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    No weep holes plus water in crawl space

    No weep holes plus water in crawl space

    New postby catlam on Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:24 pm

    Awesome site! I can't seem to pull myself away from it. You have managed to make building and codes issues interesting!

    I made an offer which was accepted on a brick veneer home in Indiana. The house was built in the mid '70's, but it had a large addition and brick veneer added in '92. Our home inspector reported that there are no weep holes. I have tried to do a bit of research on my own regarding this issue, and it seems that it did not become code until '94. Our inspector stated that it was code when the brick veneer was added. I called the builder that did the renovation, and he said that it was not code at the time. I am not sure if there are flashings. My inspector is going back to the property because he could not inspect the crawl space because there was 1-2 inches of water present. The sellers have put in a sump pump and now my inspector is going to return to the property to finish the crawl space inspection.

    1. Should I have my inspector check for flashing?

    2.Should I insist that the sellers install some type of pipes around the house to drain the water to some type of rock bed so the water doesn't continue to go to the crawl space? The sellers seem to think that a sump pump is good enough.

    3. Do I need to be concerned about water in the crawl space causing a problem with the house structure or walls?

    4. What questions should I ask the inspector regarding water in the crawl space and the lack of weep holes?


    Thank you so much for any help that you can provide.
    catlam
     
    Posts: 2
    Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:14 pm

    Re: No weep holes plus water in crawl space

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:25 pm

    catlam wrote:Our home inspector reported that there are no weep holes. I have tried to do a bit of research on my own regarding this issue, and it seems that it did not become code until '94.


    While I do not know when weep holes became required, but I do know that original brick walls did not need weep holes as the walls were 'solid brick'. The weeps holes are only required for brick 'veneer' where it is acknowledged that water *will* go through the brick, the mortar, and the joints between the brick and the mortar, and acknowledged that the water needs to have a way to get out, which is at a flashing at the bottom of the veneer and through weep holes in the mortar.

    I also know that back in the 1960s and earlier that weep holes were being installed, many with cotton cord in the weep holes to keep bugs out and to allow the cotton to weep the moisture out. Thus I am sure that weep holes were addressed in some codes long before the 1990s, and likely from shortly after brick veneer was started to be used and the contractors found the water was leaking inside, so they added a flashing to keep the water outside, and then (at the same time, or later) likely added the weep holes to allow that water to get out.

    We must keep in mind that contractors and builders of long, long, long ago used the "common sense" approach to construction, actually understanding the why for many things. Today, the engineers design as minimum methods as possible, all in the name of "value engineering", which means, as I change it around, "the value is engineer out" as "value" is getting more than what you are paying for, and when you are given the minimum you are paying for, and more frequently even less than the minimum you are paying for, there is no "value" in that.

    Q. 1. Should I have my inspector check for flashing?
    A. 1. Yes, but do not expect your inspector to actually be able to find any flashing. The flashing is required to extend all the way to the front of the brick, but it seldom does - which means there is nothing to show the flashing is there.

    Q. 2. Should I insist that the sellers install some type of pipes around the house to drain the water to some type of rock bed so the water doesn't continue to go to the crawl space? The sellers seem to think that a sump pump is good enough.
    A. 2. Probably needs the sump pump and the pipes. The drainage pipes will serve to collect the water around the foundation and bring the water to a central point where the sump pump can then pump the water up and out to wherever it will pump the water up and out to. A sump pump is only not needed if the pipes gravity drain (drain downhill) to an open end to daylight (the open discharge end of the drain pipe needs to be lower than the intake end). That means the house needs to be on a hill or sloping lot.

    Q. 3. Do I need to be concerned about water in the crawl space causing a problem with the house structure or walls?
    A. 3. Yes. There are many problems water in the crawl space can cause or contribute to, that is why no water is allowed in the crawl space, and no water is allowed to be discharged into the crawl space.

    Q. 4. What questions should I ask the inspector regarding water in the crawl space and the lack of weep holes?
    A. 4a. About the only thing your inspector can do is see if the property is such that a French drain (that is what and how the pipe would be laid in the drainage ditch, then covered over) could gravity drain to open daylight. If not, then a sump pump is also needed. Along with the sump pump comes other challenges, i.e., the sump pump needs to be on a GFCI protected circuit, however, if you lose power or the GFCI trips off you will want the sump pump to have a back-up method of operation, either battery (which can die when needed most or not keep a charge) or be water driven (which will not work of you lose water pressure).

    Q. 5. (Which was not asked.) Should I add weep holes after-the-fact?
    A. 5. NO! Absolutely not! You will end up doing more harm than good. The only way to address this would be to remove the brick along the bottom, make sure there is a proper flashing installed or install one if not already installed, THEN add the weep holes when the brick is relaid. This is done by working around the structure in sections, leaving enough brick to support the wall above while the intermediate sections are removed for repairs. As you are probably suspecting, this is a very time consuming and expensive procedure.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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