How to Fix a Brick Veneer Wall Leak

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Many brick veneer homeowners are shocked to learn that brick walls can and do leak water. The water invades through the mortar rather than the bricks themselves. This can cause serious structural damage to the walls and floors. Finding the cracks and sealing them is a job almost anyone can do with ease. Fresh mortar and quality sealant will bring back peace of mind.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Narrow cold chisel
  • Small sledgehammer
  • Whisk broom
  • Trowel
  • Pre-mix mortar compound
  • Pointing tool
  • Jointing tool
  • Paint sprayer
  • Mortar sealant (with silanes and/or siloxanes)
  • Inspect all vertical mortar, or head joints, for obvious cracks. Look closely at the areas where the mortar meets the brick. Remove and replace all mortar that is cracked or separated.

  • Use a narrow cold chisel and a small sledgehammer to knock these defective areas of mortar loose. Hit the mortar upwards at a 45-degree angle. This is a comfortable angle to work with. Clean the area with a stiff whisk broom.

  • Use a trowel to fill in the areas missing mortar with a scoop of pre-mix mortar compound. Smooth the finish to match the adjoining mortar by using a pointing and jointing tool. Allow all repaired mortar areas five to seven days to dry and cure.

  • Fill a paint sprayer with mortar sealant that contains silanes and/or siloxanes for waterproofing. It is available at most home improvement centers. Spray the entire brick veneer with the sealant. Allow the recommended drying time on the sealant label.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some leaks, unfortunately, are due to poor installation, Improper mortar mixture (not enough lime), faulty flashing, missing weep holes or a lack of water-resistant backing material. Read up on these items at askthebuilder.com before hiring a contractor to do more intensive and expensive fixes.
  • Wear gloves and safety glasses when working with mortar to avoid chemical burns. Wear a dust mask when removing old mortar to protect the lungs. Follow all safety precautions on the sealant label. New mortar will be a slightly different color when dry than older, more aged product.

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References

  • Photo Credit clonestone; Photobucket.com
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