Your brick (veneer) house may be able to stand up to the “Big Bad Wolf,” but can it stand up to a Western Washington weather?
If you own a home that features brick or brick veneer, water intrusion may seem unlikely, but it’s most definitely not. Both solid brick and brick veneer homes are not waterproof, and care must be taken to protect these elements.
With that in mind, I recently came across an Anacortes home with brick veneer experiencing deterioration. Unfortunately, some of its exterior walls featured spalling mortar and bricks chipping in various areas. To help combat these issues, I always recommend applying a masonry sealant to repel water and prevent future elevated moisture. Freezing conditions—common here in the Pacific Northwest—combined with moisture can lead to brick surfaces that flake and create “soft spots” in the mortar.
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Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections shares a video of water intrusion in a crawl space from a recent home inspection. Water intrusion in crawl spaces is never okay, and should be dealt with by a qualified contractor as it can lead to structural issues and insect damage.
Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections discovered two (2) or more vapor barriers in a crawl space filled with water at a recent Anacortes, WA home inspection. The reason that two (2) or more vapor barriers is frowned upon is because water, if it enters the crawl space, can become entrapped between vapor barriers, prolonging evaporation time and leading to stagnant water conditions. Here in the Pacific NW, water intrusion into a crawl space or basement should be dealt with promptly as it can lead to structural damage/settling and insect activity (e.g., carpenter ants, anobiid beetles and Pacific Dampwood termites are attracted to moist areas). In this particular case, the installation of a perimeter curtain drain was recommended to the clients by a licensed contractor.
Pictured here is active water intrusion (wet spot) and historic water intrusion (water stains) discovered within a side attic at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. Obviously, a roofing contractor will need to further evaluate and make necessary repairs. The issue at this home, unfortunately, is that the ceilings were vaulted (e.g., no attic access) so without invasive inspection, one really doesn’t know what’s going on behind ceiling finishes. With water intrusion, water related issues like mold, deterioration and insect activity should be suspected. Ultimately, I’m not sure if this client heeded my advice to invasive inspect, but I’m hopeful he did.
Standing water was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. If you see standing water or water intrusion in your crawl space, it’s important to deal with it sooner than later as standing water can lead to structural settling and WDO (wood destroying insect) activity/damage in the home, together with moisture related issues within. The longer water intrusion persists, the more expensive the fix typically becomes.
Water intrusion under homes is an issue that is somewhat common in the Pacific Northwest, but very important to repair. Water intrusion and standing water conditions in crawl spaces are most often the result of (1) water intrusion from the exterior (e.g., failed/insufficient perimeter footing drains, gutter downspouts discharging directly adjacent the home, lack of gutters at eaves, improper grading not sloped away from the home, water intrusion directly through the foundation wall itself) or (2) a plumbing leak in the crawl space. Less likely- and really quite rare- is a local spring underneath the home itself which, if you have one, it just needs to be directed out of the crawl space through ditching, drain rock and perforated piping. Continue reading →