View Full Version : Effloresence on brick veneer

Erby Crofutt
04-16-2007, 07:17 PM
I'd like your thoughts on why this efflorescence is occurring.

New home with no weepholes over and under the windows.

I've already got some info from the Brick Industry Associaton but wanted to run it past others.

Scott Patterson
04-16-2007, 07:44 PM
My first thought is that the windows are allowing water to seep in the wall. Any moisture on the interior drywall?

Any idea of what type of vapor barrier was used?

Look under the front porch, it has some efflorescence as well. Maybe the wrong type of mortar mix.

Eric Barker
04-16-2007, 07:46 PM
With new construction efflorescence is quite common. But after the first year its occurrence should stop - if water is not getting in the brick. Certainly the windows are suspect but I also see efflorescence under the front porch. Was/is there a way to get to the framing in the basement under the windows to see if there is elevated moisture?

I often find poorly pitched sills at windows, lack of caulking and sometimes just lousy windows.

Jim Luttrall
04-16-2007, 08:36 PM
New brick, dark color and it will be more pronounced when it gets wet.
In short, It happens.

wayne soper
04-17-2007, 06:01 AM
Erby, I would be suspicious about how they flashed under the brick sill on those windows. Hard to tell at this stage without cutting so the comment would be that if the efflo continues to occur there may be a flashing problem.
It is a slim chance that a bad mix was made just under three window areas and the porch, and the porch is covered with concrete so water draining off the top would be carrying minerals with it also.
A thermography inspection after a rain storm would give some info also.

Richard Rushing
04-17-2007, 10:01 AM
I agree with Wayne and Scott-- I would be suspicious of the window flashings.

By the way... that middle dormer would make some kid an excellent skateboard ramp to land on the sidewalk!!:o


Jim Luttrall
04-17-2007, 12:17 PM
I agree that the flashing detail on the window might be a problem, but the moisture does not have to get behind the brick to cause the problem. Brick and mortar are very porous and will absorb water through the surface and then leave deposits as the water evaporates.
Any window with or without flashing will increase the amount of water on the brick below since the glass does not absorb any water but just sheds the water it receives to the brick below.

Rick Hurst
04-17-2007, 12:43 PM
The flashing would be suspect for sure. But if you look at the brick above the top windows toward the rake of the roof, the effloursence is present there also and in other various areas.

I'm leaning maybe towards a bad batch of mortar.

David Banks
04-17-2007, 01:53 PM
And under the front porch.

Jim Luttrall
04-17-2007, 03:02 PM
Certain colors of brick are subject to efflorescence. Mortar would not bleed into the brick in my experience. It is just the salts and minerals being washed out of the brick due to moisture.

Mike Schulz
04-17-2007, 03:20 PM
In our area the only place the windows have to be flashed is above them. There not required at the row lock/ soldier course under them. BIA recommends it but it's not enforced here. Even the row lock under the window only has to be pitched 4 degrees. Only one builder I know installs them at 15 degrees. I bet the brick row under the windows are about level which will collect and absorb water and cause the efflorescence.

So it may be a combination of above and bad mortar mix.

Jerry Peck
04-17-2007, 09:15 PM
Add me to those who suspect the through-wall flashing below the window was either not installed, or not installed "properly".

Erby Crofutt
04-18-2007, 04:42 AM
Thank y'all for your thoughts & sharing. Though I didn't have time, until now, to get back on here and review them, I do appreciate the sharing.

Report Comment:
(1) Weep holes are usually installed over and under doors and windows along with the base of the walls to allow water to get out of the wall. Proper weep holes are not present in the brick veneer. Flashing is supposed to be installed behind the brick to direct water to the weep holes. I can't tell if flashing has been installed in the required areas behind the brick veneer.

Even though some local jurisdictions require it, I seldom see proper weep holes in brick veneer in recent construction in this area. For more information on brick systems on the internet see: http://www.bia.org/html/frmset_thnt.htm (http://www.bia.org/html/frmset_thnt.htm) Look at Technical Note #7 for weephole information.

Also see attachment "Weep Holes In Brick Veneer". Click the link on page three of the report.
http://www.homegauge.com/report/388500/i4.jpg http://www.homegauge.com/report/388500/i5.jpg

(2) Water does get behind brick veneer. It needs a way out so it doesn't sit in the wall rotting the structural wood until it evaporates.
Weep holes are openings in the brick mortar that provide drainage for water that has penetrated into the space between the brick and the wall sheathing. When installed, these are combined with flashing (a piece of sheet metal or other similar water resistant material) between the sheathing and bricks which lead the collected moisture out the weep holes.

There is no way to see into this space behind the brick without removing brick or opening the interior wall. Making a determination about moisture issues inside the wall is beyond the scope of this inspection.

The Brick Industry Association (the people who make the brick and design installation requirements for it) recommend "weep holes should be located above all doors and windows, below all window sills, and above the ground at the base of the wall."

Generally accepted nationwide building practices also call for proper weep holes in brick construction. However, local generally accepted building practices usually lag behind nationally accepted practices and may not require weep holes.
Walls may be retrofitted with weep holes but without flashing to direct the water to the weep holes, retrofitting may be useless.

You may also want to review the following resources about the need for flashing and weep holes in brick walls.
a. The Brick Industry Association web site at www.bia.org (http://www.bia.org/).
b. An article on The Journal of Light Construction web site www.jlconline.com (http://www.jlconline.com/).
The article is: Keeping water out of brick veneer, by Jerry Carrier. Great
explanations, great pictures. Costs $5 to download if you're not a member.
c. The Building Science Corporation web site at
www.buildingscience.com/resources/walls/solar_driven_moisture_brick.htm (http://www.buildingscience.com/resources/walls/solar_driven_moisture_brick.htm)
d. Construction books at your local library.

I recommend three courses of action:
1. Review the above resources to educate yourself about the need for brick
weep holes and flashing.
2. Consult the local building inspectors office for local requirements.
3. Contact some knowledgeable qualified brick or masonry contractors to
determine repair methods, estimate costs, and perform the necessary repairs.


Again, thanks for sharing.

Mike Schulz
04-18-2007, 05:02 PM
Don't forget this.

R703.7. See Section R703.8 for additional requirements.
R703.7.6 Weepholes. Weepholes shall be provided in the outside wythe of masonry walls at a maximum spacing of 33 inches (838 mm) on center. Weepholes shall not be less than 3/16 inch (4.8mm) in diameter.Weepholes shall be lo-cated immediately above the flashing.
R703.8 Flashing. Approved corrosion-resistive flashing shall be provided in the exterior wall envelope in such a manner as to prevent entry of water into the wall cavity or penetration of water to the building structural framing components. The flashing shall extend to the surface of the exterior wall finish and shall be installed to prevent water from reentering the ex-
terior wall envelope. Approved corrosion-resistant flashings shall be installed at all of the following locations:
1. At top of all exterior window and door openings in such
a manner as to be leakproof, except that self-flashing
5. Where exterior porches, decks or stairs attach to a wall
or floor assembly of wood-frame construction.
6. At wall and roof intersections.
7. At built-in gutters.

Erby Crofutt
04-18-2007, 06:02 PM

Don't forget this


from these:

Statutes and Regulations (http://www.ohbc.ky.gov/licensing/homeinspection/StatutesRegulations.htm)

So simple to get around, but it's there nonetheless.

Mike Schulz
04-19-2007, 03:06 AM
That is unbelievable :eek:

I guess they are always correct and should not be second guessed.

Instead of saying "code" say "standards" in the report.

But I know I did not need to tell you that. By the way. That was a real good write up. I'm impressed.

I really never under stood this one though:
1. At top of all exterior window and door openings in such
a manner as to be leakproof, except that self-flashing