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Old 08-17-2011, 12:06 PM   #1
slickgt1
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Default Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Ok so this past weekend we had some serious rain. Epic rain if you want to call it. I was fortunate not to have my basement flood. I keep the drains well maintained, clean, and all that. My roof is brand new. I put it in myself at no expense spared. Complete tear off, insulation board, cant stips, copper counter-flashing, torch down, etc etc. I do not get any water on the ceilings or walls.

So front of my house is exposed brick, it seems like the water is coming through the brick, and gets right on top of my window casing. Obviously it drips down, and also damaged the wood. I drilled relief holes right away so that the water doesn't collect there.

I went to the roof, in the rain, and put up a tarp, covering about 15' of the roof and about 3-4' of the wall. Nothing changed. Once the rain picked up again, the water dripping picked up too. So it is definitively not the roof.

Ok so fast forward to next day, we get rain again, but this time nothing. And it was heavy rain for a good 20 - 30 min. Nothing, dry as a whistle.

It seems like my brick got saturated, and is then leaking inside my house.

It was re-pointed completely last year. I have masons coming out on Saturday to check all the pointing again, and maybe find the entry point. I hope.

What do you guys think this can be? What should I look for, and what should I do to prevent this from ever happening again? Thanks in advance.

ROOF FACING FRONT OF HOUSE. OLD ROOF BEFORE I REMOVED IT


The house with the garage door open, with the two awnings, and the water is coming into the top most right window.

Last edited by slickgt1; 08-18-2011 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
yellowdartdave
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Possibly the mortar on the bricks above the windows is compromised.
The brick guy should find it pretty easy.

Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Bricks and mortar are a sponge. It's the barrier behind that prevents water from entering the structure. You can apply some water repellent to the face of the bricks to keep them from sucking up so much water. The name you know is Thomspon's, but there are many and some say better products.

Beware of a shiny look. You want something that soaks in and leaves the bricks natural looking.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

I was thinking about some type of water sealant. But I am clueless as to what would work well.

On the phone the mason told me that putting any type of sealant is not a good idea because it might trap the water if it does penetrate again.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Used to be Enterprise, but now owned by Quickrete, there is a masonry product that can be sprayed on brick and mortar that will repel the water. Supposed to be good for 5 years. It is a siliconized whitish liquid that can be sprayed on with a garden sprayer. I use it myself. Lowes has it for about $25 per gallon. You will not even know it's on the brick until it rains and then the water will bead up and be repelled.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Again - any sealant that keeps water off the face of the brick will also trap it behind the brick if it is already there. I believe they make a sealer that can 'breathe' but it's not Thompsons.
I have a similar issue under a window in the front of the house. You can spray water on one section of the brick and it will come inside (the garage - only place where you can see the foundation). There are no signs of any places the water can come in on inspection. It's apparent that there is a very small separation between one of the bricks and the mortar - apparently not enough to see but enough to wick water in behind the brick.
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to resolve the issue (it doesn't rain on that side very often) but have about decided that I just need to drill out some mortar at the base of the brick to let it flow out instead of in. This house is old enough that they weren't leaving open areas at the base - it's all solid.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Right, I have seen a house get painted by something milky, and it dried up without any shine. I would like to know if anyone know what the product is, so that I can research it specifically.

But again, I am not sure if it is a good idea to go this route.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Yeah, the mortar joints have to be tight. We're not talking about a lot of sealer here. Just enough to get the water to bead up and roll off rather than continuing to soak in until the point of saturation. The solvent based stuff is the best.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

On a brick wall there are a couple of possible introduction points for water.

Water rolling off of an over flowing gutter has the tendency to cling to the wall surface and wrap around and into the soffit and fascia area. The soffit and fascia area are not designed to be water tight. Any water roll off or over a gutter is potentially causing problems. If you have a constant situation with this even after gutter cleaning you may need a larger gutter in size, most guys just toss up 3" gutters and run away, you may need 4" gutters.

If you look at the exterior wall of your home you will see the foundation and the brick line. The bricks sit atop the foundation and usually have a flashing and a bunch of weep holes, this detail is not water tight. In many cases the landscaping is set above the brick line or the landscaping detail is such that ponding occurrs in an area where the brick line is submerged. If water tops the brick line it is surely entering the home.

Another area of concern is the window sills. Window sills are supposed to be slightly pitched to the exterior of the home so as to shed. Many are not, many are not caulked either. The water simply seeks its way into the wall and travels to another point of exit.

Any of these situations can be seen by going out into the rain and watching how the rainfall interacts with the home, landscaping and surfaces. You can place a small level on your sills, if they are dead flat they are wrong, they need to shed water.
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

To build on Frank the Plumber's response, weeps are very important in brick work. Water always gets behind brick veneer, whether it be rain water that seeps in or water vapor from inside the structure that condenses on the back of the brick. That water needs to get out. The water is supposed to flow down and out of the weeps at the base of the wall. Where there is a window or other horizontal obstruction to vertical water flow, there should be a through wall flashing and more weeps. If you do not have weeps above your windows, it was just plain built wrong. If you have weeps and they are allowing the water to drip out and that bothers you, plugging them will cause major problems after some time.
Problems can be caused by:
Missing weeps
Faulty or missing through wall flashing
Mortar that fell in the cavity behind the brick during construction (blocked weeps)
Membrane through wall flashing that sagged during construction or have faulty seams
Not installing another set of weeps (actually vents) at the top if the wall
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

After my dad died, my mom said there was water seeping through the bricks (mortar) around the chimney (which was flashed). I sprayed Thompsons on the mortar with a little spray bottle until no more would soak in. That seemed to solve the problem. Otherwise, I am no fan of Thompsons.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Couple of quick questions; How old is the house? Did the brick leak before you replaced the roof or just after? I would recommend getting the wall scanned with an infra red camera. It will show you the path the water is taking when it leaks into the house. Although brick is porous it takes quite a while for water to migrate through a brick.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6768rogues View Post
To build on Frank the Plumber's response, weeps are very important in brick work. Water always gets behind brick veneer, whether it be rain water that seeps in or water vapor from inside the structure that condenses on the back of the brick. That water needs to get out. The water is supposed to flow down and out of the weeps at the base of the wall. Where there is a window or other horizontal obstruction to vertical water flow, there should be a through wall flashing and more weeps. If you do not have weeps above your windows, it was just plain built wrong. If you have weeps and they are allowing the water to drip out and that bothers you, plugging them will cause major problems after some time.
Problems can be caused by:
Missing weeps
Faulty or missing through wall flashing
Mortar that fell in the cavity behind the brick during construction (blocked weeps)
Membrane through wall flashing that sagged during construction or have faulty seams
Not installing another set of weeps (actually vents) at the top if the wall
X2. Brick isn't a waterproof. Flashing, weeps, etc move water down and out. Sealer is a temporary band aid. Find the real problem and fix it.
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Without pics it's a little hard to pin down the problem. Brickwork is usually laid with a DPC [Damp Proof Course] to minimise any moisture on to the framing. Weep holes normally allow any excess moisture to escape before damage occurs.

Have a look at this Australian building industry document I use to explain moisture issues in brickwork to builders. I use it to explain vandium stains and efflorescence [salt] on brickwork.

http://www.thinkbrick.com.au/downloa...-Detailing.pdf

Good luck
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:17 PM   #15
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank The Plumber View Post
On a brick wall there are a couple of possible introduction points for water.

Water rolling off of an over flowing gutter has the tendency to cling to the wall surface and wrap around and into the soffit and fascia area. The soffit and fascia area are not designed to be water tight. Any water roll off or over a gutter is potentially causing problems. If you have a constant situation with this even after gutter cleaning you may need a larger gutter in size, most guys just toss up 3" gutters and run away, you may need 4" gutters.

This would not apply to my house. I do not have any gutters at all. I have a central scupper box, with drain off the roof. Flat roof, lowest point in center of the house, all the roof water never reaches the face brick.

If you look at the exterior wall of your home you will see the foundation and the brick line. The bricks sit atop the foundation and usually have a flashing and a bunch of weep holes, this detail is not water tight. In many cases the landscaping is set above the brick line or the landscaping detail is such that ponding occurrs in an area where the brick line is submerged. If water tops the brick line it is surely entering the home.

I wish I could see the foundation. All the face brick goes all the way to the bottom of my house. From inside the garage I can see that my foundation, is at least the garage height. This makes the house essentially 3 floors. The water is coming in above the third floor window. I do not get any water on the bottom floor

Another area of concern is the window sills. Window sills are supposed to be slightly pitched to the exterior of the home so as to shed. Many are not, many are not caulked either. The water simply seeks its way into the wall and travels to another point of exit.

I wish this could be a problem, but it isn't. The water is coming in above the highest window in the house, and into that window from the top. Above that window is an awning. I have casement windows, and put up awnings so that I can have the windows cracked even during rain

Any of these situations can be seen by going out into the rain and watching how the rainfall interacts with the home, landscaping and surfaces. You can place a small level on your sills, if they are dead flat they are wrong, they need to shed water.
As a matter of fact, all the sills are pitched out. Either way, the water is above the window not at the bottom.

Keep em commin. We are bound to get a suggestion that could apply. I will take pictures tonight to show you guys what we are dealing with. I know this is hard to diagnose without pics. Thank you for the suggestions though.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:23 PM   #16
slickgt1
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6768rogues View Post
To build on Frank the Plumber's response, weeps are very important in brick work. Water always gets behind brick veneer, whether it be rain water that seeps in or water vapor from inside the structure that condenses on the back of the brick. That water needs to get out. The water is supposed to flow down and out of the weeps at the base of the wall. Where there is a window or other horizontal obstruction to vertical water flow, there should be a through wall flashing and more weeps. If you do not have weeps above your windows, it was just plain built wrong. If you have weeps and they are allowing the water to drip out and that bothers you, plugging them will cause major problems after some time.
Problems can be caused by:
Missing weeps
Faulty or missing through wall flashing
Mortar that fell in the cavity behind the brick during construction (blocked weeps)
Membrane through wall flashing that sagged during construction or have faulty seams
Not installing another set of weeps (actually vents) at the top if the wall
You may be onto something here. I have not seen any weeps at all. The other kicker to this is that I apparently know nothing about masonry. At least not enough to realize the problem when renovating the house. The only good thing that I have done, is foam insulation. This is probably the only thing that is keeping the water against the outside wall, and not letting it reach the sheetrock. Is it possible that someone, at some point, pointed over the weeps? My house is over 70YO. I have owned it for about 4. So I can only imagine all the crap what was done to it.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hmrhead View Post
Couple of quick questions; How old is the house? Did the brick leak before you replaced the roof or just after? I would recommend getting the wall scanned with an infra red camera. It will show you the path the water is taking when it leaks into the house. Although brick is porous it takes quite a while for water to migrate through a brick.
The house is very old. Over 70yo, with multiple owners, and a cluster F**K of changes. I can clearly see where there used to be arch windows at some time. They have been bricked over, just like a mirror house next to mine.

The mortar joints are Effed up in my opinion. The people that layed those bricks should have their hands chopped off. I have some areas with 1" wide seems.

No this actually seems to be a recent thing. I redid the roof because I was water intrusion in some very random places. Quick fixes were pissing me off, and of little effect. I was going to overlay the roof, but when I took out a square for weight and thickness check, it turned out that 1 sq-ft was 7 layers thick and about 7lbs. When the container was lifted, I had slightly over 7000 lbs of roofing in there, from a 1150 sqft roof.

Another instance where home inspections are worthless for buyers.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndysMBgarage View Post
Without pics it's a little hard to pin down the problem. Brickwork is usually laid with a DPC [Damp Proof Course] to minimise any moisture on to the framing. Weep holes normally allow any excess moisture to escape before damage occurs.

Have a look at this Australian building industry document I use to explain moisture issues in brickwork to builders. I use it to explain vandium stains and efflorescence [salt] on brickwork.

http://www.thinkbrick.com.au/downloa...-Detailing.pdf

Good luck
Thank you for the document. I have read something very similar on building science.com. This one is in color at least. Downloaded and printer for toiled literature.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Update with pictures is in the first post as well.

Sorry for the uber crappy cell phone pics. On the roof.
This is the old roof. You can see material for the new room in this picture.


House with garage door open, two awnings, and truck in front. Window that is leaking is the top most, right one. Notice awning above it. Still the window leaks from the top.

Also look at neighboring house. You can see how, and where the arch windows used to be. I have never seen them, and neither has my neighbor. He owned the house for the last 40 years. The arch windows were removed before him buying it.



New roof with scupper box location. Sorry can't find more pics.

Last edited by slickgt1; 08-18-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:31 PM   #20
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Default Re: Brick Question. Where is the water coming from?

Flat roof = nightmares.
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