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The Evolution of the Weep-Hole

Chiu, Alison Chih Wai

Uncontrolled water intrusion through the envelope is perhaps the most common and insidious threat to success of a building's performance and its structural integrity. Introducing weep-holes into wall construction is one method meant to mitigate issues associated with dampness, by providing an outlet for drainage at the base of the wall cavity. The use of these small, interstitial elements is crucial to the long-term welfare of our building stock and also indirectly, to the health and well-being of building inhabitants. A major campaign to prevent dampness, stimulated by public health concerns in America and abroad during the 19th century, led to widespread development and use of the brick cavity wall in building construction. The hollow space within these double-wythe walls acted as an additional layer of weather protection and as a thermal barrier, but was also a new location where water could collect. This research traces the development of early cavity wall construction methods and theories employed in response to dampness problems during the late 19th century, and investigates concepts behind the rise in application of the weep-hole during the early 20th century.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Thomas-Haney, Helen M.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 4, 2012