Water intrusion into brick walls
Many homeowners call us and tell us that every time the wind blown rain saturates their brick veneer home, water works its way into their home. They notice the wood floors in their living rooms are warping as well. The brick and mortar appear fine. The always ask, “What is causing the leaks? How should the brick have been installed? What, if anything, can be done to stop the water penetration”?
What many of these and other homeowners don’t know is that they have a very serious problem. If this is not corrected, serious structural failure and damage will be in their future. I'm quite confident that if I did a post mortem examination of their brick walls, I would find serious workmanship errors.
Virtually every brick wall will allow water to penetrate.
The water has three possible paths. It can enter directly through the brick itself, the mortar, and/or the very thin gap between the brick and mortar. The primary path of water into brick walls is this contact zone between brick and mortar and mortar joints that are not filled completely. Your wall leaks, I will wager, are most likely originating at the vertical joints between many of the brick. Bricklayers call these head joints.
Limiting the amount and length of time your wall is exposed to water will greatly help. Properly functioning rain gutters to eliminate splashing on the brick walls is probably the number one preventative measure. Downspouts should release the water 3 feet away from the homes foundation.
Keeping the soil level below the bottom mortar joint is also key to keeping water out at the ground level. Allowing your soil to drain properly by a needed French drain system may also be what is needed.
The quality, type, and moisture content of the mortar is a critical factor in preventing brick veneer wall leaks.
The mortar for a brick veneer house needs to have a high lime and low cement content. The lime in the mortar, through the years, can actually heal tiny cracks that might develop between the brick and mortar. Mortar that is too wet or has too much cement can shrink as it dries. This shrinkage can produce tiny cracks that allow water to easily penetrate the wall.
Your leaks may be able to be stopped with the application of commercial grade water repellents. First we closely examine your brick walls. Look for tiny hairline cracks in the vertical joints. Remove and install new mortar if needed. Afterwards we apply the water repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. A second application may be necessary. If this does not solve your leak problem, If the important steps above have been taken and your still not able to keep your home dry inside, many times the only remaining solution is to have the brickwork replaced.
Master Masonry has a deep concern for your complete satisfaction of our repairs.
As a second-generation mason, Roger Landry has been performing brick and stone masonry since 1970 when he began as an apprentice to his father.
In addition to being a Master Mason, Roger is a decorated Air Force veteran with a 22 year active duty career.
When it comes to trust, dependability and a very high degree of character, you can count on us to stand behind our work and our word.