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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Portland, Oregon. I have a 2 story brick duplex that sits about 3-4 foot above the concrete foundation which forms the full basement. AT the top of the house, there is plastic siding. that covers the area that would be the second floor and it has a large picture window. I believe that the house was built on a lot using infill. I have a french drain in the back where the yard slopes slightly towards the house. On the other three sides, the ground slopes away from the house, leaving the lawn around the house sitting up a couple feet higher than the public sidewalk.

I have owned the house for about 13 years. Last year it began to get serious puddles of water in the basement on the south side whenever we had a fair amount of rain. In the basement, after removing the ceiling panels, I could see the water coming down between the bricks and the drywall, collecting alongthe --is it called a header beam that runs perpendicular to the outside wall.


I had several contractors out. I have also had two masons who were supposed to look at the job and get back to me and I never heard back from either of them. One contractor insisted the leaking was because the windows had not been caulked properly. He actually took the windows out and put them back in. It did not take care of the problem. Then he disappeared and would not respond to calls or emails.

The next one said it was the large picture window upstairs that was causing the problem--and since it was a double pane window that had gotten clouded I had a new window put in and the area under the siding inspected. That did not take care of the problem.

Several more have looked and have said it could be this, it could be that.

I think that the problem is that the bricks are soaking up the water and then it is dripping down the inner side of the bricks (no there is no insulation--just an air space between the bricks and the two by fours that hold the plaster walls.

I have never lived in a brick building and did not know there was upkeep that needed to happen--if I am reading correctly, I should be waterproofing the bricks every few years????

So I have read all the reviews on line for water proofing materials for brick. Seems like DEFY gets the best ratings and you can get a 5 gallon can of it for about $120 including shipping. I have read the discussions here on DIY and people have not seemed happy with DEFY. I called a semi local company that makes brick and they wanted to sell me a product that contains silane/seloxane (which is what Defy contains) but thiers is $73 a gallon and it covers about 90-120 sq foot. It is called Fabrishield 701, made by Fabrikem in Canada. I could find no reviews.
http://www.fabrikem.com/Products/pdsFiles/psdFabrishield70040-D.pdf

There also is a product discussed somewhere on DIY made by prosoco:
look under vertical treatments:
http://www.prosoco.com/WaterRepellents#

I am in over my head and have already spent about $3000 on things that did not work. What do you folks say?
 

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Let's get started by looking at the house----post a picture---

Surface coatings on brick are seldom the right treatment---usually the cause is improper flashing at windows--siding/brick junction --something is not right.

the siding---has it been replaced since the house was built? Anything done to the house before the leaking was discovered?
 

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No, you definitely do NOT want to be "waterproofing" brick. Brick veneer isn't meant to be waterproof. It's the drainage plane behind the brick (the material that covers the wall behind the gap) that keeps your house waterproof. The usual suspects ARE improperly flashed penetrations in the brick. Have you had any new windows installed in the time you've lived there? Doors? Other penetrations into the envelope? How are your gutters? Chimneys? Have you been on the roof to take a look at it? Water can travel a really long distance before appearing as a "leak". If your drainage plane behind the brick is in good shape, the source of the water could even be from a roof flashing problem or a backed up gutter. You've got to get out your ladder and start rounding up the usual suspects. When you find a potential lead, a garden hose helps you to see if that could be the problem.


Post some pics.
 

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Yes, pictures would help us a lot; saying something like "southside" really means little to us.

You mention several elements that may - or may not - have anything to do with the problem you have; infill, clouding of the glass, slope of the outside terrain etc are some of the elements that could come into play in solving your problem. And here's the crux of the matter: finding a water damage, i.e. a leak, takes detective skills that most contractors don't have. I mean most contractors are 'something' specific - like masons, roofers, or siding guys - but in questions like this one, you need to be educated in all-of-the-above to locate and treat the main issue. So don't feel bad that some don't call you back; the problem is perhaps outside their skill-set...keep trying to find a general contractor who is familiar with water damage issue is all I can suggest there.

Personally, I live in a brick house that has never been 'waterproofed' in 30 years - yet I see the value in silane/siloxane waterproofing products for bricks. But waterproofing bricks won't solve the core problem; it'll help - but you'll still have to find the reason the bricks are filling with water in the first place - and that may have something to do with just how the water drains off of the vinyl siding and from around the picture window.

Or it may have to do with abnormally high rainfall; in which case waterproofing the bricks every 5 years or so may be right.

There's a lot involved in this case; stay with it and report back here.
 

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I think some of us - and me at the head of the line - are guilty of generically using the term "waterproofing" to mean 'keeping water out' when we really should be recognizing that water can mean physical droplets of water - and water vapour.

Silane/siloxane products keep physical water out - but still alllow the brick as a whole to breathe water vapour in and out. So, they do indeed apply to brick veneer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Folks, I have to point at the timing again.

I have had this house for 13 years. I have had this problem for a year--it started with the rainy season last year. I put in new windows 13 years ago. There was no hint of water for 12 years after that. I am not sure what incursions are but I have not had anything done to the brick since then. I have had two people on the roof and they have not found anything. The roof is about 10 years old.

After a rain storm there is as much as 2 gallons of water puddled in the lowest part of the floor.

Oh yes--I have sprayed water on the bricks and water does come in--though not as much..

My understanding is that using a water repellant is not the same as sealing the bricks because the repellant allows the bricks to breathe while sealants do not. Am I reading this correctly.

Please, I would love to have others weigh in also.
 

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"Folks, I have to point at the timing again."
Well, OK - but I'll point out that "timing" isn't exactly a mitigating factor here since I've seen new windows fail after 6 months (due to improper installation)...but just as often than not, 'timing' means "longevity" - and longevity has a lot to do with product failure over time. But that's home ownership for you, meaning welcome to a never-ending cycle of repairs and problems to be fixed.
"My understanding is that using a water repellant is not the same as sealing the bricks because the repellant allows the bricks to breathe while sealants do not. Am I reading this correctly"
Yes, you are. Sealing a stone (usually against some form of a stain) is quite different from waterproofing - or making it water-repellent. Trouble is some of the same family of chemicals - silicones - are used in either one.

Two further points: are you able to post pictures - or not. Because I can tell you that this thread will end up nowhere, with a bunch of verbal advice being thrown back and forth, without some visual starting points. And where are you located exactly?
 
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