Fixing Brick Siding
Special Problems with Brick Veneer
Brick veneer houses are legendary for developing water intrusion problems. Homes that are built in the open with little or no protection from trees or nearby structures are particularly at risk, but they all can suffer from it.
Here's why: Brick veneers are installed over building paper or Tyvek. There needs to be a minimum 3/4-inch space between the veneer and the wall behind it, and this space has to remain free and clear to allow the water that gets behind it to evaporate and/or drain. Weep holes must also be placed at the base of the wall for water elimination.
Most contractors leave enough space between the veneer and the wall, but they might not clean away excess mortar that collects behind the veneer when it's built. This material can wick water right into the wall behind the veneer. Excess mortar can also obstruct weep holes.
Severe storms can quickly drive water into the space between the veneer and the wall. If there are blockages in this space, the water can't evaporate like it should. Instead, it will seep into the building paper or Tyvek, which, while being an effective moisture barrier, is not waterproof. When it does, it can sit there for many days -- definitely long enough to cause interior damage and mold growth.
Once water problems develop behind brick veneer, about the only thing you can do is remove and replace the veneer.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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