"wet" brick on home exterior - help please!

csummerNovember 28, 2013

Hello all - We are in the process of buying a new home, the inspection was last week and came back very clean (only a few minor issues). We drove by the house today to show the kids "their new home" and noticed that patches of the brick on the front of the home appear "wet". It was dry and clear the day of the inspection and several days before but has been very, very rainy the last few days. We looked at the home at three different times and never noticed this issue until today. The home is only 18 months old so I am hoping this is not a real issue but am beginning to get worried. Any ideas of what this could be? I have attached a pic for reference.
I have emailed a contractor and the inspector but just wanted to see if anyone wanted to venture a guess...

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Whether this is serious or not depends on location. Where is the brick wet? It could just be moisture coming through the weep holes in the mortar that are put there for drainage purposes, or it could indicate some serious leakage issue.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 4:22PM
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In a very new house like this one, it's also possible that brick not intended for exterior use somehow got mixed in with the other brick. The photo seems to show relatively large wet patches on the right hand gable end - one patch toward the peak, another beneath the lower windows. Since the surrounding brick appears dry, I would be concerned, Why isn't all of the brick drying at the same rate after a rain? Especially in a cold climate, wet brick is very subject to spalling. The moisture freezes and breaks off the exterior brick surface in small patches.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 5:55AM
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It looks like harmless condensation to me. I'll bet it disappears as soon as the sun hits it.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 6:43AM
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Irrigation gone wild? This time of year, it should be shut off. Just a WAG, but I've been sprayed by irrigation while driving.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 1:45PM
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I agree with trebuchet. I think it's harmless condensation...just the kind my house, with hardiboard siding, has most fall/winter mornings. I originally asked where the brick was wet because I didn't think those huge, slightly darker areas were the moisture you were referring to. I don't think this is an issue. Have you looked at other houses in that neighborhood to see if they have similar types of condensation?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Thank you for the responses - we have seen no signs of saturation inside. We are having an experienced brick mason come out and take a look this week but every "expert" I've spoken with thus far believes it is where a slightly different palette of brick was used. I'm still confused about why this patch of brick seems to take longer to dry after a rain, the difference in the brick is much less noticeable in dry conditions. I did go back and look at the pictures I took of the home on dry days and I can see a slight difference in the brick, but you almost need to know where to look to spot it.

I did drive around the entire neighborhood and did not see any other homes with similar types of condensation or irregularity in the brick at all. I suppose I am relieved that there is likely not a moisture issue but still disappointed that a different brick was used and now I am facing an aesthetic issue...

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 10:16PM
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An experienced mason certainly ought to be able to tell, but I would want to be sure that the "different pallet" was brick manufactured for exterior use, just as I indicated in my first post. Such mistakes can happen when large quantities of brick are used in extensive building projects. Another possibility is a manufacturing glitch that did not fire the different bricks at at either a high enough temperature or long enough.

Attributing those wet areas to "harmless condensation" or irrigation sprinklers (many feet above the ground!?) is just not realistic. You need to find out why these areas are drying at such a slow rate compared to the other bricks. Since you first noticed this after a period of rainy weather, my guess would be that the bricks in question absorbed much more rain water than the others. You need to find out why and how it can be corrected.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:54AM
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You may find this link useful:

Here is a link that might be useful: Brick

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

It is wet where the water was saturated into the brick via the horizontal sills of the home.

Seal the sill with a penetrating mortar/brick sealant like a WaterTite or Siloxane and it will largely eliminate that water saturation.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:53AM
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