Doug Horgan/BOWA

As a high-end remodeling firm in the Washington, D.C., metro area, our company works on many homes that have brick and stone exteriors. We sub out most of the masonry work, and getting the details right sometimes requires careful supervision. We pay particular attention to through-wall flashing, especially at roofs and above and below windows. The through-wall flashing at the head and sill must be planned before the masons are even hired, and we have to be sure the masons follow our plans closely because getting the details wrong is a sure-fire path to water problems.

That was the clear case on one recent job. Our work involved enclosing an open second-story deck above a kitchen. When scoping out the job, we learned that there was a leak: Water was coming through the recessed light in the soffit above the sink, which faced a large window. This window had previously been fixed by another contractor, and from...

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