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  • Anthony Flores

IS WEEP SCREED NECESSARY?

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


A photo of proper weep screed clearance from grade


Is Weep Screed Necessary?


Attention to detail and adherence to building codes are crucial in construction practices to ensure long-lasting structures. The weep screed is a component that is often overlooked but plays a vital role in preventing moisture-related issues. In this article, we will discuss if a weep screed is necessary, what it is, why it is required, its purpose, and the significance of maintaining proper clearance from the ground. Also, is weep screed an item that should be inspected when preparing to sell your home?


What is Weep Screed?


A weep screed is a component typically made of metal or vinyl that is installed at the base of exterior walls during construction. It serves as a drainage plane and provides a passage for moisture to escape from the wall assembly. Weep screeds are commonly used in stucco and exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) installations. To ensure proper installation of weep screeds, a thorough evaluation of the entire system must be conducted during a home inspection.



A photo of weep screed properly installed

What does a Weep Screed do?


The primary purpose of a weep screed is to facilitate proper drainage of moisture that may penetrate the exterior cladding or seep into the wall assembly. It helps prevent water accumulation and potential damage caused by moisture, such as mold growth, wood rot, and deterioration of the building materials.


How does a Weep Screed Work?


Weep screeds are designed with small drainage holes or gaps that allow water to exit the wall system. The screed is installed with a downward slope, typically a minimum of 1/4 inch per foot, directing water away from the building. This slope encourages the water to drain and helps prevent it from infiltrating the wall assembly, which could lead to structural damage or moisture-related problems.


Importance of Proper Clearance from Grade:


It's important to install a weep screed, but it's equally important to make sure there's proper clearance from the ground. This clearance refers to the distance between the bottom of the weep screed and the surrounding ground level. Building codes usually have specific requirements for this clearance, which can range from a few inches to a couple of feet depending on the region and climate.



A photo of a structure with missing weep screed

What is Weep Screed used for?

  1. Moisture Prevention: Adequate clearance prevents water from splashing up against the exterior wall during rainstorms or irrigation. This helps protect the wall assembly from excess moisture and minimizes the potential for water intrusion.

  2. Air Circulation: Sufficient clearance allows for proper air circulation behind the exterior cladding, which aids in drying out any moisture that may be present. This reduces the likelihood of moisture-related issues, such as mold growth.

  3. Pest Control: By keeping the weep screed clear of debris and maintaining proper clearance from grade, it becomes less attractive to pests like termites, ants, and rodents. It creates an additional barrier against potential infestations, as pests are less likely to find easy access points.

  4. Longevity of the Structure: Correct installation and maintenance of weep screeds, along with proper clearance from grade, contribute to the durability and longevity of the building. By preventing moisture-related damage, the structure remains structurally sound and aesthetically appealing for years to come.


At Turn Key Property Inspectors, paying attention during a home inspection to seemingly minor components like weep screeds and ensuring proper clearance from grade can have a substantial impact on the longevity and integrity of a building. By providing an outlet for moisture and preventing water intrusion, weep screeds play a crucial role in protecting the structure from potential damage. As responsible builders and homeowners, it is vital to understand the significance of these components and adhere to building codes to create long-lasting, moisture-resistant buildings.


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