Brick house

The house we inspected today, 35 yrs old, had no weep holes in the brick. Should we call this out, and if so how would you word it. My thinking is its been this way for 35 yrs. with no problems.


Interesting article for your question.

Inspector’s report on weep holes has seller in a quandary

By C. Dwight Barnett (Contact)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

**We are in the process of selling our home that we had custom built in 2002. The buyer’s Realtor hired a home inspector who pointed out that there are no weep holes in the brick, which he said were required when the home was built. Now the buyers want to have weep holes installed at our cost. **

What are weep holes, why didn’t the builder install them, and why did the county inspector pass the home without the weep holes?

Recently I have heard more and more questions concerning weep holes, or the lack thereof, being tossed around among Realtors, builders and home inspectors than ever before.

My thought is that one or more home inspectors have attended an educational seminar that covered the subject of weep holes, making the inspectors more aware of the codes, and now they are including this information in their reports without thinking it through.

A weep hole is a small opening in the brick or stone mortar joint that is designed to allow water to “weep” from behind the wall’s veneer. That’s right, the brick on your home is a veneer, a simple covering that hides the rough framing of the exterior walls of the home.

Brick, stone, vinyl and other siding materials are a veneer with a gap between the exterior walls and the back side of the veneer to allow storm water to drain down the home’s wall where it is collected and drained to the outside of the veneer.

The home inspector and builder are not responsible for code enforcement, and the lack of weep holes is not, by itself, a major defect. It is the responsibility of the subcontractors, such as the plumber, electrician and brick mason, to perform their work according to the codes in effect. In some states, county or city the codes are not enforced, not enacted or the officials are so overburdened that they can’t find every defect on a new home.
If you were to read the code for weep holes (2000 International Residential Code, section 703.7.5 & .6), you would soon discover that there is more to the weep hole than a simple opening in the mortar joint. The framed wall of the home must have weep holes above the flashings, and flashing materials are required behind the veneer “beneath the first course of masonry above finished ground level above the foundation wall or slab.”

Weep hole flashing is a piece of metal that can be fastened to the home’s wall, then folded at an angle to cover a row of bricks to prevent water entry to the home’s wood structure.

I have been building and inspecting homes for more than 45 years, and I have rarely seen a residential home with all the weep holes required by the code. In some areas the brick mason will drain the wall cavity to the foundation’s concrete blocks, which then drains to the foundation’s interior drainage system. The home inspector would not be able to visually inspect this type of veneer drain without removing the brick or veneer covering.

Should you install weep holes? The answer is no.

At this point you might do more harm than good. If there was no flashing at the point where you would drill a hole, you would simply be opening the veneer cavity to pest infestation and you might damage the mortar joint. Also, the next time the home is sold, the fake weep holes would present a false impression to the buyer.

If the home is not experiencing high moisture levels at the outside walls and there are no signs of water entry to the underside, top and ends of the floor system, there is no need to fix a problem that does not exist.

Could the walls leak in the future? Yes, but adding weep holes would not help without wall flashings. Should there be a leak, the brick or stone could be sealed with a clear coating that would prevent water entry through the veneer.

Hope this helps a little, but I guess it may not answer you question.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Ah cop out.
Make them rebuild the place.:stuck_out_tongue:

Bob, I didn’t know that you were a hard @ss Inspector.:wink:

I weep for you. :slight_smile:

Who wants a hole anyways, bugs will just make a home, remember?

Marcel :slight_smile:

More than likely the water bleeds right through the mortar is what I am thinking.
Now what I am wondering is say they forgot the flashing, wouldn,t the stuff (water) sit and build up for a longer period where the flashing should have been and show obvious signs of not being in use.
Marcel my main question for you is what kind of sealer would actualy last long enough to provide a permenent solution , and would it have the negative effect of stopping the mortar from evaporating what does bleed through by wind driven rain ,snow and such?
After all these brick layers do spill alot in the cavity anyway I would think.
Just a thought.

Bob, you are correct, most residential brick veneers only have a 1" cavity and are full of mortar, guaranteed.

Weep holes not installed, well assumming that a flashing is installed at the base, the water would pond at the bottom and eventually wick or get absorbed by the mortar or brick itself.

The problem with no weep holes would occurr in a cold climate where sun hits the brick and condensation behind the brick starts to melt and accummulates at the bottom and then freezes.

Bob, the make a brick sealer like Shield M that will protect the brick for five years on water infiltration, and will still allow the brick to breath and dry from the back side. Used that product for may years and works well. I am sure there are better products today, but this one is still in use.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Ok , but seems like an awful lot of effort to do all that every five years.
I just wonder if it hurts more than helps , but you did mention about the freeze/ thaw cycle which is another ball of wax.
So perhaps a warm climate you should not even think of the sealant.

That might be true to some extent.

Depends a lot on the type of brick.

Marcel :slight_smile:

Makes sense.

Makes sense.

Hey, Bob, I heard you the first time. Ha. ha.

Marcel :wink: :slight_smile: :smiley:

Makes sense.

My home is 50 years old and has no weeps. Absolutely no indications of adverse effects. Does that make sense Bob or MC??

Actually it does to me Linas.

I have never seen any water come out of a weep hole in 40 years.

The moisture that accumulates behind the brick is from the wind driven rain or condensation behind the brick because of the dew point.

But in all cases, I believe that the brick itself or the mortar joints will absorb the moisture and dry from the inside out.



Thanks MC. You the man. Lobsterfest is just around the corner.:wink:

Hey Linas, if you come back, let me know in advance and my wife and I will join you.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Hey Gary,
Just thought I would put my two cents in here. If I am correct, and this could be a long shot, but as I recall w[FONT=Verdana]eep holes have been a building code requirement since 1974. **BUT **we are not required to inspect code. If you don’t know just report on what you see and thats all. If this were me I would report on the lack weep holes and state their purpose and leave it up to the buyers as to what action to take. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Off the record though If there is no visual problem after 35 yrs. inside or outside the wall, more than likely there isn’t one. But that’s just an opinion.:wink: [/FONT]

You are correct Tim.

Well done.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

This is how I reported it:

Weep holes in the brick veneer are not present. Weep holes are intended to keep moisture away from the structure behind the brick. The home is not experiencing high moisture levels at the outside walls and there are no signs of water entry to the underside, top and ends of the floor system.
Adding weep holes would not help without wall flashings. Should there be a leak, the brick or stone could be sealed with a clear coating that would prevent water entry through the veneer.

They work relatively well when a defective dishwasher pump connection is flooding the house :twisted:
Just wanted you to see them in action before another 40 years passed you by. :mrgreen: