Does Your Home Weep?

Weep Hole
Of course, I do not mean to ask if your home is in an emotional state of distress or sorrow and shedding actual tears, but that is an entertaining thought. I’m curious. Does your home properly shed water? Most homes with a brick veneer exterior should drain or “exude liquid” from behind its exterior brick cladding through small holes or gaps in the mortar. Weep holes accomplish this function.

What Are Weep Holes?

Weep Holes release water and moisture that finds its way through the brick veneer. When it rains, water begins to soak into the exterior brick. Brick is not completely impervious. Water and water vapor can still find its way through this porous material.

Brick is one of the most popular exterior materials for houses in our area. It’s beautiful, and people associate it with a solid, well-made structure. You must be careful because it is easy to believe that a brick wall is solid, rather brick facades are not connected directly to the wood interior walls. A space between the inner and outer walls is created to allow air to flow. Even though the brick itself appears strong and impervious, it is a porous material that can allow moisture to penetrate through it. Water will soak through brick in a matter of hours as rain is driven against the brick’s surface.

If wood framing and sheathing behind the brick gets wet, they can develop mold and even rot even if barriers such as sheathing paper are used to restrict moisture movement through the walls. To make matters worse, these areas are typically hidden and problems may not be discovered until considerable damage has been done. If evidence of water intrusion is found, the most likely visual proof will be water stains, damp areas or rot at the sill plate, or even stains or damp areas at the top of the foundation wall. Leaks and stains around windows and doors are other clues.

Weep Hole Illustration
Weep holes allow air into the wall cavity while allowing water to drain out.

Where are Weep Holes Located?

Weep holes are located at the bottom of brick veneer typically just above the top of the foundation, and directly above the termination point of any flashing installed behind the brick. They should also be located above doors, windows and other openings in the brick wall. Weep holes allow water to escape. Some people have seen these gaps and wondered if they are flaws overlooked by the builder. Others have taken further action and filled these gaps with caulk or mortar to prevent intrusion by pests. If your weep holes have been filled in, resist the temptation to pick up your drill. You could introduce water penetration, damage mortar, or open the wall to pests if you drill weep holes in the wrong locations.

What Are Your Options?

There are two options available:

Thermal Image1) Have a licensed contractor remove part of the brick veneer to verify proper installation of flashing. If you locate the flashing, you can reinstall the brick and ensure that weep holes are in their proper locations. Unfortunately, this can be a costly option.

2) Do nothing. Past performance isn’t always an indicator of future events. Many times, thermal imaging can detect hidden problems. This can be a part of your annual home maintenance inspection from Three 17 Inspections.

Schedule Your annual Inspection Today!