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High winds cause my 20 year old brick home to leak water through the reduced cement volume in the head joints. Water runs through head joints, down inside of brick wall, then leaks under the sill plate & out into the garage.
The previous owner poured a 33 ft side walk against the garage wall, damming up the weep holes.
I have removed Sheetrock & cut 1 ft square inspection holes in the 5/8” sheeting @ sill plates and see the water actually building up between the inside of bottom course of brick & sill plate.
Also cut several 1ft sq inspection holes, 10 ft high through wall (22 ft gable end) & you can see daylight through some of the brick head joints, also have squirted garden hose on out side of bricks & you can see the water pouring in.
We have high wind & rain storms here in the Oklahoma panhandle which causes this problem.
My question is can I point extra cement and fill in the (3/8”) recessed mortar design to a almost flush concave design which would add some volume to these poorly filed head joints without grinding the mortar and get good adhesion. So not really a re-pointing issue, but a filling in issue.

  • Recessed and concave say the same thing to me... but some joints are finished with a flat mortar bevelled surface recessed at the top and flush at the bottom. – Solar Mike Apr 23 at 22:46
  • Solar Mike, I may be miss stating my mortar type, but my bricks have a 3/8” square groove inset, cut with a tool that also scrapes mortar from the ( top & bottom ) of the brick lips, just like if you scraped the mortar out with a square piece of 3/8” wood, similar to using the square corner of a domino. I am wanting to pack the joint with mortar & use a rounded tool similar to a piece of 5/8” garden hose. Trying to fill in the ledge on the inside bottom of the joint, that allows water to lay on the lip, and be pushed into the hairline crack such a s Lee Sam describes below in #2. – Oily Tex Apr 24 at 22:17
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There’s no reason a new mortar mix will not adhere and perform adequately if, 1) the joint is cleaned properly, 2) proper mix AND installation is used, 3) infiltration is not caused by settlement

1) You emphasize that it’s not a repointing issue. That makes me believe you’re not going to clean the existing mortar joint...bad idea. In fact, you have 3 sides of those mortar joints to clean.

2) Here is a link from Cemex that explains the types of mortar. You’ll want an exterior mortar that can be troweled concave. (Concave helps “squish” the mortar into the block and provides a hard sealed surface to shed the water. As you know, the recessed mortar joint allows water to lay on the brick and wind will “push” it into the building.)

https://www.cemexusa.com/products-and-services/cement/product-specifications/type-n-s-m-masonry-cement-and-mortar

Btw, pay attention to their discussion about when to strike the mortar so you don’t remove the moisture, which will cause cracking, etc.

3) I suspect you have a greater problem than the type of mortar joint. If water is “gushing in” when you squirt the wall, the joints must have significant cracks between the mortar and brick.

With brick veneer walls, we know they are going to leak...somewhat...that’s why a moisture barrier is installed with weep holes.

We have removed sections of the interior wall to re-install new studs, plywood, and moisture barrier...along with new ties drilled into the back of the brick veneer. (Btw, it was a two story building.) This is extremely difficult and time consuming, but may be your only course.

Lastly, I’d do a test section and see how it goes. Give it time to cure and see if it works.

  • Lee Sam, Your comment about cleaning 3 sides ( face of mortar, & top & bottom ) of the brick lips, is a issue. The brick ( bed & heads ) are really clean, with no (missing mortar ) do to ( weather aging ). I really hate to grind out what I got on the front of the brick, but as you said above, they need a good cleaning. I’m 66 yrs old and not in the best shape to hold a grinder 22 ft high, how do you suggest I clean them. I know the pointing but this is the only part of the house that has the weeps covered do to the 4” side walk along the side of the garage ( 33 ft wide x 22 ft ) 8* gable. – Oily Tex Apr 24 at 22:48
  • @OilyTex Brick is very porous. It has dirt and oily particles on/in it that need to be removed. Muriatic Acid works best, but not for a DIY’r. They make a brick cleaner that is detergent with some acid. Follow the instructions and make sure all surfaces are clean and rinsed. Otherwise any oil will keep the mortar from bonding to the brick. (You want it done right...not fast.) – Lee Sam Apr 25 at 0:08
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Even after fixing up the mortar, I don't think you'll be very happy with the rain resistance of brick. Brick is naturally a somewhat porious material, and will always let some rain through, especially when mixed with heavy wind. The area behind the brick should both have an outlet for any water that comes through, and should not have anything in contact with the brick that would be damaged by getting wet. (Or there should be a waterproof barrier between it and the brick.) As long as this is the case, it doesn't matter if it leaks like a sieve.

  • 3757614, the Acme brick engineer just called me, from a email I had sent them and he suggested to us ( silane / siloxane). He said it is a repellent, that might slow down the water seepage, but stated once I use it, then adding additional mortar will not be possible because it will stop the very important water adhesion process from ( new mortar to old mortar & brick ), Any of you guys heard of this stuff ? ? ? – Oily Tex Apr 24 at 23:01
  • Yes, adding some kind of sealant on the outside of the brick would help stop water ingress, but your actual problem is that the last owner covered the weep holes. That's the problem you need to fix. That means that your sealing job needs to be perfect, or any water that does get through has no way to escape. – user3757614 Apr 25 at 2:08

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