I live in a 150-year-old building. The exterior walls are very thick brick (2 layers deep). My apartment's exterior wall has some of this brick exposed (bottom half covered by dry wall, top half is exposed brick for aesthetic purposes I guess) and I think the mortar is starting to give way in at least one spot. The reason I think this is because we're in the middle of a major storm and I have a small-ish wet spot forming centered around a spot where it appears some there's some kind of recess (maybe some grout has chipped away; it's too far for me to get close and see.)

Clearly I need to get someone out here to fix this, but I don't even know what the solution would be. Can you re-grout an existing wall like this? Or apply some kind of sealant? Would a regular contractor be able to deal with this or someone more specialized?

I'm in Colorado, the building is from the mid-19th century, the brick and mortar are (as far as I'm aware) original. There's no insulation, just brick, on these walls. The building is considered historic so the exterior look needs to be preserved -- and the brick is cool so preserving the interior look is also preferred.

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    Sealing for water should be done on the outside for best long term results. Inside work should be considered temp work. If you own the building, it is your money. Rentals/condos/apartments it is the building owners money/responsibility. Will need to find the source of the water, might be from the roof(roofers) or though the wall(brick layers/masonry work).
    – crip659
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 23:30
  • It's a condo, so i don't own the exterior. Getting the HOA to pay for anything like building repair generally ends up in litigation. What are my interior temporary mitigation options? It actually actively leaked a few minutes after i posted -- not much but it sprayed maybe a cup of water across the floor underneath it and then stopped. Commented May 11, 2023 at 23:36
  • Will need any mortar repointed and then can add a sealer to the inside bricks. Depending where you are in the building, this will probably need to be redone every few years, or the water will flow down below you into your neighbours places. Water takes the easiest path, so stopping it at one point will only cause it to go somewhere else.
    – crip659
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 0:11
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    Seems most likely related to a roof problem since my ceiling is leaking now too. :( But thanks. Commented May 12, 2023 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


The condo association must take care of issues like this. It's the law. They need to be made aware that during rain you get water infiltrating your unit. Leaving this unrepaired will result in an unhealthy and dangerous situation. You could be somewhat proactive in asking for a contractor or mason to come and give an opinion and an estimate of costs. Give this info to the board or management company also.

If you get no response and pay for the repairs yourself you probably will have to eat the bill, unless you are brave enough to deduct the cost from your monthly or quarterly fees. That will get their attention. Then be prepared to fight for your rights. Courts here in Fla. have ruled that owners who have not received proper repairs in reasonable time can order their own repairs and be reimbursed for their expenses.

  • Yes, make sure you have a documented paper trail, informing the condo board/HOA of the issue. You don't want to end up another Surfside.
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 16:31

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