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Water leakage at flashings

There is a water leakage problem between the gym and the remainder of a recently completed school building. The flashings were installed improperly in this area with the front edge held back from the face of the wall and the unsealed splice joints. There were many other locations in the building where the flashings were also installed improperly. Why is this the only location that is leaking? The masonry contractor reported that he had installed flashings in this manner in many buildings over the last 20 years without a leakage problem of this magnitude. How can this be the case? Read more

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Possible water problems

Shortly after completing the walls on a new two-story office building, we noticed that the insulation in the cavity walls was not taped or adhered to the backup, as required by the project specifications. The walls are 4-inch face brick with an 8-inch concrete masonry backup. The wall system is 22-inches thick with 2 inches of rigid polystyrene insulation. There are several areas where the insulation is not tight against the backup, but instead, is occasionally in contact with the back of the veneer wythe.We are concerned that the lack of tape on the insulation joints and the fact that the insulation boards were not adhered to the backup may contribute to water leakage problems after the building is completed. Will this condition likely cause future problems? Should the walls be rebuilt before further money is spent on adding interior finishes? Read more

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Are walls water damaged?

Our firm designed an insulated masonry cavity wall system using 4-inch split face concrete masonry veneer with an 8-inch reinforced concrete masonry backup. The veneer wythe contained an integral water repellent admixture in both the concrete units and mortar. The interior wythe was conventional concrete masonry. The masonry contractor constructed these cavity walls in the fall. In February we learned that the tops of the masonry walls were left uncovered throughout the late fall and winter. We are concerned that these walls were damaged by freezing water or that they are storing so much water that it will lead to excessive efflorescence in the spring. We cannot see any signs of a problem, but how can we determine whether the walls have internal damage as a result of water entering at the tops during construction? Will the saturated masonry walls lead to excessive efflorescence problems? Should we open up the head joints at the top of the wall to create vents in order to help dry out the walls? Also, the interior surface of the concrete masonry will be painted. How long should we wait before doing that job? Read more

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Leaks in Single Wythe Walls

Most clay masonry walls built today are veneers over steel studs, wood studs, or concrete block. Water that penetrates the exterior masonry is handled by the cavity and flashing at the base of the wall. But what about walls that have a single wythe of concrete masonry units ù wonÆt these walls leak? Read more

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Single-Wythe CMU Concerns

The majority of clay masonry walls built today are cavity walls. Water that penetrates the exterior masonry will be handled by the cavity and flashing at the base of the wall. There are, however, many walls still being built with single-wythe concrete masonry units. Won't these be prone to leak? Read more

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Lake and River Water

Q. Can lake or river water be used when mixing mortar for masonry construction? Read more

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Use Flashing in Ungrouted Integral-Water-Repellent CMU Walls

Are flashing systems required in ungrouted concrete masonry walls that have integral admixtures to prevent water penetration? Read more

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Keeping Clear Water Repellents Clear

If specifiers and applicators don't take care, the following seven factors can discolor a wall. Read more

Tags: Water
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New Thinking on Water-Repellent Coatings for Brick Masonry

The Brick Institute of America (BIA) used to discourage the use of clear water-repellent coatings on clay brick masonry in most situations Read more

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Measuring Water Penetration

Masonry walls that leak create problems for contractors, architects, and owners. Water that passes through exterior walls can damage interior wall finishes, floor coverings, ceilings, and building contents. Read more

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