to the house.

As such, moisture develops between the brick and sheathing.  It needs somewhere to go. 

Weep holes are an important part of the construction method to allow air in and moisture out.  An excess of moisture in there can lead to its migration into the interior and when that happens the ultimate result can be molds.

 

This is one form of weep hole.  A section of mortar between the bricks has been intentionally left out.  Other weep holes can include a multiplicity of simple holes, or wicks, plastic inserts, and so on.

Either way, when you look at a brick-sided house, weep holes are an important thing to look for.

Often I don't see them!

Why?  Because they have been diligently eliminated by a home owner who does not understand why that silly brick layer left holes all over his house!  By golly, he wanted to fix that "oversight..." and got right on it!

Homeowner "fixes" I have seen include caulking, mortar, rags, spray polyfoam (which is ALWAYS very attractive) and wax!

The "fixes" look something like this!

This particular house was built in 1972, just after the "new" brick facade siding came into vogue.  As such it had weep holes all around.

And these weep holes were filled all around by some house-savvy homeowner!  This guy chose mortar.

Some of it was cracking and loose so I could tell it had been there a while.

Don't do this!

Everything wants to breath, and eliminate moisture, even the walls of your house!

My recommendation:  When you approach a brick-veneered house, have a look around for weep holes.  The house will be happy you did.

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 16 times:

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Rainmaker
1,430,522
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, PLR - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

In Texas, brick veneer is the most common, well before the 70's. People fill in the weep holes because they think it prevents bugs from getting into the house. They don't understand there is a barrier, but I show houses all the time when them filled. Some people don't put actual mortor, but they'll put brillow pads, but then those rust and run and look bad...

Nov 17, 2010 08:38 AM #87
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Jeffrey - quicker and easier to just plug it up!

Have some experience Kim?  Are you weeping now that there is yet ANOTHER mention of bricks?

Michael - happy to contribute to that learning!  Michelangelo at 87 said, "I am still learning."  He had quite a resume...

Bob - happy to meet the geek.  I try to be instructive.

Allen - nope!  If I don't see them I put that on my report.

Nov 17, 2010 08:41 AM #88
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Donna - Brillo pads would be a first for me!  And that would get really ugly over time.

Nov 17, 2010 08:42 AM #89
Rainer
30,213
Phil & Celeste Pafford
PaffordHomes.com, Corona CA - Corona, CA
Corona Short Sale Broker

Well, I didn't know that.  I guess since we don't have many brick homes out here in Southern CA, I won't kick myself too hard for not knowing... thanks for the info ;-)

Nov 17, 2010 10:19 AM #90
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You are welcome Phil!  And I did not know until this post that you don't have brick homes in CA!

Nov 17, 2010 10:22 AM #91
Rainmaker
676,861
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Had non existant weep holes on a home a month back. I actually wrote about it myself.

Nov 17, 2010 11:56 AM #92
Rainmaker
87,283
Kimberly Thurm
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff, Naperville, IL - Naperville, IL
Broker / Relocation Consultant ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR

Jay,  lol - I have even made mortar in the mixers for a new construction job...  When we built one of our homes.   Over a hundred tons of stone went up on that one.

Nov 17, 2010 04:12 PM #93
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And I probably commented Jim!  Sorry, didn't remember.  When I see no weeps I mention it and tell them they really are needed.

Kimberly - he's not heavy, he's my brother, um house!  When I need heavy stuff moved, I will call you!   ;)

Nov 17, 2010 08:35 PM #94
Rainmaker
174,893
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

OMG! That sounds just like something I'd do... diligently fill all of those holes. Like the time the contractor told me he'd never seen so much calk around a shower, courtesy of Nana.

Nov 18, 2010 12:39 PM #95
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Well, Nana, don't do that!  It's against the rules, and now you know that.

Where you been?

Nov 18, 2010 02:27 PM #96
Rainmaker
174,893
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

PahPah, Hmmm... I HAVE been known to break the rules once or twice. I have been having fun working on my new website. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your new grandson. Nana

Nov 19, 2010 01:47 AM #97
Rainmaker
179,698
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Jay, the only thing about the 3/8 hole in the mortor joint is very easily clogged with dirt, etc. I some times see the full weep hole clogged.  3/8 is way to small.

Nov 19, 2010 05:32 AM #98
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kate Na - he is in Utah and I in Virginia.  We will share it vicariously over the cosmic waves.

I agree Jack.  And on some houses they are putting them everywhere!  I like a gap big enough for a medium snake to get in...  um, not a plumber's snake.

Nov 19, 2010 08:41 AM #100
Ambassador
2,054,128
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor
Jay - Unlike Virginia, we don't have a lot of homes with bricks down here but I am always happy to learn something new!
Nov 20, 2010 09:32 AM #101
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And I am glad you are Barbara-Jo!  Like Michelangelo said, "I am always learning."

Nov 20, 2010 10:24 AM #102
Rainer
215,638
Diane Williams
Pell City, AL

Thank you so much for sharing this information about why brick home needs to weep.  The builders in my area use wicks in the mortar joints for this purpose.  Great information to share with everyone.

Nov 21, 2010 01:39 AM #103
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Wicks are one way the industry is doing it now, but I think holes are still better Diane.  Either way though, it needs to eliminate moisture!

Nov 21, 2010 01:41 AM #104
Rainmaker
205,527
Pat Tasker
Shorewest Realtors - Germantown, WI
Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI)

When I read the title, I thought you were speaking of WEEPING MORTAR, which is a whole other subject!  I don't care for weepig mortar, as I like nice even appearances...

Nov 21, 2010 01:22 PM #105
Rainmaker
205,527
Pat Tasker
Shorewest Realtors - Germantown, WI
Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI)

When I read the title, I thought you were speaking of WEEPING MORTAR, which is a whole other subject!  I don't care for weepig mortar, as I like nice even appearances...

Nov 21, 2010 01:22 PM #106
Rainmaker
1,617,561
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Pat - if by that you mean the white stain that flows from it, that means there was too much lime in the mix and as the mortar gets wet it weeps out the lime.  You are right, it is NOT attractive!

Nov 21, 2010 10:27 PM #107
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