The owner of a building I am working on has selected a brick with very high absorption. Do high-absorption bricks also have high permeability? If so, how can I build a brick wall that doesn't leak?
The permeability of the units themselves generally will not impact the overall water penetration rate of a masonry wall. However, high-absorption bricks may have a high IRA as well. Masonry units with a high IRA will impact the overall water penetration, unless the units are wetted before being installed in the wall. This is because they draw water from the mortar, drying out the mortar bed surface before the next unit is laid. This can result in poor contact, weak bond, and high water penetration rates.