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Old 03-02-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


I'd like to get an expert opinion on the location of what appears to be a gap between two bricks on the first course of brick on the footer row just above the ground (see photo). The masons are about half-way in bricking tmy new home. When I went to look at their work the other day, this small section of wall on the front of the house with a double window does have some weep holes just above the second row of bricks, but what is this gap on the first row (that I've circled in red)? It looks out of place to me, but perhaps there's a purpose for it? The 3 other walls around the house don't seem to have this (just the usual weep holes on the third row above grade), but is it maybe just an oversight? But overall, their work looks great, and perhaps I'm just jumping the gun and should just pay attention to the final product because they aren't finished yet? Any idea would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


I have an older Kubota tractor with weep holes on the bottom of the headlight mounts.

They are not three courses up on the headlight mounts, but on the bottom.

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:15 AM   #3
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


The weeps are best suited at the same level as the through-wall flashing, which, hopefully, on on top of the second course. Not sure what the logic is for the open join on the first course is, but by simply asking them, I'll bet we'll have a better idea.........
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:57 AM   #4
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


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The weeps are best suited at the same level as the through-wall flashing, which, hopefully, on on top of the second course. Not sure what the logic is for the open join on the first course is, but by simply asking them, I'll bet we'll have a better idea.........
Yes, I remember seeing the through-wall flashing and the weeps (all of them but this void) are at the same level. Once their finished bricking, I'll ask about that void at the bottom row, but it would seem to me that it isn't serving a purpose if the flashing is above it. I won't worry about it, but we'll just ask once their finished. I did point it out to the builder's sales manager who was escorting me through the home the other day, but he didn't know. He was familiar with the weep holes as he pointed them out to me before I asked even, but this one just isn't consistant with all the rest. Thanks for your response
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


I was a residential general contractor for 40+ years, and that does not look correct for weep holes. The weep hole goes at the lowest point of the wall, under the first course of brick, just on top of the brick ledge (as long as the lowest course of brick is above grade). That looks to me as though the brick layers failed to space the last few bricks on that course with small enough mortar joints and wound up with a spacing problem. The gap is not wide enough to accept mortar. This may pass code in your area, but not mine. It leaves an infiltration gap for both water and insects.

That being said, I have seen some brick layers leave a small gap in the first course mortar joint, but personally, I do not like the appearance. The gap on the third course is curious. In order to provide better air circulation, and therefore reduce the chance of mold, the upper gap should be under the window lintel (the highest point possible). Even that should not be necessary on full height walls as the top course is usually above the soffit return, open to the attic.

The attachment is an image of the correct procedure for installing a brick veneer.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:50 PM   #6
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Psydoc,
Thanks for that well-stated post! But to address some things- With regards to those weep holes on the third course, they are just above grading. This house sits on a slab, and the third row is installed at the same level with the through-flashing just below the floor sill. What you said about the "spacing issue" on the first row makes sense- just not enough gap to stick mortar in there I. However, that first row is now hidden in the ground after dirt was brought in, but I wanted to address something you said about water and insect infiltration and something about passing code.

While we can probably agree that slight gap between bricks on the first course was due to an underestimation regarding spacing by the brick layer, why would that fail code; especially considering that weep holes in many cases are done on the first row anyway according to the diagram you provided? To me, having the weep holes on the first row nearest the ground would allow insects and perhaps even water to come through anyway. Perhaps I'm just missing something, but I wanted to clarify what you meant by not being up to code. Thanks in advance.

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I was a residential general contractor for 40+ years, and that does not look correct for weep holes. The weep hole goes at the lowest point of the wall, under the first course of brick, just on top of the brick ledge (as long as the lowest course of brick is above grade). That looks to me as though the brick layers failed to space the last few bricks on that course with small enough mortar joints and wound up with a spacing problem. The gap is not wide enough to accept mortar. This may pass code in your area, but not mine. It leaves an infiltration gap for both water and insects.

That being said, I have seen some brick layers leave a small gap in the first course mortar joint, but personally, I do not like the appearance. The gap on the third course is curious. In order to provide better air circulation, and therefore reduce the chance of mold, the upper gap should be under the window lintel (the highest point possible). Even that should not be necessary on full height walls as the top course is usually above the soffit return, open to the attic.

The attachment is an image of the correct procedure for installing a brick veneer.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


I can't speak for other state's code, but here in WI, the height of the flashing does not need to be at the ledge, it just needs to be within a reasonable distance above grade, and the weeps need to be at an elevation directly above the flashing. Without a doubt the weeps must ALWAYS be above grade no matter what.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:50 AM   #8
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Hi Segal,

If we are talking about the small gap in the first course of brick, that would not pass code as it is not a large enough gap. It would easily become obstructed and therefore retain water behind the brick. The minimum size of a weep hole is 3/16" diameter; however, it should be closer to 3/8". The weep hole in the third course seems to be acceptable in many areas; however, it would not pass code in my area because we are required to insert a weep hole cover. This helps prevent wind driven rain and unwelcome guests (critters) from entering.

I took a closer look at the picture you posted. Is that brick right up against the house wrap? There should be a minimum of a 1" gap. That may be the case, it is hard for my old eyes to determine that.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Psydoc,
I suspect that small gap in the first course wasn't intended to be a weep hole but rather what you said earlier- the mason ran into a spacing issue with that row (I guess they don't just brick from left to right) and couldn't get mortar into that tight space and just shoved the brick in and called it a job. All the weep holes are consistant around the perimeter of the house (on the third row in line). There are two weeps just above each window. The brick was installed with about a 1" air gap between the strandboard. While it's not required by code down here in SC, I happen like the idea of the weep hole cover, especially if the weep is close enough to the ground for insects and vermin to nest between the house; invariably finding a way into the house.

Thanks,
Segal

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Hi Segal,

If we are talking about the small gap in the first course of brick, that would not pass code as it is not a large enough gap. It would easily become obstructed and therefore retain water behind the brick. The minimum size of a weep hole is 3/16" diameter; however, it should be closer to 3/8". The weep hole in the third course seems to be acceptable in many areas; however, it would not pass code in my area because we are required to insert a weep hole cover. This helps prevent wind driven rain and unwelcome guests (critters) from entering.

I took a closer look at the picture you posted. Is that brick right up against the house wrap? There should be a minimum of a 1" gap. That may be the case, it is hard for my old eyes to determine that.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:58 PM   #10
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Hi Segal,

There were probably two masons and they started at opposite ends and met where the gap was not sufficient. I would not worry too much about that. Since it is below grade, if they killed the soil (termite treatment), you will probably never have a problem. If you are concerned, dig out that area and use a good caulk to seal that joint.

I am glad to hear that they flashed and provided weep holes above each window. That should prevent any water problems.

I used to build in Florida, and used weep hole covers there, even though it was not required by code. I am now in a burb of Chicago, and the Village in which I live has some very stringent requirements, including the weep hole covers, all copper for plumbing above ground and cast for waste (NO PVC). All electric must be in conduit; no rope allowed (romex). I can't install an island sink because they do not allow bow vents. It is kind of crazy. I used to be a BOCA administrator and quit over that same issue. Things that have worked for 50 years are all of a sudden rejected.

I don't think you have anything to worry about with your home. That system has worked for years. If you would like to retrofit your home with weep hole covers, they are readily available on the Internet.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Once again, thank you for the valuable insight. It certainly does sound like you've been in the business a long time, and you have taught me a few things here. Thank you for settling my concerns, and you're right- if I can't stop obsessing about it, I could always just dig around it and caulk, but I'll probably just leave it alone in time and forget it was ever there

-Segal

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Hi Segal,

There were probably two masons and they started at opposite ends and met where the gap was not sufficient. I would not worry too much about that. Since it is below grade, if they killed the soil (termite treatment), you will probably never have a problem. If you are concerned, dig out that area and use a good caulk to seal that joint.

I am glad to hear that they flashed and provided weep holes above each window. That should prevent any water problems.

I used to build in Florida, and used weep hole covers there, even though it was not required by code. I am now in a burb of Chicago, and the Village in which I live has some very stringent requirements, including the weep hole covers, all copper for plumbing above ground and cast for waste (NO PVC). All electric must be in conduit; no rope allowed (romex). I can't install an island sink because they do not allow bow vents. It is kind of crazy. I used to be a BOCA administrator and quit over that same issue. Things that have worked for 50 years are all of a sudden rejected.

I don't think you have anything to worry about with your home. That system has worked for years. If you would like to retrofit your home with weep hole covers, they are readily available on the Internet.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:43 PM   #12
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Weep holes for Brick Veneer


Unfortunately, segal, I am older than dirt. I tell people I baby sat God when he created this place.

I do hope I helped.!

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