Everything You Need to Know About Weep Holes

Nick P. Cellucci
Written by Nick P. Cellucci
Updated October 11, 2022
A large brick house with a yard
Photo: steheap / Adobe Stock


  • Weep holes are small openings in brick walls and windows.

  • Moisture trapped behind walls can cause structural damage.

  • Weep holes drain out water trapped in walls and windows.

  • Avoid drilling new holes yourself and rely on pros for repairs.

  • Avoid clogging or covering weep holes except with proper screens.

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Brick siding on a home is sturdy and beautiful, but also porous. If moisture gets trapped behind your brick walls, it can cause leaks or lead to other serious damage. But fear not—that’s where weep holes come in. 

Learn how these important openings in your walls and windows let your brick home breathe, plus find out what you can do to properly maintain them.

What Is a Weep Hole?

A weep hole is an opening designed to let water escape from the building envelope of a home. The walls, roof, floors, windows, doors, and everything else that separates the inside wood frame structure of a home from the outside are considered part of the building envelope. This outer barrier protects and insulates the home’s interior, but a brick home needs weep holes to prevent moisture from building up inside and leaking into the home.

When moisture gets behind your walls, it can cause mold, mildew, and rot. Without functioning weep holes, you may eventually have costly structural issues like decaying studs.

An illustration showing a weep hole’s location within a brick wall

Where Are Weep Holes Located?

Look closely—they’re easy to miss. You may find weep holes when you examine your exterior brick walls or windows.

Weep Holes in Brick Siding

Weep holes are often located at the bottom of brick exterior walls. They look like vertical gaps in the mortar joints between bricks. Because brick masonry is porous, water may penetrate the surface and get behind the wall. Weep holes allow water to exit as gravity pulls it to the bottom of the wall, just above the foundation. You’ll find them above doors, windows, and any openings.

Weep Holes on Windows

A white house window as seen from outside
Photo: tete_escape / Adobe Stock

Weep holes can also be found inside window tracks. The look can vary depending on the age and model of the window, but they’re typically black rectangular flaps with a horizontal sliver of daylight shining through the middle. These flaps let water exit one way without allowing any in. They prevent water from sitting on the sill and causing rot.

What to Do If Your Home Doesn’t Have Weep Holes

Some brick homes may not have weep holes. This can be the case with an older home, or if a previous owner mistakenly caulked over them. If you own or plan to buy a brick home that doesn’t have weep holes, don’t try to drill any on your own. Drilling holes in the wrong place may only make moisture and pest problems worse.

If your home doesn’t seem to have moisture issues and a home inspection confirms this, you likely don’t need to do anything. If you do have a moisture problem and suspect that a lack of weep holes is the cause, hire a local home inspector to check your home and recommend specific action. The cost of brick wall repairs can be costly depending on how much work is required, so it’s best to get ahead of any problems.

Proper Weep Hole Maintenance

If your home has weep holes, it’s important to ensure that they continue to function the way they should. Follow these tips to properly maintain your home’s weep holes.

  • Never seal, paint, or caulk over weep holes. Sealed holes won’t allow water to escape, forcing it inside and causing leaks or damaging the structure of your home.

  • Use weep hole covers. You can buy grated covers or screens designed for weep holes, which allow air and water to flow out while blocking pests from getting in.

  • Keep vegetation away. Don’t allow garden plants to cover your weep holes or attract pests. A good rule of thumb is to keep plants at least 18 inches away from weep holes.

  • Clear out debris. Make sure that your window weep holes stay clear of dirt.

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