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  1. #1
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    Default mortar not clear from weep joints

    Dont you think the open joints would do a better job of draining moisture if the mortar was properly cleared? I could see the flashing membrane between the brick courses but the mortar was clogging almost every opening. You wouldn't be able to see it unless you get up there and look in with a flashlight.

    BTW, I know it was answered in here before, but what year did weeps for drainage in brick veneer become code in IRC?

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    In answer to your first question - yes. However, considering that the chances of finding a truly proper installation is about nil, I'd feel blessed with that one and let it go. That first photo is a dandy!

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Has anyone here actually seen moisture draining from a weep hole?

    I think weeps are much better at letting air in than letting water out. imho

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Below is my report lingo.
    The pictured looks like a 1960's style weep because they simply left the joints open back then.
    I recommend a pest screen on the big ones and yes back then it was never done all that well because it was not standard practice to use weeps.

    Interesting is many have no problems as a result.

    Regardless CYA is the rule.


    In regards to brick veneer......
    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.

    Flashing, in turn, is required under the first course of masonry at ground level, above windows and doors, below window sills, and at any lintels and shelf angles

    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.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Has anyone here actually seen moisture draining from a weep hole?
    Cotton ropes are more the norm around here.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Cotton ropes are more the norm around here.
    On newer stuff yes,though you are in the burbs.(newer construction dominated)
    When I hit certain areas with split level homes from the sixties and older apartment buildings from that era you will not see ropes.

    My zone is very large on travel with about a 50 mile radius in the Chicago area.

    The key slot openings of course never have ropes .


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Has anyone here actually seen moisture draining from a weep hole?
    Yes.

    I think weeps are much better at letting air in than letting water out. imho
    I agree ... IF they holes are fully open and do not have mortar piled up behind them (which is highly unlikely ).

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes.



    I agree ... IF they holes are fully open and do not have mortar piled up behind them (which is highly unlikely ).
    Jerry do you have any opinion as to why these older brick structures often have no issues despite lack of weeps.
    I am referring only to Brick Veneer .


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Cotton ropes are more the norm around here.
    Wow. Big ugly flashing hanging down and ropes hanging out the wall is the norm up there?

    Also John the *brick ledge is at the least a course of brick below the floor level so even if a lot of water got in there it would never back all the way up to the floor level unless of course there was a flood then you can kiss it all good by anyway


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Wow. Big ugly flashing hanging down and ropes hanging out the wall is the norm up there?

    That is what the dumber Masons think just before they cut the wicks and grout them over.
    Those ropes are there to keep the mortar snot from clogging the opening.
    I also look for a moisture barrier to be sticking out underneath that though there is no guarantee they ran it up 6 inches behind the brick like they are supposed to.

    Should see close to half inch sticking out not that do very often.

    Here in Chicago we have lots of extremes in weather and high humidity most of the year though winter is dryer.When the water gets trapped it causes all sorts of cracking and spalling.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Jerry do you have any opinion as to why these older brick structures often have no issues despite lack of weeps.
    I am referring only to Brick Veneer .
    Bob,

    First a question: How do you know those older brick veneer structure "have no issues"?

    Have you taken the brick veneer down to see?

    Oh, you mean 'no apparent issues' ... newer structures with brick veneer also have not apparent issues either (in most cases) ... and until someone tries to "drill" weep hole in when there were no weep holes!

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Should see close to half inch sticking out not that do very often.
    The only requirement is that the flashing extend to the surface, not stick out a 1/2 inch.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob,

    First a question: How do you know those older brick veneer structure "have no issues"?

    Have you taken the brick veneer down to see?

    Oh, you mean 'no apparent issues' ... newer structures with brick veneer also have not apparent issues either (in most cases) ... and until someone tries to "drill" weep hole in when there were no weep holes!
    Jerry we have plenty of those buildings here in Chicago and many have no issues.

    Often times what we inspect for in way of issues are not effecting older structures.

    Do I still call it out in the report. Does a Inspection report ever carry disclaimers....same answer..


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The only requirement is that the flashing extend to the surface, not stick out a 1/2 inch.
    I said about 1/2 inch without looking it up while taking calls and Beta testing the new 3.0 Beta version of HIP for Dominic.
    I was actually taught 3/8th of an inch however will give you that one,though one should see it sticking out and visible.

    Would be dumb to cover it up with mortar.

    Here are a few excerpts with one from the Brick industry association.

    Install base flashing above grade extending
    to face of brick and lap up and under
    exterior air/moisture barrier.


    Through-Wall Flashing
    Foundations and lintels alone cannot redirect the water in a consistent manner; therefore, flashing must be installed to channel moisture out, and in doing so, to protect the interior (see Figure 1). Model building codes require flashing at the foundation, above window and door heads, at window sills, and where the roof of a one-story wing meets a two-story brick veneer wall, even at areas where a wall comes up against a lower roof. Flashing should be installed wherever the air space is closed off.
    The flashing should extend from the outside face of the veneer, through the thickness of the brick veneer, across the air space to the backing, and then up behind the water-resistant barrier or attached over the water-resistant barrier with a termination bar. Where more than one piece of flashing is required, flashing pieces should be overlapped and sealed with a compatible mastic.
    Weeps should be placed directly above the flashing to help water drain from the wall. These weeps are often open head joints, but they can be vents as well. Space weeps approximately every third brick, or 24 inches o.c. Poking a screwdriver into the wet mortar during construction or drilling afterwards is not a proper way to create a weep.

    Hope this helps someone.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Jerry we have plenty of those buildings here in Chicago and many have no issues.
    Would you expand on how you find and determine that they have no issues behind the brick veneer?

    Do I still call it out in the report. Does a Inspection report ever carry disclaimers....same answer..
    Excellent choice!

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Would be dumb to cover it up with mortar.
    Yep, but you would not believe how many dumb contractors do this during new construction ... heaven forbid anyone see a flashing sticking out at the top of the lintel, brick below, etc.

    Yes, that is what they actually say "No one wants to see the flashing along the edge of the lintel", to which I reply "Quite incorrect as *I*, for one, *NEED* to see the edge of the flashing, so you *NEED* to go back in there before you lay any more brick up and install a new flashing over that flashing."

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yep, but you would not believe how many dumb contractors do this during new construction ... heaven forbid anyone see a flashing sticking out at the top of the lintel, brick below, etc.

    Yes, that is what they actually say "No one wants to see the flashing along the edge of the lintel", to which I reply "Quite incorrect as *I*, for one, *NEED* to see the edge of the flashing, so you *NEED* to go back in there before you lay any more brick up and install a new flashing over that flashing."
    I assume those same guys would never do it like I see at the better sites.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Jerry do you have any opinion as to why these older brick structures often have no issues despite lack of weeps.
    I am referring only to Brick Veneer .
    My understanding is that the old lime mortar drained much better than the new stuff.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    My understanding is that the old lime mortar drained much better than the new stuff.
    That was like 100 years ago.
    I was talking early sixties but yes the old lime stuff was self healing more putty like and filled in gaps.

    They cause issues adding the newer Portland cement mix in the mortar as it traps the moisture and the brick retains water longer which in turn goes through the freeze thaw cycle causing cracking and spalling.
    The mortar is not flexible and cracks also is how I was told.

    Hope that makes sense.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Jerry do you have any opinion as to why these older brick structures often have no issues despite lack of weeps.
    I am referring only to Brick Veneer .

    Maybe the older wood framed windows don't expand and contract in temp changes like the newer vinyl ones do. That expansion and contraction will break the caulk lines and let water get behind the veneer. Older wood window designs (if well installed) do a better job of keeping water out in the first place.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Wow. Big ugly flashing hanging down and ropes hanging out the wall is the norm up there?

    Also John the *brick ledge is at the least a course of brick below the floor level so even if a lot of water got in there it would never back all the way up to the floor level unless of course there was a flood then you can kiss it all good by anyway

    Ted, the weeps in question are higher on the wall above the garage door.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Ted, the weeps in question are higher on the wall above the garage door.

    Now you have me

    I started to think of a reason they would have been way up there, then another reason and another reason and then dropped it all together. The weep holes should be in the soldier course above the garage door. Up there in no where land with no brick ledge at that point (but, I could only blow the picture up with it getting more blurry.

    Please splain me why they are there at all.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Now you have me

    I started to think of a reason they would have been way up there, then another reason and another reason and then dropped it all together. The weep holes should be in the soldier course above the garage door. Up there in no where land with no brick ledge at that point (but, I could only blow the picture up with it getting more blurry.

    Please splain me why they are there at all.
    They are there to manage moisture with regard to transition between vinyl siding and brick veneer as well as the requirement to have weeps at the window sills.

    There were also weep holes (not open joints) at the garage door lintel. I don't have a picture of them but they were similar to the one pictured below which was at the front door lintel.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    They are there to manage moisture with regard to transition between vinyl siding and brick veneer as well as the requirement to have weeps at the window sills.

    There were also weep holes (not open joints) at the garage door lintel. I don't have a picture of them but they were similar to the one pictured below which was at the front door lintel.

    I guess but I don't see those upper weeps from doing anything besides adding possible air flow. They are certainly not at the sills. And they certainly are not adding any draining anywhere unless there is flashing let into the back of the brick so the water does not continue to the lintel below and then the house wrap or what ever the are using for a drainage plain laps over the flashing that is let into the back of the bricks. Actually I see them doing nothing but maybe somewhat appease a building inspector because I seriously doubt there are any flashing or drainage plain details doing anything I mentioned. Even if there is flashing let into the back of the mortar joints at that area I just don't see them stopping the water flow (if there were ever to be any) part way down the wall causing an intentional dam that the water has to find its way out those holes.

    Who knows. I never saw the plans. Just kind of, well, goofy to have them there.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Ted, look closely at the first pic in post #1. You can see the flashing membrane between the courses at the bottom of the open joint.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    That was like 100 years ago.
    I was talking early sixties but yes the old lime stuff was self healing more putty like and filled in gaps.

    They cause issues adding the newer Portland cement mix in the mortar as it traps the moisture and the brick retains water longer which in turn goes through the freeze thaw cycle causing cracking and spalling.
    The mortar is not flexible and cracks also is how I was told.

    Hope that makes sense.
    What all to frequently happens is that the builder/architect/mason uses the strongest mortar they can find, thinking that is a good thing, but just the opposite is true - they should be using the weakest mortar they can use.

    Strong mortar = week bond
    Weak mortar = strong bond

    Strong mortar = bricks cracking instead of mortar cracking
    Weak mortar = mortar cracking instead of bricks cracking

    Stron mortar = replacing bricks, which mean digging out that strong mortar, which means cracking more bricks
    Weak mortar = digging out that weak mortar and repointing ... like is done all the time on older structures

    You want to replace the mortar, not the brick.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You want to replace the mortar, not the brick.
    Elegant explanation, Mr. Peck.
    I'll file it next to "Structural failure is inconvenient". Another quote from another wise man.

    Last edited by bruce audretsch; 09-22-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Cotton ropes are more the norm around here.
    In new construction, I normally see the cotton ropes as well. Anything more than 5~10 years old, I almost never see weep holes in masonry. I guess it was just a PA thing (no statewide codes until 2004).


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    I am going to bet that almost all weep holes are plugged up be hind the brick at the level of the flashing.
    Why,the brick layer removes excess mortar from the front of the brick,but no care is used at the rear,it just falls to down to the flashing,plugging up the weep hole.
    I,ll bet that most holes are plugged with excess masonary,which we can not see,during a normal exterior inspection


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Doe's anyone have a good reason as to why there would be a brick ledge under the windows?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Doe's anyone have a good reason as to why there would be a brick ledge under the windows?
    Yes it is there to make sure water gets in.


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Yes it is there to make sure water gets in.
    Not talking about the brick rowlock or sill, but reason to have a support for the brick at that position so high on the wall.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Not talking about the brick rowlock or sill, but reason to have a support for the brick at that position so high on the wall.
    Perhaps to allow for moisture barrier and weeps.
    All ledges should have a moisture barrier underneath same as a concrete coping would at a brick parapet..


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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Doe's anyone have a good reason as to why there would be a brick ledge under the windows?
    Are you talking about through wall flashings under the windows where shown?

    A brick ledge is what supports the brick veneer from the bottom.

    There needs to be a through wall flashing at the bottom of the wall and above and below each opening through the brick veneer.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Are you talking about through wall flashings under the windows where shown?

    A brick ledge is what supports the brick veneer from the bottom.

    There needs to be a through wall flashing at the bottom of the wall and above and below each opening through the brick veneer.
    I am talking about the brick ledge. The weeps shown are not above the the brick veneer, they are below the soldger row. If there is no shelf for water to gather on, why and how do you put in through wall flashing?

    Last edited by Vern Heiler; 09-27-2011 at 05:23 AM. Reason: location of weeps
    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I am talking about the brick ledge. The weeps shown are not above the the brick veneer, they are below the soldger row. If there is no shelf for water to gather on, why and how do you put in through wall flashing?
    Vern,

    Go here: http://www.gobrick.com/portals/25/do...notes/tn28.pdf

    Scroll down to Fig 5, Sill, note the arrow which says "Flashing" and where it is pointing to.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Vern,

    Go here: http://www.gobrick.com/portals/25/do...notes/tn28.pdf

    Scroll down to Fig 5, Sill, note the arrow which says "Flashing" and where it is pointing to.
    Jerry, go to post #21. Does a pilaster and foundation wall reach to the arrows in the picture?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Jerry, go to post #21. Does a pilaster and foundation wall reach to the arrows in the picture?
    Vern,

    You've lost me (which is not difficult to do) as to what a pilaster and foundation wall has to do with *either* Fig 5 *or* the photo in post #21???

    Please explain.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Vern,

    You've lost me (which is not difficult to do) as to what a pilaster and foundation wall has to do with *either* Fig 5 *or* the photo in post #21???

    Please explain.
    fig. 5 shows a crawlspace with a pilaster and foundation wall. On top of the pilaster and foundation wall is the flashing with the brick on top of the flashing.

    Post #21 shows a garage with brickwork above the garage door. At the top of the brick work is a soldier row, with a rowlock on top of that. The weep holes, pointed out with red arrows, is beneath the soldier row.

    Why are there weeps where there is no need for a brick support?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    fig. 5 shows a crawlspace with a pilaster and foundation wall.
    Vern,

    Fig. 5 has nothing to do with a foundation wall or a pilaster, Fig. 5 is a section through part of a wall with the section ending 2-1/2 bricks down from the sill.

    Not sure where you are getting the pilaster from either, that is the wall on the far side of the opening.

    If you were to take the photo in post #21, take a section through one of those windows, then hash off the section at the 2-1/2 brick down point (which simply shows the section at the opening and the sill of the opening, and leaving just enough wall to see what continues down from there, and which could continue down 1 foot to 40 feet - the distance below the opening does not matter), that section is showing that there is a through wall flashing at the point indicated by the arrow and the flashing line drawn in between the brick veneer and the structural wall.

    Post #21 shows a garage with brickwork above the garage door.
    No, that photo shows a garage door opening, with anchored brick veneer above, and openings (windows) in that brick veneer, and if you were to draw a section as I described above, you would draw what is shown in Fig. 5.

    The difference is that Fig. 5 shows the brick continuing up on the sides of the opening, the photo in post #21 shows the brick ending below the opening, nonetheless, though, Fig. 5 is showing that there needs to be a flashing at the top of the air space and that is why the weep holes are there in the photo in post #21 - you do not need a lintel for a through the wall flashing.

    I realize I am complicating a simple item, but that is because I did not find a section showing exactly what is shown in the photo in post #21, but I hope you can understand what I was trying to relate.

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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Vern,

    Read through here, its illustrations may also be of help (some are the same or quite similar to the illustrations in the other technical note):
    - http://www.gobrick.com/portals/25/do...notes/tn36.pdf
    - (and to a lesser degree, this may help) http://www.gobrick.com/portals/25/do...otes/tn36a.pdf

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    My bad. I was at page 5. But the fig 5 shows the weeps below the rowlock, not further down below the soldier row. The thing is, I have never seen weeps below a sill, lucky to see them above. I sure don't see there justification where there is very little brick to wick though and no place for water to gather and be drained in the first place.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I sure don't see there justification where there is very little brick to wick though and no place for water to gather and be drained in the first place.
    That's because you are thinking of the wrong reason the flashing is there.

    That flashing below the opening/at the top of the wall where it changes to (in this case) HardiePlank is to keep water out of the air space (so the water does not pour into the air space from the top).

    From that flashing down, the water which penetrates through the brick/mortar will weep down the inside of the brick veneer and weep out at the next flashing down.

    I'm sure you can understand how not 'capping the top' (so to speak) with that flashing would make the wall have to handle a lot more water - *a lot more* - at the weep holes, and down to the brick ties, which may lead to the water bridging the air space, and even running down the structural wall itself from the top down. None of those conditions would be good for the wood framing behind the house wrap.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  44. #44
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    I see the light! I have not only downloaded the links you gave, but have saved them, as this is probably the only way I will ever see weeps below a sill. I now know that it is right if I ever do. Thanks

    Last edited by Vern Heiler; 09-27-2011 at 08:12 PM. Reason: remove old quotes
    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    Jumping in late on this,
    If they ran the through wall flashing up past the row lock and soldier detail thats a good thing. I would of look in the weep to check for the mebrane.

    As my one picture shows, you will find very poor flashing and/ or dry vents layed out at that dissimilar intersection. I will find they take store bought drip cap and use that at the brick or cast stone break a lot and the flashing never sits flat and water still capillarys at the seam if theres no sealant.

    The brick retro pics are from 2 weeks ago of a non conforming 4"inch block backer wall with some major issues we are repairing. The picture of the sill open shows we drop the bituthane pan/thru-wall flashing and weeps 1 course below the row lock or cast stone sill we used. The link Jerry set up is good as a basic start but you need to know your region and headaches associated with it. I will never not step my sill pan flashing down one course, its capillary like the problems you get with a slider even with a deck and not step down, too much room for error.

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    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

  46. #46
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    these photos are on a midrise retro fit of new through wall flashing, a total crime scene. The engineer specs 3 weeps in a staggard fashion thinking he is getting water out but on the Atlantic Ocean in another world...

    The repair contractor cant fit the mortar net in, because the 1" inch wide net pushes on the 1/2" air space so when they tuck in the mortar it falls behind the brick thus clogging the weeps, these voids fill up in new work or when the repair if things are not done correct.

    Jerry, i know what your saying about wanting to see the flashing through the brick, but many of these are not UV friendly. I keep them back and put a soft joint there. you see the one picture shows the moisture wicking back and because the SAF flashing adheres to the brick shelve, the salt air and vapor just starting to really corrode the steel.

    This building was so bad, they didnt even cut the control joint but routered it out on the face so it was fracturing the brick because it could not expand. When they cut the brick, the saw hit the existing membrane and so the brillant triple weep system was like a water fall into the peoples units, poor corner laps, joint laps... the list goes on.

    for weeps I have seen plastic straws, rope, raked out like the first picture, and the open large weep show and the wafer type which is the best I think, but its up the to designer.


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    Joseph Ehrhardt
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  47. #47
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    Default Re: mortar not clear from weep joints

    The one picture never attached of the moisture locked in thru wall flashing

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    Joseph Ehrhardt
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