What & When to Repair
The Foundation/Drainage System Site Drainage
Losing Connections. With no ground leader, the downspout pours all of its water into the ground next to the foundation. The water seeps into the foundation--underground--and rises up through the brick by means of capillary action. As the moisture evaporates out of the wall aboveground, the mortar in the joints softens and falls out. Then, rainwater easily enters the masonry through the open joints, accelerating deterioration.
Re-Connecting. A ground leader attached to the downspout channels water at least five feet away from the foundation. The ground next to the building is also graded so it slopes away from the foundation. Mortar joints have been repointed to keep rainwater out of the brick masonry system. The white, lime-rich repointing mortar matches the strength characteristics of this particular 19th century masonry. Plan your work: Inspect yearly during a rainstorm to identify water pathways. Keep water moving away from the building. Check downspouts and ground leaders monthly for proper operation. Maintenance tip: Install underground drainage lines if moving ground leaders is too much trouble during lawn mowing. Control lawn sprinkling to keep water off of the building.