Brick exteriors are quite popular, but did your builder take the time to consider leak problems with brick window sills? Let us take a look at how these sills should be made, and what may cause leaks.
I recognize that there are many sellers out there complaining about the buyer’s home inspector, and Realtors calling us deal killers. Warning: this post deals with one of those issues, where a person may argue that I am being too detailed, and that I am making an observation that there is a problem, when no problem exists. I will admit that certain issues may not be an issue at the time of my report. They may never be a problem. However, something on the house was built incorrectly, and a problem could ensue. Therefore, I have the responsibility to make a comment. Brick window sills can be the cause of a leak at the window, when not installed properly.
You see no issue with this brick window sill, do you? The brick is angled down, so rain coming down to the sill should drain away from the window. Yet the angle of this sill is not very great. Bricks are not always flat, smooth surfaces that allow water to flow freely.The brick should be angled to a greater degree to ensure water flow. This angle was quite common in brick homes built in the last twenty years (1990 to 2010). My home was built in 1964, and the brick window sills were angled more. This is one of the indicators of a problem facing the building industry: the workers may not know the correct way to install some features on your home. The workers were trained by the supervisor, who himself was trained by someone who did not know. Good building managers will correct this knowledge, but some managers do not know, and no one informs them (or they do not listen to the people informing them).
What happens with this brick? You will not see this often, but if the water has the chance to pool, that water can then find another way down. Maybe under the window sill. Once a flow of water has started, more water coming down the window pane due to the rain will follow. This is the cause of some leaks. Most leaks that I see on the interiors near windows are caused by other issues, but this photo is a good demonstration of one problematic condition.
What is the solution? You can have a mason rebuild this sill in brick at a better angle (more than 15 degrees). Another solution is replacing the brick with a wood sill. This can be a nice decorative feature, if it fits in with the style of your home. There are also other materials which can be used, as long as you can angle the sill to shed the water. However, this may not be for you. This is an expense. You may need the money for other projects, and again, you may not be having a problem on a newer home, but as the home ages, the chances of an issue increase. This is because the brick deteriorates. Evaluate your own brick sill to see if you may need to worry about this kind of brick window sill.