Weep Holes In Brick

Home Inspector with BPG Property Inspection Services

Weep No More

Have you ever seen holes or plastic tubes in the mortar joints just above the foundation and over windows and doors?

Sometimes there is a small length of rope sticking out of the joint instead of a hole. Note-- you aren't seeing sloppy construction,

the holes or piece of rope are supposed to be there. Don't seal them up because they serve a valuable purpose.

While a masonry wall is the first line of defense against

water penetration, it can leak. Masonry is porous and can

absorb moisture in extreme weather conditions. Weep

holes are the exit port for the drainage cavity behind the

masonry wall. If the wall is built correctly, the weep holes

allow moisture behind the masonry to exit. These holes

also serve as pressure equalizers making it less likely that

wind-driven rain will penetrate the wall. The drainage

cavity has five essential elements: 1) The exterior wythe

(the vertical section of a wall that is equal to the width of

the masonry unit) of masonry provides the first resistance

against moisture penetration, 2) An air space of at least

one inch, 3) An interior wythe of masonry or other material

such as frame wall, 4) Flashing at all interruptions in the drainage cavity such as at the base of the

foundation and around the openings for such windows, 5) Weep holes at all flashing locations-- recommended spacing of

33 inches.

For a cavity wall to function properly, water that collects on flashing must be able to drain through the weep holes to the

exterior or the building. If weep holes do not function properly, water collecting in the cavity can infiltrate the building

interior. There are many homes built with no weep holes that have or will likely never become a problem. However, good

building practices and most building codes suggest weep holes should be installed when the home is built. Many code

officials will look the other way or allow occupancy without the installation of weep holes.

Conversely, the absence of weep holes occasionally allows so much moisture to accumulate that metal fasteners turn to

rust, wood-destroying insects are encouraged, or rot develops. It is unlikely that a visual home inspection will reveal these

problems unless conditions are so severe that cracks in the

walls or other indicators are visible. The most likely visual

manifestation of a problem will be water stains, damp areas or

rot at the foundation plate and/or floor band as well as stains

or damp areas at the top of the foundation wall. Weep holes

can be added. However, most masonry experts question the

effectiveness of retrofit without at least partial removal of the

masonry, which is very expensive.

Home inspections are not code compliance inspections.

Professional home inspectors can look and determine if weep

holes are present, however, they have no way to ensure absence of hidden moisture damage without invasive investigation.

Therefore; it is our perspective that weep holes should be installed when they are missing on a property.

We're working to be your expert -- we're working to earn your business

Comments (0)