- A visual examination of the condition of the cladding, exterior sealants, flashing, windows, doors, roof to cladding transitions, parapets, gutters, deck to building connections, cladding terminations and any penetrations through the cladding.
- Conducting of random electronic moisture scanning of the building envelope.
- Preparing a report of the observations of potential problem areas and recording any high readings found.
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The stucco inspection may include several pieces of equipment. First the walls were scanned with a Tramex Wet Wall Meter for general moisture levels (available on EIFS applications only). The meter indicated higher relative moisture readings in numerous areas around the home. The areas that tested at 80 – 100% of Relative Moisture are then further tested with a Delmhorst Deep Wall Meter for actual elevated moisture readings.
During the stucco inspection, all areas that would be tested with the Delmhorst meter are then also tested with a Structural Resistance Tester (SRT) for the condition of the substrate in that area. The SRT test the strength of the substrate in pounds per square inch (PSI). All structural materials exceed a 50 PSI rating unless the material has been degraded by moisture or other previous damage.
More about EIFS and Stucco Inspection
Applications use a cement based product that is applied over a metal wire reinforcing system. The stucco is applied in one or more layers of the product up to and including the finishing coat. The stucco is mechanically attached to the substrate wall (usually Oriented Strand Board – OSB or plywood). The substrate wall is screwed or nailed to the stud supports of the structure.
A weather barrier to protect the wood wall is required for all stucco applications. This type of wall system requires the special caulking detail to seal the system. The inspection of these type of systems take more time because the holes must be drilled through the stucco so the cost is slightly higher.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)
Can be divided into several types of systems. The most common classes of the EIF systems are Polymer Based (PB) and Polymer Modified (PM). Type PB EIFS are the most common type. The vast majority of Type PB EIFS consist of adhesively-attached expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation and glass reinforced synthetic surface coatings. The EPS is adhesively attached to the substrate wall (usually Oriented Strand Board – OSB or gypsum board).
The substrate wall is screwed or nailed to the stud supports of the structure. Once the EPS is in place, the base coat is applied in a continuous layer to the EPS and a reinforcing mesh is embedded in the base coat. A finish coat (which can be varying colors and textures) is then applied.
Can also be categorized by design: (1) Barrier-type and (2) Drainable-type. The first design, barrier-type, relies entirely on the outside/exterior surfaces of the system to prevent penetration of water into the structure. The design intent is to seal the outside surface in order to prevent water from intruding beyond the surface and into the substructure. Flashing, sealants and termination details are critical to the barrier design because the design does not account for water leakage and has no internal drainage mechanism.
If water or moisture penetrates beyond the surface of the cladding, it becomes trapped behind the system; the only way out of the wall is through the slow process of diffusion through the interior and exterior walls. This can raise the humidity levels in the structure above the minimum level necessary to support fungal growth that would consume the wood based cellulose materials that form the structural members of the building
The second EIF system is called a Drainable-type system
This design utilizes one or more moisture drainage planes or systems to keep the water sensitive substrate and structure dry by providing a mechanism for the drainage of water out of the system in the event that moisture penetrates the outer surface. Unlike a barrier-type system, the drainable system incorporates the presence of an internal (secondary) weather/moisture barrier and means of draining water to the exterior of the system. Drainable EIF systems were not widely used in residential construction.
Barrier-type EIF systems
No longer being used in residential construction. The 2000 International Residential Code (IRC) now requires that all EIFS shall have a weather-resistant barrier applied between the underlying water sensitive building components and the exterior insulation, and a means of draining water to the exterior of the structure. The IRC requires that the weather resistant barrier shall be compliant with ASTM 226 Type 1 requirements.
Stucco Inspections Minimum $450 .20¢ / sqft
EIFS Inspection Minimum $450 .18¢ / sqft
All square footage is calculated on living area plus garage.
Learn more about the problems with EIFS.
There are insurance programs available for EIFS and Stucco homes. You can learn more about these programs at Moisture Free Warranty.