Can an all brick house leak through the walls?
The answer, in short, is YES!
Water has to be controlled. Around the roof, and house, water can be effectively controlled by gutters and downspouts. If they are not situated properly, or if roof water is not drained properly from the roof to the gutters, back ups and overflows will occur.
A case in point. Just pulling up to this house I predicted the disaster that was to follow.
For quite some time the gutter from the upper roof had been inundating and overflowing the gutter below because the downspout was missing an elbow and there had never been a kick-out flashing installed.
You can see various forms of staining on the brick near, beside and under the gutter.
That staining proceeds all the way to the ground.
The hardwood flooring in the corner of the room just inside this brick work is about 1' below that window sill.
Remember, wood is considered to be saturated at 28% moisture. And when laid on the floor the moisture meter in that corner showed the needle jump to >30%.
Notice that the floor does not appear to be wet!
That would say many things - the walls, floor, sub floor, and walls below would similarly be wet.
And the walls below were demonstrative!
Would that AR had a Smell-O-Blog feature when posting! The basement wall was ripe with mold and the moldy smell was overwhelming!
One thing leads to another.
Of course, on the inspection report I am not allowed to say the word "mold." I have to get around that by using the words "evidence of microbial growth," because we had not done a "mold test." Explain to me the purpose of doing a mold test when the walls look and smell like this?
As an aside at this point -- may I suggest you not waste money on a mold test, but go straight to getting rid of it when you see something like this! The first thing to do during a mold test is to visually inspect for mold!
Mold is never the problem. Mold is a symptom of the problem. And the problem is water intrusion.
DO NOT try to get rid of the mold until the water problems are completely solved!
My recommendation: often problems in a house are a simple set up of bad work done years before. There were gutter problems all over this house, and moisture problems on every level. You would think that homeowners would investigate what caused such a disaster! I would recommend a home inspector! We are an objective bunch, with no financial interest in the findings of an inspection!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560