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I've lived in the same brick rowhouse for about 2 years. It's been raining for 36 of the last 48 hours, heavily at times, and I am seeing some rain leaking to the inside: above one of the larger windows on the first floor of the house. This has never happened before. I believe this is a masonry problem and there are two reasons water is coming into the house, I'm hoping someone can tell me I'm right or wrong so I can hire the right specialist to fix it.

The problems I think I have:

  1. There is no drip edge/flashing/weep holes above the window opening that I can see.
  2. The steel lintel has a layer of mortar above it, which is damming moisture to the inside.

I'm basing this on my own limited understanding of how masonry walls (all the house's exterior walls are brick) and drainage work: basically, they aren't waterproof and water is going to get in sometimes, so you have to give the water a way out of the house. I also came across this article, with this passage which describes my problem perfectly:

I regularly get calls from people who recently had their house or building re-pointed (tuck pointed) and now have water coming in above their windows. The masons saw a space and filled it with mortar. This causes the water to backup and finally drain inside.

I didn't get the bricks re-pointed, but it was obviously done on this house in the recent past. Also, it looks like there were awnings or some other drainage control installed above the windows at one point, there are remnants of caulk above this window (and other windows on the house).

Water is coming through the drywall above the window and dripping onto the windowsill. I haven't yet torn the drywall down to see what's going on behind it. The heaviest moisture is in the center of the top of window opening, where the paint was drooping (I pulled it off to stop water from building up behind it). There is some moisture on either side of the top of the window opening, but the drywall on the sides of the opening is solid and dry. There is some moisture in the corners at the edge of the windowsill, I'm pretty sure that was caused by the pooled water on the sill and not by water running down the sides of the opening (because the sides seem solid and dry). When it stops raining, the leak stops soon after.

I can fix the drywall, my main concern is fixing the source of the leak.

Some photos:

Looking up at the top of the window opening, inside the house: drywall damage

The top of this window opening, from outside of the house: exterior wall

Closeup of the lintel, mortar, and recent pointing: lintel closeup

Side of the house, looking up (it's still raining!) exterior wall

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This turned out to be due to a problem with the installation of the window directly above the window where the water was evident. That upper window (the one in the last photo in the question) had a gap between the sill and the flashing at the bottom of that window was not caulked. Some of the rainwater that gathered on the sill found its way back into the wall through that gap and ran down the inside of the brick wall, ultimately draining out through the drywall above the lower window opening.

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