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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got back from vacation and now it is time to paint the house... Now I normally would post this at the DIY forum, but this isnt "how do I paint" but more of an "is this normal" querry.

As I was prepping today I found somehtign that struck me as odd.
Perhaps you could help me out and tell me if I am off my nut or not.

I have some brick that goes up the wall in front and stops just before the roof (4 inches). On top of one of these brick 'columns' was a birds nest... The birds were gone and I pulled it out but noted that some of it stuck. I reached my hand up and was going to brush the rest off and my fingers slipped down into a 'cup' in the top of the brick... I could not see where the 'hole' ended but it was longer than my fingers so it may go up into the crawlspace in the 'attic' - or.... it might end before that cant tell.

Anyhow I found another similar thing on another 'column' where the bricks meet the eaves. On others the top was flat.

Now my first inclination is to get up there and seal it up with cement or stucco or somesuch, if not that maybe 1/4 inch wire mesh. HOWEVER beforee I do so I wanted to make sure that I was nto gonna corrupt some 'design feature'.

Bottom line, is there any legitimate reason why there should be this sort of hole in the top of the bricks?

\ = Roof - plywood sheathing
* = Wood
# = brick
. = air


..................
..................
\.................< ----- roof
*.\ .............< ----- house structure, air, roof
*...\.............<----- house structure, air, roof
*.....\...........<---- house structure, air, roof
*..#...\.........<---- wood, air, thin section brick (note hole)
*..#..............<--- wood, air, thin section brick (note hole)
*##..............<--- house structue then (assumed) solid brick
*##...............<--- house structuethen (assumed) solid brick
*##...............<--- house structue then (assumed) solid brick

Again I assume there is wood beyond the hole in the cutout shot above but it MAY extend into the crawlspace in the attic.

I hope this makes some sense. You can not see the hole from the pic below the depiction is a side cutaway view the photo below is a frontal shot of the area in question.

Thanks for any insight... it is appreciated.

Charles
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hahhahaaha yea that damned arrow wont come off no matter what I do,..... I have tried power washing, TSP, napalm, and mommy-spit but nothing works!

Seriously however I'm not worried bout the UNSEENness of the (deep and wide) hole, but rather that it might admit rodents or wasps or some other unwanted room mates. If however it is some sort of ventilation or drainage thing that I have not the experience to know about then sealing it up might cause me some serious feces.

Thats why the inane question :)

Back to scrubbing that arrow....
 

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Are we possibly talking about the soffit? This is pretty easily replaced.
 

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If your talking between the frame and the brick, I wouldn't fill it, wood moves a lot more than brick in changing temps, might get some cracking.

Bob
 

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You're getting close to 'move in time for critters' up there. How about some better pics of the situation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are right tetor, my descriptive ability is lacking..... I will try to get some pics. Will be educational for me too as I can not SEE any of what I am describing because I can not get my head up there.... however I might be able to get the digital cam weged into a position to see whath the heck I am talking about.. at least on the surface. I wont be able to get it into the hole.... The hole is about fist sized. Its almost like they hollowed out the middle of the brick and broke off the back to make a roughly u shaped brick.

As to it being soffit venting I kinda doubt it. The hole is about rat size and I felt no screen nor did I hear any metal or plasticy sounds as my gloved probed the hole.

I'll try for better picts tomorrow.

Bob - good point and one I had not considered... Maybe wire mesh?
 

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Inside of the hole may be relevent IF there is significant damage. You may want to consider, for the moment, repairing any external damage.
 

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When I was a chimneysweep many moons ago we used small mirrors to get a look into places we couldn't directly see. If you're careful you can shine a flashlight into the mirror as you're looking. Perhaps this will help. Maybe they just used up some broken brick. Can't imagine stuffing it full of steel wool or chicken wire could hurt anything.
Good joke, Bob. LOL.
 

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It is possible its just brick being used up and since its at the top it wouldnt need to be as wide since it wouldnt be holding any weight. I dont know why there would be a hole in it. I have never heard of that. When I lay out my walls I always leave about 1/4" and use a grout bag and see the top between the soffit and top course of brick. Keeps the bugs out. I would like to see some more pics as well if ya could.
 

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:wallbash: Okay.....a little bit of understanding how a brick veneer wall works is the first part of the answer to this mystery.....

First- Brick is what is called a drainage wall system, meaning that water is meant to absorb through the brick itelf and run down to the "weep holes" That is why there is a flashing installed at the foundation level. If you have ever poured water on brick, you know that it absorbs. This is why the mortar is able to bond to the brick. You want to have at least a 1/2" gap between the actual wall of the house and the back of the brick. This will keep water that absorbs thru from reaching the wood of the house (house wrap like TYVEK is a moisture barrier but will not stop a pooling water from coming thru).
Now, if you have ANYTHING (bricks or excess mortar) making a connection from the back of the bricks to the framing/moisture barrier you are simply giving the water a way to make contact with the home. :hammer: NOTHING should be in this cavity. I don't see a problem with sealing the top, but filling the cavity with something is the worst possible thing you can do.
Our masonry company leaves a 1" gap between the wall and bricks when possible just to keep sure we arent creating a bridge between the two surfaces. If your home is wrapped in Thermo-Ply, and the masonry is making contact anywhere, mold will grow like crazy and the Thermo-Ply will rot out, leaving bare insulation exposed, and then water gets into the sheetrock, etc...
The level of knowledge behind you mason is extremely important. This gentleman's home probably has significant water damage in the interior of the wall because the mason did not know not to throw things behind the wall. :thumbdown

If you are really that concerned about bugs getting in there, I would consider bring the soffit down a little and applying a caulk, but keep in mind creepy-crawlys can still get in thru the weep holes. I would say forget about it, because it isn't hurting anything. In reality, I would be more concerned over the moisture damage to the wall that a lizard getting in.

Hope this was hepful and not too much of a lesson.....

Adrienne
 

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FireballBrick said:
:wallbash: Okay.....a little bit of understanding how a brick veneer wall works is the first part of the answer to this mystery.....


Now, if you have ANYTHING (bricks or excess mortar) making a connection from the back of the bricks to the framing/moisture barrier you are simply giving the water a way to make contact with the home. :hammer: NOTHING should be in this cavity. I don't see a problem with sealing the top, but filling the cavity with something is the worst possible thing you can do.
Adrienne
So what about wall ties????, And if they are used, how do you keep the mud dripples from building up on them and bridging the gap???
Just a curious old mason,
JVC
 

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John...
The solution we came up with for the wallties was to bend them over far enough that they were on a downward slant away from the interior wall. As far as mortar droppings go, we gave found several products that address this issue. We really like one in particular, check it out at ww. mortarnet. com . We have found that homeowners typically will pay a little more to be assured against water damage. Hope this helps,
Adrienne
 
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