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Weep Holes

 
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Old 11-18-2005, 11:53 AM   #1
 
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Weep Holes


Has anyone ever seen water coming out of a weep hole? In the day to day actual application when laying up a brick veneer what do you do to keep the 1" cavity clear of all mortar? Do you drag that little thin board up between the brick and the inside wall? Please tell me that I'm not the only one who does NOT do this. Its too time consuming and cost prohibitive! Its also practically impossible considering the irregularities in the individual brick units. I'd really appreciate some comments as to what others do and their opinions.
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:57 PM   #2
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Re: Weep Holes


I've actually seen more mice go in and out weep holes (base course head joints) than water. I think that if water actually started running out a weep joint, there would be some sort of major problem That sort of water should never be getting behind the brick veneer and the sheathed framing.

I realize that there are those who insist that the air space be kept totally open, but it is something that we never paid that much attention to in the residential work I did. even with mortar dripples building up on wall ties, the cavity never gets totally blocked, and it is my understanding tha the weep joints are there to let any moisture build up have a place to drain, not gallons of water. If the brick is not a hard fired or glazed brick, it will transpire moisture from the backside to the outside of the wall anyway. In fact, we very rarely put weep holes in limestone veneer walls as they would serve no function--
Other than letting critters into the cavity. that is
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Old 11-18-2005, 05:17 PM   #3
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Re: Weep Holes


For my weep holes I use about a 2 1/2' to 3' chunk of clothes line and tack it to wall about every 3-4'. I set it so there is about 2" or so sticking out of the face of the brick. And like JVC said there would really have to be something major for an excessive amount of water to be coming out.
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:31 AM   #4
 
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Re: Weep Holes


Thanks for the responses!. I don't actually have water coming out of the holes. Im just kind of frustrated. I and a long list of other subs are being sued by a homeowner who got hold of a code book and has practicaky torn his house apart looking for deficiencies. Yes, I have general liability insurance but thats not the point.

There is a marked difference between what all the "books" say about the way brick should be installed and the reality of how it can be done in the field. I'm maintaining that it is impossible to maintain a completely clear airspace between the brick and wall and to maintain the 1" airspace at all times.

Any thoughts or similar experiences?
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:43 AM   #5
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Re: Weep Holes


That customer and this contractor http://contractortalk.com/showthread.php?t=5116
need to get together. Ah yes....what a show that would be.

The experience might just frickin straighten both of them out.

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Old 11-19-2005, 02:06 PM   #6
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Re: Weep Holes


I find it is close to impossible to maintain a 1" airspace at all times. Not too mention you need to put wall ties in every 4-5 courses which will make contact witht the house.
Some of the homes I have worked on had walls so out of plumb that even though my brick were straight up and down as an arrow the backs were touching the wall sometimes because of bows. And thats no bull ********************. You need to point out to this homeowner the improbabilities of keeping that 1" space and maybe call an inspector to go and check it out yourself if youre positive it is up to code. Then the inspector can set him straight.
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Old 11-19-2005, 03:18 PM   #7
 
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Re: Weep Holes


Regarding that airspace, it is hard to keep clear, and if you have a homeowner that is picky, tell them to spring for either of these two products www.mortarnet.com or www.cavclear.com
Here in town, I have seen water come out of the weep holes, but that is during hurricanes and when people have their sprinklers set up to spray on the house. It really does take alot of water to soak thru brick, but that usually isnt the problem. Most serious water leaks come thru improper head joints, where there is just a thin smudge of mud between the bricks. We recently were called by a general in the area who had a insert fireplace that was brick veneered around the chimney stack, and the joints were leaking so severely that the ceiling in the living room was falling in. We ground out all the joints and repacked them, and no problems since. The design was bad, but the bad joints made the water entry issue even worse. Point being, usually the mortar joints will leak quickly, especially when not properly filled, and you can get a lot of water entry thru them. Alot of masons and generals dont completely understand brick veneer, but a small amount of understanding will go a long way to making a functional veneer.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:41 PM   #8
 
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Re: Weep Holes


Since I'm just a newbie brickie (i love that term ... :-) I have noticed ALLOT of brick veneer work is done very quick. I have seen 1/4 - 1/2 full head joints allot, just whatever they scrap off from squeeze out of the previous brick gets slapped on the next head joint. And after reading this thread I wonder how many people actually get complaints about water from rain penetration because of head joints not being filled completely.
I can definately see why they get done that way. And being from Oklahoma we do get plenty of rain sometimes (when we aren't in a drought....:-).

I have also heard some local mason's say they don't put weeps in the veneer, which seemed odd. But I figured they would know better than I since they have years of experience.

Also - about the houses that are out of plumb, I have seen lots of houses out of plumb by +/- 2" easy. I know everything I have read says 1" airspace, but I have had to put more than 1" just to get a veneer to work out the length of the house. Putting veneer on an existing house isn't any fun... But from the sounds of it, veneering a new house might be just as bad.

Thanks for all the info on this forum.
I love learning from you guys!
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:10 PM   #9
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Re: Weep Holes


Even a good head joint is more prone to leak than a bed joint.

It is really simple - the bed joint has the weight of the brick to compress it as it cures. A head joint only has the pressure that can be applied to a jointing tool and nothing more as it cures, so the shrinkage can open up a micro-crack in the head joint.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:35 PM   #10
 
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Re: Weep Holes


Is that another good reason to use lime in your mortar? So that it will crystillize over time to combat that problem?

Just curious.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:01 PM   #11
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Re: Weep Holes


The question of lime verses masonry cement seems to be a personal thing, although historically code have showed a preference for Portland and lime.

Personally, I am 100% sold on the real benefits of using Portland and lime ove the masonry cement (portland, fillers, mouse droppings and spit).

It has more to do with the long term performance and not just the ability to meet the minimum specifications and get enough members on the specifications committees that set the minimum standards.

If you read the appendix for the mortar specifications, you will understand how important workability is since it suggests using the weakest mortar possible to carry the load, since strength is usually immaterial.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:32 PM   #12
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Re: Weep Holes


i cant remember the last time i put weep joints in a residential job.most commercial jobs call for them and also call for the mortar net like was mentioned above.when specs call for mortar net they also call for the weep vents.i have used the clothes line like 6string does and have done it texas style with an open head joint.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:49 PM   #13
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Re: Weep Holes


Two things I'd like to point out:
The mortar specifications do not favor a weaker mortar (higher lime, wetter) purely for workability, they seem overly concerned with bond strength as well. If you've ever looked at any cured masonry work closely, it's full of micro cracks. I don't think high bond strength or a high quality bond really does any good as the shrinkage forces in a wall are much stronger than the mortar bond. I believe it's just that engineers are used to seeing tensile and compressive strengths as being the most important, so they spec things based on those.
Also, in modern building, there is a lot of moisture migration from the inside out that is not necessarily dealt with very well. In a rainscreen design (which is similar to a cavity wall system), airflow from the bottom up carries moist air from the inside out of the wall assembly. In the case of brick veneer, air could flow in the weeps, become heated by the building, flow upward, and exit at the soffit.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:59 PM   #14
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Re: Weep Holes


This is an old post, but I will weigh in with my stance. Note that I speak from a practical standpoint, backed up by solid theory and on-site inspections, with a liberal dose of courtroom proceedings.

First, any structure composed of masonry (brick, block or stucco) is going to absorb moisture. This is not open to debate, it is simply a fact.

Given the fact above, there are several ways to deal with the issue. The oldest way is to make the wall thick enough that over the seasonal cycle, the water penetration will not reach the interior walls. This is what was done up until the 1920s (on a widespread basis, not counting local innovations). It was not always done well, hence the stereotype of castle walls as being cold and clammy.

Once the concept of masonry as a skin or veneer was able to be applied, through reinforced concrete or steel framing, another problem cropped up:

Moisture penetration through the veneer, and hence into the interior.

The solution, as simple as it sounds, is to create a space behind the veneer through which mositure penetration can run down the interior face of the exterir wythe of the wall and exit via weepholes.

Various methods have been used to provide a clear path for this moisture to leave the wall, and currently the preferred method is with mortar web or something similar. Plain old good craftsmanship and a foot of gravel work just fine and cost a lot less.

The fact that a house can be built (with good eaves, tight joints, and a brick ledge) without weepholes does not mean they are not needed. Weeps should ALWAYS be included on any veneer system, including stucco. Maybe they won't be needed, but if they are and are not installed, the results can be expensive.

Weeps are cheap and easy (even ones that bugs and mice can not penetrate), and it is a matter of good craftsmanship not to fill the cavity with mud.

edit-Artisanstone, don't get me started on mortar specifications.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:04 PM   #15
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Re: Weep Holes


Unless you are using mortarnet or a similar product, good ol' cloths line. is the best. Leave a couple inches inside the wall to pick up the moisture after all the excess mortar falls off the brick.
I'm sure the commercial guys will chime in but there are specs when brick veneering a cmu wall.
Including damp-proofing the cmu and running anchoring systems so that any water getting through the brick does not run back through the structural wall.
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:08 PM   #16
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Re: Weep Holes


Tscarborough, please fill us in on mortar specs pros and cons. I'm ready to learn any and every day.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:39 AM   #17
 
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Re: Weep Holes


First Off Its Not Water Getting Through The Brick , When You Build A Brick Wall In Front Of Another Wall You Have A Void In Between Them ,
Like A Pipe That Sweats If It Is Hot On The Out Side Of The Brick Wall And Cool On The Inside
This Creates A Sweat Between The Walls , ? Where Does That Water Go? Out The Weepholes If Any
If Not Than Of Course This Creates A Problem , Not At First But Down The Road, I Always Ask The
Contractor Im Working For If They Want Them Or Not When I Brick A House , I Dont Care If It Dont Even Call For It On The Print I Still Ask , Then I Get It In Wrighting To Cober My Butt, You Have To Cover Your Butt At Every Cost.

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