Under-sized and blocked weep openings (C) Daniel FriedmanBrick Veneer Wall Weep Hole Location Requirements
Masonry veneer wall drain opening details & specifications

  • BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES - CONTENTS: Definition & explanation of brick wall weep holes or weep openings used to provide drainage for the building wall or shell: shell drains & wall drains.
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Proper Location for Weep holes in Brick or other Masonry Veneer Walls:

Here we explain the proper location for weep or drain openings in brick or other masonry veneer walls. We warn against blocking weep openings by placing them below grade or below an abutting sidewalk or patio.

This article series explains the purpose of drainage openings & rain screens in solid brick walls and in some brick veneer walls: brick wall weep holes and recommends their use in new construction and in some brick wall repairs or retrofits. We explain how these weep or vent openings in brick walls work, where and how they should be installed, and what special products such as opening screens & flashings are available. Page top photo: properly-located but probably too small and clog-prone brick weeps at the bottom of a veneer wall. [Click to enlarge any image].

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Where do the Brick Wall Drainage Openings (Weep holes) Belong?

Brick veneer wall weep opening location details at the supporting steel lintel, adapted from Arumala (2007) (C)

Where do the brick wall weep holes go? At the wall bottom, but above ground level. The spacing of weeps, typically no more than 33" apart, is given in the first article of this series, beginning at BRICK VENEER WEEP HOLE & VENT SPECIFICATIONS.

[Click to enlarge any image]

In the image above you'll see that when the brick veneer is supported by a steel lintel, the weep openings are immediately over the wall bottom flashing that is in turn immediately over the upper surface of the supporting steel lintel. - adapted from Figure 3, "A Typical Section of a Brick Veneer Wall with Steel Stud Backup Wall" - Arumala (2007)

Below is a BIA design detail for draining a brick veneer that sits atop a foundation wall projection.

Brick veneer wall weep opening & other details adapated from BIA Tech Notes 28B Fig 1 as in Arumala 2007 (C) 2016

[Click to enlarge any image]

Above: Brick veneer wall construction details showing weep openings immediately above flashing that is in turn atop bottom brick course of a brick veneer wall constructed over a steel stud cavity wall. These details are for a brick veneer wall that rests atop a masonry foundation on a projecting lip. I'm not sure about that bottom course of brick under the bottom flashing unless the space between the brick and the wall sill is filled-in and waterproof.

This illustration is adapted from BIA Technical Notes 28B, Figure 1 as used in Arumala 2007 cited below. Critical wall bottom flashing is shown in red, brick veneer weep opening locations above the horizontal portion of that flashing are shown in green, and house-wrap / water barrier fabric(s) are shown in dark gray.

In a brick veneer wall resting on the foundation, typically the weep openings and flashings are at the bottom of the brick veneer atop the foundation wall projection, or in some illustrations we see the openings installed one brick course up from the very bottom of the wall.

In a brick veneer wall that rests on a steel lintel, the weep openings are made immediately above the horizontal projection of wall bottom flashing. That flashing itself is above the upper surface of the steel lintel and extends up the wall at least 8" where it is either behind the wall water and air barrier or is sealed to it at the flashing upper edge (for example using flashing tape).

At BRICK VENEER WEEP HOLE & VENT SPECIFICATIONS we provide detailed specifications for the spacing, intervals, and flashing at veneer wall weep openings, drain holes, and vents.

Do not block veneer wall weep openings by outside backfill, sidewalks, etc.

Watch out: do not block the drain opening at brick veneer wall weep openings by back-fill, concrete sidewalk, patio blocks or anything else. Weep openings need to be above grade and un-blocked to function properly.

Carson Dunlop Associates sketch (below) illustrates that it's a bad idea to backfill against a building so that the wall's weep openings are below grade.

Brick wall weep holes below grade (C) Carson Dunlop Assoc

This mistake traps water inside the wall inviting frost damage, building water entry, and insect attack on the building sills and floor framing.

Question: bottom weep holes covered by brick paver unit patio - is that a problem?

Hi there i am a real estate broker and my client has an accepted offer on his house conditional to an inspection the inspector determined that the bottom weep holes of the bricks have been covered by pave unit block terrace by about 3 bricks high (above grade), although the paving people left an air space between blocks the inspector claims it isn't enough, how much empty space must one give to the weep holes for them to function properly - R. by private email to editor 2016/05/03

Reply: perhaps

I can only guess as I have seen nothing about the home in question, but in concept, no amount of space between paving blocks will fix the problem you describe, and much worse, building up a patio against or above the weep holes means that rainfall or melting snow on the terrace is being directed ***into*** the wall structure. There is a distinct probability of water problems including leaks, mold, insect damage, and rot in the home you describe, more so if you're talking about a brick veneer over wood framing.

Any problem can be corrected, it's more a question of urgency, cost, and defining the proper solution.

Missing from your note is information about what evidence the inspector found (if s/he did) of actual effects of the improper construction you describe. It's not the case that every mistake always leads to a catastrophe. If they did, we'd learn more from and pay more attention to good construction practices.

Question: location of weep holes blocked by concrete entry platform or stoop

4/19/2014 Rich said:

A new construction question. The mason contractor installed a brick veneer wall with the appropriate flashing and weep holes at top of foundation.

The bottom two courses of the brick veneer, including weep holes, are below the top of the concrete stoop, when the front door concrete stoop was built.

Should the weep holes have been placed above the finished grade of the concrete stoop a the front door entrance?

Is this a critical issue, having some of the weep holes covered by the concrete stoop?


I need to see some photos or a sketch to understand the question more clearly (use our CONTACT link if you like). Generally if the concrete stoop abuts a brick veneer in a location where the veneer wall is already interrupted by an entry door it may be that those particular weep holes don't have much to do anyway.

I infer from the design you suggest, however, that there may be a concrete entry platform or "stoop" abutting what is basically a wood-framed structure - a design that in some locations may invite termite damage.

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