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  1. #1
    Seth Foley's Avatar
    Seth Foley Guest

    Default Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Hi,

    I just moved into a new house in North Texas this last Summer and after moving in I noticed that almost every single weep hole was filled in with a silicone like compound (grey and less pliable). I've also noticed that this stuff was put in many crevices (tiny ones) around the house where the bricks meet the foundation. Is there any reason not to remove all of this stuff so the wall can breathe better? The previous owners had lived in the house since 1994 and claimed they had not done it so it has been there a good long while. If it was done because of water issues, I'd prefer to remove the caulk and go about stopping water in a better way.

    Thanks,
    Seth

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Yes remove the caulking.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Do you have a picture to show? How old is the house, and are we talking about a full wall of brick or half a wall? I worked on a home with a brick half wall, no weeps, and the home was built in the 50's. I had to remove part of the wall for an addition and there was nothing wrong with the structure, looked as good as the day it was built.

    Nowadays it's more about getting air flow behind the brick, but if you lack the high level vents, kind of pointless to try and vent it. If you are worried about water and want to open the holes for bleeders I would install some type of filter, otherwise you will have rodents to deal with.

    Billy's post has a good link which has good links in it for venting and all kinds of fun stuff.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Yes, remove the caulk.
    They filled the weep holes.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Yes, remove the caulk.
    They filled the weep holes.
    Just be careful what you use to remove the caulk and how you remove it, otherwise you may be creating a worse problem than you have.

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

  7. #7
    Seth Foley's Avatar
    Seth Foley Guest

    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    @Mike The house was built in 1980 and yes, full brick walls all around (by this, I assume you mean it is only built with brick and no siding). Are "high vents" different than soffit vents? There are soffit vents. I'll post pictures when I am able; too dark when I get home, usually.

    @Billy @Raymond @Jim - Ok, I will go about removing them since I think we have agreement. ;-)

    @Jerry Ok, I will be careful. I removed one already with a knife, a screwdriver and a bit of elbow grease, but I was thinking of using a heat gun first to soften it up then cut around the caulk in the weep hole then use a screwdriver to get most of it out in a one big piece. I haven't counted but I probably have 20+ to do so it will take a while if I don't find a way to do it faster.

    Thanks,
    Seth


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Just don't gouge too deeply. There will be flashing (typically plastic sheeting) behind the brick which you do not want to damage.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
    Seth Foley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    @Jim Ahh, good to know. Thanks!

    Seth


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Figure 2 has a pretty good drawing of how it works:
    http://www.masonryinnovations.com/why_ventilation.shtml

    Not sure how your home was built, but if the soffit was put in first you might lack the high venting, as the soffit materials could block off the air gap behind the brick.

    A tool with a hook is pretty good at pulling caulk out, (like this http://www.castlewholesalers.com/ALLWAY-GCR-Soft-Grip-Grout-Caulk-Remover-Tool.html?gclid=CMfL3KqdpLQCFckWMgod4nYABw), depending on well it adhered itself to the brick. You could try and drill with a spade bit first, but don’t go deeper than the brick…


  11. #11
    Seth Foley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    I finally got this done. It proved pretty difficult until I started using a box-cutter to perforate/cut around the sides of each filled weep hole then used the hook tool to get it out. Some weep holes came out in one whole piece; quite satisfying whenever that happpened.

    Thanks for everyone's input!

    Seth


  12. #12
    Ted Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    ... I had to remove part of the wall for an addition and there was nothing wrong with the structure, looked as good as the day it was built.

    Nowadays it's more about getting air flow behind the brick, but if you lack the high level vents, kind of pointless to try and vent it. If you are worried about water and want to open the holes for bleeders I would install some type of filter, otherwise you will have rodents to deal with.

    Billy's post has a good link which has good links in it for venting and all kinds of fun stuff.
    I have a brick ranch home built in 1956 in a near-north Chicago suburb with full brick walls. There are no weep holes by design.

    The exterior walls are mortared 4 x 8 x 16 concrete blocks resting on a poured concrete foundation with the bricks mortared to them and setting on the foundation too. This is very common in this neighborhood.

    I recently had to open part of the inside bathroom wall to correct damage from a minor window leak in a tiled bath wall.

    Near the leak area, the interior side of the concrete block was dry. I ripped out the bad section, enlarged it a bit and used pressured treated wood that was construction adhesive bonded to the blocks and covered it with backer board and thin-set mortar and reinstalled the tile.

    There is no apparent water/moisture damage to any interior walls as checked during various remodeling projects including installing new electrical EMT. The home seems structurally sound without weep holes although I would have weeps holes in any new all brick exterior home construction.

    The only basement water infiltration was from two sources: foundation settling cracks that were repaired (the aged concrete is very strong) and two leaking basement windows in window wells that have temporary fixes until I can replace them when the weather warms up.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Just be careful what you use to remove the caulk and how you remove it, otherwise you may be creating a worse problem than you have.
    We had to do the same thing but rather than leaving them wide open we put a device into them that let the weep hole breath but stopped pests. You can find it here: Mice Problems in your House, DIY Mouse Control


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Weep holes filled in - should I "unfill" them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian McNeil View Post
    We had to do the same thing but rather than leaving them wide open we put a device into them that let the weep hole breath but stopped pests. You can find it here: Mice Problems in your House, DIY Mouse Control
    That's just one of several products made to replace the head joint mortar with weep openings - but that is not the problem I was referring to ... I was referring to the fact that if the wall was not properly constructed to start with (in addition to no weep holes) that trying to install weep holes after the fact may result in additional damage to the wall and structure beyond that being done because of the lack of weep holes.

    The best solution is to remove several bricks from one area, verify proper through wall flashing was installed, and installed properly (at least at that location), then re-lay the bricks leaving one head joint mortar out and replacing it with one of the weeps designed for that purpose. Then work around the house doing that same repair wherever a weep hole should have been but isn't.

    If a through wall flashing is not there or is not properly installed - then the bricks where the through wall flashing should be will need to be removed all the way around the house ... or grit your teeth, do nothing, and cross your fingers ... there is no other legitimate repair for missing through was flashing.

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

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