Where to purchase screens & vent opening protectors for weep holes & vents in brick walls:
Product guide for brick vents, brick weep hole screens & other special products for new construction or retrofit addition of screens that keep the brick veneer wall drain or vent opening clear and working properly. Shown at page top: a new-construction PVC brick weep screen sold by Tamlyn Building Products.
Other brick vent and drain products and sources are listed here.
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.
Weep holes in building exterior masonry walls (brick or stone) are a drainage system that is used in cavity wall or rain-screen wall construction methods to get rid of water that has penetrated the outer wall skin or surface.
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[Click to enlarge any image]
Tom Tamlyn, a residential building products manufacturer, sent us the two plastic weep hole covers shown above and below.
Above we show a brick wall weep hole cover intended for new construction. The openings are intended to keep critters out of the veneer wall.
Below we show the same device from the back so that you can see its construction.
We include the new-construction weep opening cover immediately below so that you can see the difference in how these products are constructed.
Other masonry product manufacturers (such as Airolite® and Brickvent™) provide a larger vent openings by replacing entire bricks along the wall bottom to provide improved wall drainage and moisture ventilation, especially if combined with wall top moisture vents described below.
Watch out: several errors or omissions in a brick wall drainage or venting system can contribute to building moisture, water entry, and damage to both structural brick and veneer brick walls, including:
Rid-O-Mice, a producer of several types of brick veneer wall drain opening screens and covers (at left), advertises their product as preventing invasion of the wall by mice, scorpions, insects and other pests.
There's not much to attract a mouse to the cavity in a brick veneer wall, but as we illustrated in the article above, there can be a problem with clogging of these drain openings by mud daubers, wasps, other insects, and perhaps other small critters.
Adding an appropriate screen will keep these creatures out of the wall drain opening. [Image used with permission of Rid-O-Mice.]
The company provides no direct contact information but provides a contact message page at their website: http://ridofmice.net
This and other veneer wall vent product sources are given near the end of this article.
Watch out: adding a veneer wall vent or drain screen should reduce the chances of clogging from insects or animals, but if the wall was improperly constructed so that the opening does not actually vent the wall (for example if the opening is blocked inside the wall by fallen mortar or if the flashing in the wall was not properly placed) the vent screen cannot correct those defects.
Hi I'm like to know where I can buy weep inserts for the bricks around my house. - J.S.
Several manufacturers provide brick wall weep hole systems that assure that moisture or water behind the brick wall or brick veneer can drain out of the wall while at the same time insects or larger critters are kept from entering the walls.
We describe Tamlyn brick wall weep opening inserts used in new wall construction and a second product used in retrofits at BRICK WALL DRAIN, FLASHING, VENT SOURCES
Photo: brick wall weep openings installed at the Van Scriver Elementary School in Haddonfield, New Jersey. These brick drain opening screens were installed during original construction. [Click to enlarge any image]
You will also notice the presence of a fiberglass material in the bottom of the mortar joint below this brick course, probably a component of the drainage plane behind the brick veneer.
In this brick veneer wall construction the weep openings are placed at every second brick, as you can see in our photo below.
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(Mar 13, 2012) WEill said:
if water enters the weep holes during a spell of high water, and allows some water into the building. if the sheet rock is not wet, will mold still grow inside the wall? if so how should i dry it out?
(Feb 18, 2013) Levertis Steele said:
Water rises above the weep holes when it rains in my backyard for several hours. Water seeps in from somewhere and covers most of the room it enters. After the rain stops and the water level outside recedes, the water drains from the room in the same direction from where it came. I thought that it was coming through the weep holes. What is wrong?
Even with a lot of experience with mold detection and remediation in buildings I can't say for certain that mold will or won't grow at a specific location on a house I've never seen. But certanly drywall is very mold friendly. If drywall is wet or even if it's not, if there is water inside a wall cavity that sends moisture higher in the wall cavity to where drywall is located, you can expect problematic mold growth to show up.
You can explore the suspect area for visible mold by making a test cut into the most-suspect location. Check the cavity side of the drywall for visible mold and also check nearby wood framing and insulation.
Periodic area flooding that is submerging a building wall to heights above the top of the foundation wall suggests some more serious steps are needed to control floodwaters, or if that's not going to be reasonable or reliable, to live with water entering the property, structural design changes are needed.
In an area of very limited water and rot problems on a flat site in New York, I addressed a water entry and related rot/insect damage problem by chopping off the bottom two feet of a wood frame wall and buiding up the wall base with a couple of courses of solid concrete block.
(Sept 11, 2012) Anonymous said:
I have weep holes located on the 2nd floor of my house. above and below a window and also a few towards the base of the 2nd floor. Can these be covered up?
Closing off weep openings in a masonry wall, presuming that they were properly located, installed, and flashed in the first place, risks trapping wind-blown rain or other water inside the wall cavity, inviting structural damage, rot, or mold contamination.
(Sept 22, 2012) dena said:
we have water after a blowing rain coming over the brick ledge which sits on the basement foundation .the water did not drain out due to the builder installing the flashing wrong it is on the outside of the tyvak.the moisture caused the vapor barrier to condense and now we have a mold problem. can we remove several couses of brick to repair the flashing?
a builder wants to remove all the brick around the house which is very expensive and money we don't have as we are senior citizens and in bad health.
a masonary man says he can remove several courses by leaving some of the bricks every 5 feet.can this be done?
I think your mason may have more experience with brick veneer than the builder, and his suggestion is worth a try. But be careful. 5 feet as the drainage opening interval may be too big a gap.
An unknown is the number and spacing of ties to the wall structure. If the wall is not supported enough and thus cracks you'll end up removing it all. Try working on just one segment at a time and perhaps leave more bricks loose but in place, removing the temporary support ones just briefly during repair and re- flashing. Send me some photos and perhaps we can comment further.
(Feb 17, 2014) Sal said:
I have round weep holes along my brick retaining wall that are not working. Is there anything I can use to unclog them?
Sal, possibly - it depends on the problem. If the weep holes are clogged from insects, such as mud dauber wasps who love those openings, a careful routing with a suitably-sized tool and maybe using a shop vac to draw out as much debris as possible may be enough.
For a retaining wall (as opposed to a brick veneer or structural brick wall) it's also most likely fine to try jamming a rod back into the soil behind the wall, through the weep opening.
But if the weep holes never worked because they are blocked by dense mud, lacked gravel backfill, are clogged by concrete, or some other snafu, you'd need to take a different approach, possibly involving a long masonry bit. Perhaps if you use the CONTACT link to send me some photos I can comment further.
4-17-2014 Ted said:
I have weep holes above my windows and door. The rear of the house is exposed to blowing wind and rain. I have leaks in three windows, one easily seen dripping from the top window frame the others I suspect are running down around the edge of the window and coming out below the window from the lower trim, running down the inside walls.
I had the windows caulked and as an add on the contractor, as a favor, added metal wrap to the lentil and caulked around that too. First really heavy wind and rain storm came and now the leaks seem worse. I suspect the flashing must have been run out through the lentil and that wrap and caulk job are the reason it's worse. Am I correct in that thought? Should I take the wrap off of the lentils? How should I check for proper flashing as I had leaks before the wrap and caulk job?
Ted, I agree that it sounds as if the flashing above windows and doors was omitted or not properly installed or punched or damaged during construction. I can't see how to fix this easily without some exploring into the wall cavity to see what's going on. Check out Carson Dunlop Associates' page top sketch (click to enlarge any image) to see what the flashing position should be.
Keep in mind that even if the flashing is properly installed, if a lot of water is leaking into the wall from higher-up, the water might be running down the wall sheathing and behind the flashing and out from underneath it. That diagnosis is what's needed before we try to fix anything.
Watch out: Certainly we don't want to just close off weep openings or caulk in the wrong place or we risk either water accumulation in the wall or severe rust and lintel damage.
4/18/2014 Rodney Thompson said:
Have you ever heard of a weep hole extending in a straight verticle line from the foundation to the roof?
A weep opening in a brick veneer wall is placed at intervals and at one or more location heights always including the wall bottom and possibly at higher points in the wall depending on how the wall is constructed.
The open space behind a brick veneer wall is typically intermittently partially obstructed by extrusions of mortar in the veneer, depending on how the wall was built, but hopefully nowhere is the air space totally obstructed across the whole width of the wall - so moisture can find its way to a weep opening for exit.
SO yes the air space behind a veneer wall extends, though irregularly, from wall base to wall top. But no, not explicitly in a "straight line".
The "wall top" may not extend to the roof line - that depends on how the building is designed and how high the veneer wall extends.
(June 1, 2014) Kathryn Mundy said:
dirt is coming out of retaining wall weep holes in patio. I have tiny patio that abuts earth -- the top of the wall is at ground level of a row of neighbors that live up a hill behind me. I had this home 15 years. In last month I now have large piles of Dirt at openings of the 3 weep holes (I have photos) .
We recently had 3 days torrential rain; also possible there are mice (I live very near a river in a small town and river redraws rats and mice) also last year neighbor behind me built picket fence at top of wall (the earth behind wall is a dirt path with landscaping that leads out to parking area. What would suddenly be forcing so much dirt to come out of the weep holes at bottom of my retaining wall?
It's common for soil to wash through drain holes in a retaining wall, especially after heavy rains. If the wall has not moved, bulged, cracked, then it sounds as if the drainage openings are doing their job.
I'm not sure why there would be a sudden change, perhaps settlement or a surge in water behind the wall.
To avoid confusing other readers, a retaining wall is NOT part of a building structure, it is a wall built to hold back earth.
(June 4, 2014) Virginia P. said:
I am converting my front porch into a room. The contractors says we can leave the existing brick walls with the weeping holes in place. He wants to keep the wall, and built over it. Some people tell me we should have the brick wall removed so moisture will not built up and create mold. The contractors says its not necessary. I don't know what is correct. What should I do?
I don't understand how your existing porch is constructed nor where the weep holes are located in it. If you are describing drain openings in a masonry wall that is earth filled, over which a porch slab was poured, leaving them in place is harmless. In any event the intent of drain or weep openings is to allow rain or other water penetration to exit the structure. Sealing them, in general, risks future trapped water and a moisture problem or in freezing climates, frost damage.
(July 22, 2014) Anonymous said:
Stucco Tec / I am a brick mason we are laying 60000 brick and using weep tube the home owner has been running water behind are brick to see if the weep tub is working 80% of them are working the others are plugged with mortar that has fallen behind the brick which will happen I am now going to make my tubes longer what do you think is a good idea. Thank You Stucco Tec
I think the owner is not doing a very good thing to pour water in volumes far greater and at a greater rate than the brick veneer wall design would anticipate - a result risks leaks into the wall cavities, floors below, mold, insulation damage.
It is common for some weep hole openings to become clogged with fallen mortar. If it's just a very few and if weep openings are frequent enough along the wall bottom, it's not likely to be a concern. More important is proper flashing at the wall base to be sure that water is directed out to the weep openings.
However if you detect a clogged weep opening before the mortar is hard-set you might be able to just clear the existing opening or cut it bigger and insert one of the retrofit weep opening products in this article.
Longer tubes at weep openings may still become mortar clogged and certainly you don't want the end of the tube to be jammed up against the sheathing of the exterior wall.
What do you think about using some of the other weep opening products shown in the article above. There are products for both original installation and for retrofit.
(Sept 1, 2014) Susanora said:
What can I do to stop the wall rot (interior crumbling plaster & also some crumbling of interior ferrocement) behind my 1938 brick - lath walls?
The brick frame house has no weep holes, and the problem is only on the west side along about a 15 feet section, all above grade. I think condensation may be part of the issue - this is in Salt Lake City and driving rains are not frequent.
I have had the house for 24 years and the problem has been continuous - I repaired the interior plaster several times, then gave up & hung cloth over the mess. No mildew or mold, but it is a significant cosmetic problem. Is there any way I can add ventilation from the inside of the house to the airspace behind the brick? It is so arid here (average humidity 15% - 20%) wouldn't it be possible to ventilate the cavity from inside of the wall?
Rot, which refers to organic materials like wood, is caused by a combination of water and wood destroying fungi, often basidiomycetes, sometimes more serious Meruliporia.
The right epair is to stop the source of water entry and to determine if structural repairs are needed.
I'd also look for insect damage in the same areas.
If you think condensation is occurring in the wall from indoor humidity I'd look for and fix any sources of indoor moisture and I'd seal penetrations into the wall such as around receptacles.
I would not try venting the wall cavity to the indoors - you may invite IAQ problems.
I would look at some of the brick veneer drain retrofit products we describe in this article.
(Sept 6, 2014) JJ said:
Why is there both weeping holes AND flashing? Can't water get out through flashing alone? I am not understanding the logic: do they both perform the same function? Thanks!
No the flashing would be sealed by the mortar course.
The weep holes are the water exit; the flashing is the water director.
7 January 2015 Anonymous said:
I have a long brick exterior wall. Near the end of the wall is a double door and then just a few more lengths of brick prior to the termination of the wall into hardi-plank. Is it needed to install a weep hole in the brick in this short length. There isn't one currently.
I feel there is plenty of weep holes on this wall on the other side of the door to allow for air pressure equalization, but I don't see how moisture could escape between the door and the end of the wall (moisture can't go up and over the door opening to the other side to travel out of those weep holes).
The weep holes' job is less air pressure equalization and more water drainage.
Obviously we don' t need continuous weep openings at the bottom of a masonry wall, the openings are spaced at intervals. However an individual wall section bordered by other structural elements, that is not connected to drained wall sections, should have its own weep openings even if only one is fitted.
Having a weep hole in even that short wall section would reduce the chances of water accumulation therein and thus related building damage.
You can make a further risk or needs assessment if you can inspect the building interior walls below the section you are talking about - e.g. from a basement or crawl space where you'd look for leak signs, and you can also assess risk by noting conditions outside that increase the risk of leaks into that section of wall cavity such as an un-flashed or leaky window, door, or cracks in the brickwork.
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