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Brick wall showing signs of freeze/thaw issues

matmarcum | Posted in General Questions on
Hello, all:
I have a client with an office building in climate zone five. The brick walls are all the near except for some detail walls with some diagonal/slanted brick details. All of the veneer walls are not having any issues, but all of the walls below the slanted brick detail have bricks with their faces degrading and disintegrating/bursting off.  
I’m not able to identify any weep holes or water management strategy for these slant-top areas.  From what I can tell, water is entering the assembly, gravity draining throughout and as the mass wall becomes frozen at the surface beneath these slanted areas, the surface of the brick freezes, bursts and crumbles.

My knee-jerk reaction is to cap those slanted details with some metal, be super careful with my details and see how that works until any new issues may arise.

Would this be an unwise course of action?  Any helpful advice would be very much appreciated!

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  1. Expert Member
    AKOS TOTH | | #1

    My experience is limited to mostly dealing with older houses.

    Overall any kind of brick horizontal surface is a bad idea, it will always allow water into the wall. Some type of coping is always the best (metal, stone or terracotta). Usually those types of walls would show a fair bit of damage near the top though.

    My guess would be the bigger culprit is the paint. Lot of times older brick that is painted with oil based paints will tend to spall like that as the paint traps moisture. Sometimes people try to put a sealer coating on brick which can also create similar problems. It would be good to check if there are multiple layers of paint on there and what they are.

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