Is Your Drainage Cavity “Clean” Enough?
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Is Your Drainage Cavity “Clean” Enough?

Masonry restoration in Massachusetts from AbbotMany brick repointing projects call for the addition of drainage cavities to protect the building and masonry walls from the damaging effects of moisture penetration. The most important aspect to these cavities is that they properly drain moisture away from the masonry. This can be accomplished by keeping the cavity clean and clear of excessive debris and fallen mortar.

The overall purpose of the drainage cavity is to drain off excess water before it has time to penetrate the interior of the masonry. For proper wall construction and to minimize mortar fins, bridging, and droppings, cavities should be nominally 2” clear.

How clean does a drainage cavity actually have to be? As long as the cavity allows water to drain to the flashing material to avoid damage to the masonry wall, it is clean enough. Only when the operations and functions of proper draining have been obstructed is cleaning excess mortar droppings or protrusions necessary.

It is important that the key members involved in the project, including the building owner, architect, and contractor, agree upon setting realistic expectations for the task at hand. It is to be expected that mortar droppings and protrusions may partially obstruct the drainage cavity. However, it is typically neither cost effective nor necessary to remove these obstacles to allow for proper drainage.

For more information about masonry restoration in Massachusetts, contact Abbot Building Restoration at 617-445-0274.

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