If your house has undergone masonry work, you may have noticed a small gap in the brick work at the base of the exterior walls. Most people discover them when they are inspecting the external wall after the construction work is over. It may seem like a piece of shoddy bricklaying because the gaps are so close to the ground. But rest assured, they are an important part of the structure. These gaps are called weep holes and they are placed there on purpose. Typically about half an inch wide, they may be placed at regular intervals throughout the bottom skirt of the external wall. Their main purpose is to create a way for moisture to drain out and air to enter so what when the wall has to dry out, it does so. It may come as a surprise to you that buildings, whether built out of brick or stone, aren’t water tight. That is why we have basement waterproofing. In fact bricks can retain a large volume of water like a large sponge. Weep holes were considered the best way to get rid of this water and moisture.
Do weep holes really work like they should?
In an ideal situation, weep holes will work as they should, taking water out of the house and letting it dry up quickly. In the real world, however, weep holes are places where small mice, insects, and other little critters get in and start living. Another issue with them is that modern structures are a lot more airtight than old ones, making the weep holes redundant in many scenarios as there is little transfer of moisture between and through the walls. Many homes also get through basement waterproofing done, making the weep hole really unnecessary. Improved construction technology has ensured that modern structures have little use for weep holes. But masons still add them, as a precaution. In old houses, moisture used to be able to easily move through a wall. But nowadays, weep holes are great spots for water to get in than leave. All this extra moisture at the feet of your house may not be a good thing.
- Check weep holes at least once a year, before the rainiest season.
- If they’re clogged, open them up with a brush, a screwdriver or a toothpick.
- Clear away leaves, twigs and dirt that accumulate on the windowsill.
Basement waterproofing is a great idea if you really want to keep your below-ground rooms dry. You might as well get rid of or not install weep holes in your walls. With proper waterproofing and ventilation, your walls will not really get wet. Even if they do, they will easily dry up soon after the wet months are over.
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