No weep holes

Ive encountered a number of older (50’s, 60’s) homes recently that had brick siding (not a double-wythe brick construction) that had no weep holes. Since weep holes allow moisture to escape how does this construction system handle moisture release?

Some of the reasoning “back then” was that masonry bricks would absorb and wick the moisture themselves, and they do, as long as it is “just moisture” and NOT water penetration. That principal still holds true today, thus many newer building do not have weeps installed, (depending on many other conditions).

Note: …consider that most times, the weep holes are blocked from fallen mortar in the wall which renders the weeps ineffective anyway.

Is it possible they were below grade after many years?

I always put a diagram of how a brick wall with weep holes is designed and explain purpose of them in my report and advise them if their wall has it or not. More of an educational description i guess but makes them aware. I dont call it out as a defect if missing but I inform them No weep holes may hinder the wall sheathing from drying out if water gets behind the brick etc.

Absolutely! Especially if the brick extended below grade (which it shouldn’t). Landscapers don’t have a clue. Just pile on the topsoil and bark/mulch until it looks purty!

Thanks Jeffrey
Ive been telling my clients that they didn’t figure they needed them back then …but your explanation is a lot better

Most of the time the old places all have CMU block rather than wood sheathing.

I’m in Kansas City. I see weeps or wicks on commercial.

On residential I will see then 4-5 times a year. Since 1988 back in KC, I’ve only seen it create a problem 2 times. The substrate is wood mostly around here.

No worries if it is residential.
Look at every third brick butt joint.
If the masonry is not the same color or the ironing pattern on the masonry is not the same, they were closed in by a repair person.

Either / or, in all my years i have never seen issues with closed weep holes.
The brick ledge has plenty of ooze dropped between the wall assembly to block them from the inside:-0


Missing “flashing” and “weep holes.” Since masonry isn’t completely waterproof, builders must take certain steps to prevent moisture from seeping into the building and damaging walls. Any building constructed since 1970 should have rubber, plastic or metallic “flashing,” a protective skirt that curves around joints to protect against moisture. When water does get through a wall, it collects on the flashing and is released through “weep holes,” small openings in the masonry. These holes are most obvious at the top of the foundation wall.

If your building does not have flashing to protect against water, or weep holes to let it escape, its susceptible to water damage and possibly mold.

Unknown source.

Bob, this has been a topic here for some time as you well know.
Jeffrey’s illustration is right on!

Mr. Adair had some great info on masonry wall assemblies.
Maybe Barry will see the thread.

I worked with masonry every now and then.
Weep holes and residential, a rarity on residential in Montreal.

Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they ain’t there.

Inspected a south Kansas City home this week, built in 1968. Brick and the home were in perfect one owner condition. And, no bottom layer weep holes. The bottom layer of brick however, was placed about one quarter to half inch over the edge of the foundation, where moisture could weep out.

A non-issue for me in this home.

Garry do you have any pictures for the members?
A term I may have used is, “The brick were cobber 1/2” inch proud of the foundation brick ledge."

Here is an article referring to cobbling and some very quality relief work by brickies.:smiley: Slow and tedious but the aesthetic relief is wonderful. Read more. You will see brick cobbling on wide chimney’s call the shoulders as the masons tapper the chimney stack up the wall to the roof.

I only did checker board relief and was leaning french corners and the moved on to standard (running) stretcher bond as a linesmen. Some referred to Stretcher bond as American bond and it was not.
Read more
A lovely historical town I frequent several times a week is loaded with brick relief. maybe that is why I feel at home.

I find it interesting, in North America we see weep holes every 3rd brick along the foundation and in some cases above and below windows. Where an average home in NA has say 30 weep holes the average in Australia and Europe will have 60 to 90. Their weep holes are inserted further up the wall in addition to the foundational weeps. Anyone have an explanation for this?