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Community and Q&A

Fixing a structural brick remodel gone bad

chicagofarbs | Posted in General Questions on

Hello Everyone –

Quick background:

My wife and I bought a historic (1914) structural brick home in summer of 2020, that was a full gut rehab/remodel, sold by the builder.  The typical wall assembly turned out to be: (exterior) 3 wythe brick -> 2×4 wood frame pulled off the interior brick face stuffed with kraft faced fiberglass batt -> 5/8″ gyp board (interior).  Obviously not what we were hoping for, and should have been a red flag when the builder did not want to disclosure all the construction info ahead of closing…but here we are.

After the first winter season (CZ5), we have experienced a number of issues.  Water leakage at window openings had us concerned about larger amounts of water living inside the walls.  We had a consultant come out and investigate a few key areas of home, revealing that the interior face of the brick wall was frozen over.  We also found in the basement walls, fiberglass batt is pushed up right against a dimple drain mat, that was applied to the lower half of the below grade wall (drainage mat is supposed to drain into an interior perimeter drainage tile).   As the weather has warmed up, we discovered that our lawn, along side the house, is littered with brick/mortar remnants.  All this, just after the houses first winter season…

We are not only concerned for our health (mold from continual wetting of interior materials), but also for the longevity of the materials (bricks already spalling, how long until floor/roof joists start to rot in their masonry pockets).


1.  It saddens us to cover up the exterior brick house, but we are pursuing an exterior solution: fluid applied air/water barrier -> continuous rigid insulation -> new cladding/rainscreen (per the “Deep Dish” article/paper by Building Science Corporation).  What should be addressed on the interior of the home?  Should all fiberglass come out?  Should all drywall come out?  

2.  To what degree does the exterior brick need to be addressed if it is all going to be protected and covered up?  Should particularly bad areas still be re-pointed?  Or do you simply clean and prepare it to receive its makeover? 

3.  If we are going through all the trouble to fix the exterior wall, what other things should we be considering?

Any insight is appreciated!


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  1. chicagofarbs | | #1

    Bumping for the weekday crowd.

    Would love a discussion on this, given how unorthodox this approach is (people hate to cover up their precious brick).

    Or if anyone has any professional recommendations to reach out to, that would be great. I'm trying to get in touch with someone at Building Science Corp.


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