When brick veneer jobs go wrong - Pro Masonry Guide
When brick veneer jobs go wrong

When brick veneer jobs go wrong

The drywall behind the installation is sagging. There’s water damage. There’s a lack of L-shaped steel members supporting the openings. Poor flashing. Similar to any other building material that you may use, brick veneer jobs will perform as you want them to if properly installed.

While the best of details are adhered to during the installation process for a brick veneer or faux-brick veneer wall, here is what happens when brick veneer jobs go wrong.

If you’re looking into a brick veneer-type installation, it’s best to learn all about the best practices and some of the things that can go wrong.

The majority of brick walls used to be multi-wythe load-bearing walls, meaning the brick walls supported beams, floor joists and roof rafters. In time, installers began to build a wood-framed building with one wythe of brickwork on the exterior of a 2 x 4 bearing wall.

But brick veneer is not load bearing. The panels resemble vinyl siding more than they do brick walls. So, when brick veneer is affixed to wood framing, you have to take special care in the flashing and drainage details.

When brick veneer jobs go wrong, one of the biggest culprits is when wind-driven rain soaks a brick veneer wall. Many installers believe that a one-wythe brick-and-mortar wall is fairly watertight. But that is not the right line of thinking.

Water can seep behind the brick veneer. Upon further inspection, you either have bricks or the mortar leaking, or the water has entered cracks between the bricks and the mortar. Getting to the bottom of the situation is critical.

There are several things that can happen to cause these types of errors:

  • Failure to include an air space with a minimum depth of 1 inch
  • Air space is clogged by mortar droppings
  • Including reverse laps at horizontal water-resistant barrier (WRB) seams or horizontal seams between the WRB and flashing
  • Failure to add a water-resistant barrier
  • Failure to include proper through-wall flashing
  • Installing flashing above the bay window header instead of above the roof intersection
  • Failure to include weep holes
  • Allowing mulch or landscaping work to bury weep holes

Properly installing brick veneer details means setting a solid foundation for drainage. You never want to have to go back in and investigate and/or repair water damage.


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