Building & pest inspections – why weep holes are important

One of the main items our building inspector and our pest inspector will both be looking at during our purchase inspections are the weep holes in brick veneer homes.

The reasons why weep holes are important?

  • They provide ventilation to the wall cavities. This ventilation will help to prevent dampness, mildew and dry rot affecting the internal components of a dwelling.
  • Weep holes also provide a drainage system to allow water, flooding and condensation to escape the wall cavity.

 

How do weep holes work?

Moisture from heavy rain, flooding and also accidental flooding inside your home can enter in to the wall cavity by soaking through the brickwork or internal linings. Weep holes are installed just below the slab height of a dwelling to provide a drainage system to remove any moisture inside the wall cavity. The moisture can safely drain out through the weep holes to protect the internal components of your home from damage. A weep hole that becomes blocked can cause water retention in the cavity, so regular inspections of the weep holes are important.

 

How do you maintain weep holes?

Weep holes should be visible at all times. Image of weep hole in brickwork Property owners should be careful not to place any obstructions such as foliage, mulch, stones, timbers or stored goods up against or close to weep holes. Obstructions can provide a bridge or pathway for pests, including termites to enter in to your home. Trim back foliage regularly and keep dirt, mulch, stones, paths and timbers at least 75mm below a weep hole. Inspections of all weep holes should be undertaken on a regular basis, checking for blockages or any signs of pest or termite entry. Signs of termite activity may appear as termite mud, tracking in to the weep hole. If you find signs of termite activity, do not disturb the mudding or the termites and do not spray the termites with insect spray. Contact a professional as soon as possible to assess the activity for you.

Air-conditioners, hot water systems and weep holes

Make sure that any external fixtures such as hot water systems or air conditioning units etc are not obstructing the clear view of any weep holes.

Timber decking and weep holes

Timber decking, partly encumbering weep hole If possible avoid the construction of timber decking up against weep holes or decking that is obstructing the view of weep holes. If you own or purchase a property with existing decking that is obstructing visibility of weep holes, ensure an access point is constructed so that regular viewing of the weep holes is still possible. (E.g. Access can be a section of the decking that can be lifted easily to provide weephole visibility or a gate opening underneath the decking providing visibility/crawl access )

External rendering and weep holes

When applying  rendering to the external walls of a dwelling, make sure that the weep holes are still left visible and clear of obtructions during this process. If you are purchasing a brick veneer property with external rendering applied, check for the visibility of weep holes. If no weep holes are visible, then investigate further into the reason for their concealment.

 

Download our fact sheet about Weep holes

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