Methods to Prevent Water Penetration in Brick Masonry Walls

Methods to Prevent Water Penetration in Brick Masonry Walls

Water penetration in brick masonry walls can lead to various problems such as efflorescence, deterioration of mortar joints, interior moisture damage, and spalling.

It is crucial to prevent water ingress and address any existing issues in order to maintain the structural integrity of the wall. In this article, we will discuss effective methods to prevent water penetration in brick masonry walls.


Methods to Prevent Water Penetration in Brick Masonry Walls

1. Replacement of Sealant of Joints in Masonry Wall:

Regularly inspect the sealants at expansion joints and between the masonry wall and other elements such as doors and windows. Damaged or deteriorated sealants can allow water to penetrate the wall. If any issues are detected, promptly replace the sealant to ensure a watertight barrier.

2. Grouting of Mortar Joints:

Hairline cracks in mortar joints provide pathways for water to seep into the masonry wall. To address this problem, apply grout to seal the cracks. Before applying grout, wet the mortar joints to ensure a good bond, and then use a strong fiber brush to force the grout into the cracks, effectively sealing them.

3. Tuck Pointing Mortar Joints:

Deteriorated or cracked mortar joints can also lead to water penetration. Tuck pointing is a process that involves removing damaged mortar from the joint and replacing it with fresh mortar. Skilled professionals should perform this task to ensure a proper seal and prevent any damage to the bricks during mortar removal.

4. Ivy Removal to Prevent Water Penetration:

In some cases, ivy growing on the exterior of masonry walls can contribute to water penetration, particularly when the ivy shoots penetrate voids in the mortar. To prevent moisture ingress, it is necessary to remove the ivy. Cut and remove the ivy shoots after they have dried, which usually takes less than a month. If any mortar joints are cracked or damaged during the removal process, perform tuck pointing to repair them.

5. Opening Weep Holes in Masonry Walls:

Poorly spaced weep holes or debris obstructing existing weep holes can cause water to accumulate within the brick masonry wall. To rectify this issue, introduce new weep holes or clean the existing ones using appropriate methods. This ensures proper drainage of water and prevents it from pooling within the wall.

6. Replacement of Deteriorated Masonry Walls:

When moisture causes cracking and spalling of masonry units, it becomes necessary to remove the deteriorated sections and replace them with new brick units. The process involves removing the mortar with chisels, breaking down the damaged masonry unit, cleaning the area, wetting the surface, and positioning the new brick unit in its original place. Excess mortar should be carefully removed to ensure a seamless integration.

7. Installation of Damp Proof Course:

Water can move upward within masonry walls, leading to moisture-related issues. Installing a damp proof course helps prevent this upward movement of water. There are two methods for installing a damp proof course: inserting a chemical damp proof layer into the masonry wall or removing a brick course, installing the damp proof layer, and then replacing the masonry units.

8. Installation of Flashing:

Flashing plays a vital role in preventing water penetration into the interior of a masonry building. Damaged, improperly placed, or missing flashing can allow water to enter. To address this issue, it may be necessary to remove the brick masonry, replace the flashing, and reinstall the bricks to ensure a watertight seal.


Preventing water penetration in brick masonry walls is essential to avoid structural damage and maintain the integrity of the building. By employing methods such as replacing sealants, grouting mortar joints, tuck pointing, ivy removal, opening weep holes, replacing deteriorated masonry, installing damp proof course, and installing flashing, you can significantly reduce the risk of water ingress.

Regular inspection and maintenance of brick masonry walls are crucial to identify and address any water penetration issues promptly, ensuring the longevity of the structure.

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