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Thread: No Weeps Holes

  1. #1
    Erol Kartal's Avatar
    Erol Kartal Guest

    Exclamation No Weeps Holes

    I drove past a townhome I'll be expecting tomorrow and of course had to get out and take a look. 18 years old, brick veneer with aluminum siding. No basement *and* not a weep hole in sight. Is this a builder screw up or am I missing something here. I've yet to inspect a townhome that didn't have weep holes until now.

    Thanks

    Erol Kartal

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  2. #2
    Travis Grubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Erol:

    I frequently find brick veneer homes without weep holes. This includes new and older homes. While it is a code violation (since 1996 in my area), I do not recommend that they be added since it is not known if base flashing has been installed behind the brick veneer. Without the base flashing, one is just installing holes in the brick veneer.

    Travis


  3. #3
    Erol Kartal's Avatar
    Erol Kartal Guest

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Thanks Travis.

    Without weep hole drainage isn't it almost a guaranteed future moisture issue that will become evident in the interior?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Erol Kartal View Post
    Thanks Travis.

    Without weep hole drainage isn't it almost a guaranteed future moisture issue that will become evident in the interior?
    Well if the absence of weeps has not caused any problems in 18 years, I would not even worry about it. If you want to say something I would note that they are not present, and that they can not be added post construction without the possibility of causing damage to the home.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Travis Grubbs's Avatar
    Travis Grubbs Guest

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Without weep hole drainage isn't it almost a guaranteed future moisture issue that will become evident in the interior?

    No. I normally report their absence because they are required by the IRC, and in the unlikely event that a moisture problem occurs.

    I usually report the following when I find that weep holes are absent from brick veneer siding: "No weep holes were observed in the brick exterior (code issue). Weep holes are designed to allow incidental water to drain to the exterior. I do not suggest that they be installed since it is not known if base flashing has been installed behind the brick siding. Refrain from saturating the brick exterior with sprinkler heads, roof water splash back, etc."

    Note that I mentioned exposing the brick exterior to roof water splash back and sprinkler heads. I frequently find that home owners water their house, as well as their yard.


  6. #6
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Ive seen some geniuses around Houston seal them off with silicone because they are scared that flood water will get in their homes. They even had one write up in a very local paper showing some guy doing it and explaining why it was such a great idea (?).

    One thing we know is lots of rain and lots of humidity. I suspect that problems will show up later.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    I wrote them up as not being installed, explained why that was *not a good thing*, explained why it was not easy to install them now after-the-fact and that it would take time an money to do so, and that weep holes *should be installed* now.

    Did they ever get done? Yeah.

    Allow me to re-phrase my question: Did they ever get done properly? Nope.

    I've seen them drill holes and proudly state "I added weep holes.", I would take out my bore scope and look into the weep holes and state "Yes, I can now see the plywood siding exposed in the weep hole, you drilled right through the waterproofing membrane ... now ... IT'S WORSE. NOW it needs to really be repaired."

    At which point my clients went (to themselves) 'Oh-oh, this is gonna cost some major bucks, and they sure are not going to be mine.', which would lead to a discussion about 'major bucks changing hands or the client walks'.

    Half the time the client walked as the seller did not want to undo what they just did.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  8. #8
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Would brick vents be better than nothing?


  9. #9
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Would brick vents be better than nothing?
    Weep holes are required by current and all verions of IRC and have been listed as required in all of the BIA Technical Notes since their inception. IRC requires only a 3/16" diamter hole and not the entire head joint removal, so retrofitting is possible if you have a handyman with a brain and a tape measure. The tape measure is not for measurring the IQ, but the depth to which one drills.

    Weep holes are also required above all lintel-supported openings, i.e. windows and doors, et al. My report comment reads in part:

    Weep Holes and a Clear Air Space
    Wind striking a masonry wall causes a positive pressure on the wetted brick surface. If one can equalize the pressure on either side of the masonry veneer, the force is substantially reduced, hence there is a reduction in the amount of water entering into the wall system.
    This “pressure equalization” is accomplished by using a combination of weep holes and having a clear air space directly behind the brick. This cavity needs to act as a chamber; therefore it must incorporate some form of air barrier and also be compartmentalized to obtain optimum pressure equalization. The air barrier can range from simply being the interior backup wall surface (though this can still be quite air permeable) to something achieving better performance using independent membranes adhered to the backup wall.
    The air space must be unobstructed. Effort must be made to keep the space clear of mortar when the brick is being laid. A mortar-filled space allows direct routes for water to enter into the backup wall and into the interior of the building, as well as impeding water flow out of the weep holes.
    The weep holes also provide a means of drainage for any water that does get past the brick veneer. These are located at the veneer supports, such as at shelf angles or at foundation walls.

    Aaron


  10. #10
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    so retrofitting is possible if you have a handyman with a brain and a tape measure.
    Not really.

    There is much more to it than just drilling holes a given depth.

    I sure hope you are not recommending that as a retrofit.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Weep holes are also required above all lintel-supported openings, i.e. windows and doors, et al. My report comment reads in part:
    From what I gather from the 2003 IRC which is what the state of OR currently uses, weep holes are not required around window openings when using self flashing windows. I take the self flashing window wording to mean any window with a nailing flange.

    I have been told that the wording has been stricken from the 2007 IRC, but have not bothered to check since I do not inspect to those standards.

    I have a question: if brick veneer is improperly installed without the use of flashing and weep holes (or if some of the mortar is contacting the wall sheathing/ housewrap), is it possible to inject mortar or grout into all air voids as a repair? Would the moisture in the grout/ mortar cause problems prior to drying? Any other problems with this application/ repair that anyone can think of?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    I have a question: if brick veneer is improperly installed without the use of flashing and weep holes (or if some of the mortar is contacting the wall sheathing/ housewrap), is it possible to inject mortar or grout into all air voids as a repair? Would the moisture in the grout/ mortar cause problems prior to drying? Any other problems with this application/ repair that anyone can think of?
    Here's what comes to mind:

    1) That'd be a lot of grout.

    2) Which would be a lot of weight for:
    - a) the brick veneer foundation
    - b) the brick ties

    3) Water will still go through the brick and mortar, and the grout will hold it, for a long, long time.

    4) Brick veneer is a drainage system, it is acknowledged that water will go through it.

    5) A solid grouted wall is like a storage and dry out system, which is intended to get wet, store the moisture, and dry out.

    6) Storing all that moisture next to the weather resisting barrier cannot be 'a good thing'.

    7) Storing all that moisture around the galvanized brick ties cannot be a good thing either, they will rust out sooner, and now you have all that weight to deal with.

    8) ...

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

  13. #13

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore
    I have a question: if brick veneer is improperly installed without the use of flashing and weep holes (or if some of the mortar is contacting the wall sheathing/ housewrap), is it possible to inject mortar or grout into all air voids as a repair? Would the moisture in the grout/ mortar cause problems prior to drying? Any other problems with this application/ repair that anyone can think of?

    Here's what comes to mind:

    1) That'd be a lot of grout.

    2) Which would be a lot of weight for:
    - a) the brick veneer foundation
    - b) the brick ties

    3) Water will still go through the brick and mortar, and the grout will hold it, for a long, long time.

    4) Brick veneer is a drainage system, it is acknowledged that water will go through it.

    5) A solid grouted wall is like a storage and dry out system, which is intended to get wet, store the moisture, and dry out.

    6) Storing all that moisture next to the weather resisting barrier cannot be 'a good thing'.

    7) Storing all that moisture around the galvanized brick ties cannot be a good thing either, they will rust out sooner, and now you have all that weight to deal with.
    Although it may not be ideal, would filling the walls with grout or mortar then comply with 2003 IRC 703.7.4.3 which is the alternative method prescribed instead of using the air space?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Although it may not be ideal, would filling the walls with grout or mortar then comply with 2003 IRC 703.7.4.3 which is the alternative method prescribed instead of using the air space?

    Good question, however, the answer partially lies in that section.

    R703.7.4.3 Mortar or grout fill.
    As an alternate to the air space required by Section R703.7.4.2, mortar or grout shall be permitted to fill the air space. When the 1-inch (25.4 mm) space is filled with mortar, a weather-resistant membrane or building paper is required over studs or sheathing. When filling the air space, it is permitted to replace the sheathing and weather-resistant membrane or asphalt-saturated felt paper with a wire mesh and approved paper or an approved paper-backed reinforcement attached directly to the studs.

    Now, to catch what I am referring to, we must go back to R703.7.4.3 Air space.
    R703.7.4.2 Air space.
    The veneer shall be separated from the sheathing by an air space of a minimum of 1 inch (25.4 mm) but not more than 4.5 inches (114 mm). The weather-resistant membrane or asphalt-saturated felt required by Section R703.2 is not required over water-repellent sheathing materials.

    I've underlined the sections which could cause a conflict.

    Furthermore, when reading R703.7.4.3, the second sentence tells you one thing is *required*, then the third sentence says it isn't, that you can replace it with something else. So ... is it, or is it not, "required"?



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

  15. #15

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore
    Although it may not be ideal, would filling the walls with grout or mortar then comply with 2003 IRC 703.7.4.3 which is the alternative method prescribed instead of using the air space?


    Good question, however, the answer partially lies in that section.


    R703.7.4.3 Mortar or grout fill.
    As an alternate to the air space required by Section R703.7.4.2, mortar or grout shall be permitted to fill the air space. When the 1-inch (25.4 mm) space is filled with mortar, a weather-resistant membrane or building paper is required over studs or sheathing. When filling the air space, it is permitted to replace the sheathing and weather-resistant membrane or asphalt-saturated felt paper with a wire mesh and approved paper or an approved paper-backed reinforcement attached directly to the studs.

    Now, to catch what I am referring to, we must go back to R703.7.4.3 Air space.
    R703.7.4.2 Air space.
    The veneer shall be separated from the sheathing by an air space of a minimum of 1 inch (25.4 mm) but not more than 4.5 inches (114 mm). The weather-resistant membrane or asphalt-saturated felt required by Section R703.2 is not required over water-repellent sheathing materials.

    I've underlined the sections which could cause a conflict.

    Furthermore, when reading R703.7.4.3, the second sentence tells you one thing is *required*, then the third sentence says it isn't, that you can replace it with something else. So ... is it, or is it not, "required"?
    I can't say I have ever seen a home built in my area of OR that did not have a building paper/ weather resistive membrane installed. So my take on this is that it would be an allowed repair method that woud be less work that tearing out bricks, installing flashing, etc.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    So my take on this is that it would be an allowed repair method that woud be less work that tearing out bricks, installing flashing, etc.
    I think you are missing the part I underlined.

    The air space is 1" to 4-1/2".

    The grout space is 1".

    "Could be" not intended to be written that way, but, "could be" it was intended that way - 4-1/2" of grout is *a lot of grout* for those brick ties.

    Also, I suspect that was written for being grouted 'during the laying of the brick'.

    I say that because, if you have ever been around masons laying brick, *seldom* is the mortar struck off the inside properly, if at all. Any mortar hanging out the back side of the brick (into the *required* 1" air space) will clog up when someone tries to grout this.

    I observed this on a construction project when I pointed out that the brick to a specified height down to below grade had to be fully grouted, and, the masons began 'trying to' grout this space. I really doubt their grout did much as the only way to get the grout down past the mortar hanging into the air space was to have it almost as liquid as water. *IF* it ever cured, it had no strength, and I'm sure was not "fully grouted" as I'm also sure there were voids *EVERYWHERE*.

    This and those walls were only up to the base through the wall flashing, maybe 24" above grade.

    What you are talking about doing is attempting this on a full height wall ... all at once.

    I just do not think it will work like you think it will.

    So many bricks would have to be removed from the wall, not only horizontally around the walls, but vertically to allow for separate 'lifts' of grout, I really think it would be easier to remove a section of bricks, verify/install proper through the wall flashing, clean out all the mortar droppings, and then re-lay bricks back in that area. Repeat around the house wherever the brick veneer is.

    THAT will be *A LOT* of work - BUT *it can be done*.

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

  17. #17

    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    I just do not think it will work like you think it will.
    Thanks for playing along with me on this one Jerry.

    I don't necessarily think that it will work, I just know at some point someone will attempt this for a repair.

    I have not had to call out the missing flashing and weeps at windows as of yet, but next year I will be working from the 2007 IRC and will be writing up the improper applications I will likely see on most new construction jobs.

    The good news is that I do not have to specify how a repair is to be performed, I am just curious and was wondering if it would work. It sounds like it may be easier to retro- fit the flashing and weeps as a repair instead of filling the entire walls with grout.

    Thanks again,
    Brandon


  18. #18
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    From what I gather from the 2003 IRC which is what the state of OR currently uses, weep holes are not required around window openings when using self flashing windows. I take the self flashing window wording to mean any window with a nailing flange.

    I have been told that the wording has been stricken from the 2007 IRC, but have not bothered to check since I do not inspect to those standards.

    I have a question: if brick veneer is improperly installed without the use of flashing and weep holes (or if some of the mortar is contacting the wall sheathing/ housewrap), is it possible to inject mortar or grout into all air voids as a repair? Would the moisture in the grout/ mortar cause problems prior to drying? Any other problems with this application/ repair that anyone can think of?
    There is no such thing as a "self-flashing window" any more thatn there is a "self-laid egg". One should keep IRC, BIA, AAMA, ASTM, et al. standards in mind whenever addressing any issue. Any one of the standards alone is not sufficient. Alas, that is why there are referenced standards lists in all of these publications.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    There is no such thing as a "self-flashing window"
    To the contrary (I believe), someone here posted a link to a window which was described as "self-flashing".

    That means it met product approval as such, and thus was your "self-laid egg".

    Now, though, to what I think is the intent of what you said: Right, I doubt there are any "self flashing windows" which can actually be installed as required (not as listed, but as required to keep rain out) without installing flashing around them (referring to frame houses here).

    In that sense, you are correct.

    And, I am sure I will be corrected if I am remembering incorrectly ... but I remember someone posting a link to a "self-flashed" window a while back.

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

  20. #20
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: No Weeps Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    To the contrary (I believe), someone here posted a link to a window which was described as "self-flashing".

    That means it met product approval as such, and thus was your "self-laid egg".

    Now, though, to what I think is the intent of what you said: Right, I doubt there are any "self flashing windows" which can actually be installed as required (not as listed, but as required to keep rain out) without installing flashing around them (referring to frame houses here).

    In that sense, you are correct.

    And, I am sure I will be corrected if I am remembering incorrectly ... but I remember someone posting a link to a "self-flashed" window a while back.
    Jerry:

    The "self flashing" handle was a marketing thing they appplied to nail-on flange windows as far back as the early 70's when I was framing and may even predate that. They took the exclusion for flashing and weep holes at these windows out of the 2006 IRC because so many people told them about that self-laid egg.

    Though it may seem to the contrary, I really don't ever care if I am correct or not. In my reports I'm only interested in my comments being properly documented.

    There are many things in the IRC and NEC that simply do not work. There are an equal number of things that are not in these sage volumes that will indeed work. But, at least where I live, it's the law.

    There's no right or wrong, just well-documented gray areas.

    Aaron


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