New flashing technique for masonry buildings

I am sure that most of you are aware of proper flashing above windows and doors with masonry. There should be step flashing around the steel lintel. The flashing should be turned up at the sides (end damming) and inside the masonry wall on the interior (back damming).
I did 5 inspections today. Not pre-purchase inspections, but inspections for water intrusions. We have has saturating rains in the Chicago area. Combined with the many buildings (3 - 6 unit condos) that have been constructed with a single wythe (not a good idea in this area) split faced block (double trouble), there has been a great number of water intrusions. This condition is further aggrevated by there not being the traditional 10 or so days of single digit cold that we normally see in February (when the masonry dries out.
Well, I wish to claim the honor of inventing a new term. You heard it here first.
Many “masons” around here will grout or (seriously!) caulk the lintel / brick or block space above windows and doors. This traps the moisture and causes it to back up over the end and/or back flashing.
I call this technique “FRONT DAMMING”.
You heard it here first, folks.
All 5 inspections today had this opening caulked shut, most had the weep wicks removed before the caulking. 4 of these were done by the building owners and one by an idiot handyman.
Welcome the new flashing technique, front damming.
Look for it in your area.
Feel free to steal the term.


hey Will
don’t you mean “front damning”
did any of the trades really bother installing the end dams & peel & stick tape flashing @ lintels
often reported as deficient as i seldom see either installed during commercial or residential construction phase inspections regardless of wall wythe or cladding system

Not limited to split block or recent construction but “no worries” Glass Block is wonderful for support .

Saw a building, this morning. Old (1920) 3 story 6 unit apartment building that was converted to condos in 2005. Added 4th floor (copper standing seam) and put new stone fascade. Every window and door lintel covered with the window cladding and the lintel spaces caulked. Water intrusion over the windows in every unit. The old Chicago brick was parge re-pointed (no grind out, just parge a convex joint over the old. They also sand blasted the old brick. Spall city.

Not a pre-purchase inspection, but a water intrusion inspection.

More from the same building.

What a disaster.

interesting advice

Chi town- pretty much the king of brick work. I just use the term “Those *&%#$@ idiots just cost somebody alot of money”