EIFS/Synthetic Stucco Inspections
What is the scope of the EIFS/Synthetic Stucco inspection?
The Purpose of the Stucco Moisture Analysis is to assess the condition of the stucco system, looking for visible installation flaws, inadequate water diversion and sealant failures and conduct random moisture readings using electronic moisture devices. Please note that the provision of a scope of work for remedial repairs is not the purpose of this inspection. Further investigation may be needed to determine the extent of water damage, if any, and how best to modify your home to address any moisture problems that may be indicated by this inspection.
The stucco inspection is limited to the following sealants, flashing, windows, doors, roof-to-stucco transitions, parapets, gutters, deck-to-building connections, stucco terminations, and any penetrations through the stucco. Conducting of random electronic moisture scanning of the building envelope. Preparing a report of our observations of potential problem areas and recording any high readings found.
FAQ's about Synthetic Stucco Inspection
1. Why do I need a synthetic stucco/EIFS inspection? Isn't that covered by my home inspection?
With the exception of the drainable EIFS systems that many of the manufacturers have now introduced, conventional stucco and EIF systems do not have any built-in drainage capabilities for incidental moisture. Rather, the design intent was that no moisture should ever get behind the stucco. When water does leak behind the stucco, it becomes trapped. The only way out is through evaporation-a slow process for an enclosed wall cavity. In a wet climate such as we have in the south, it may never have a chance to dry out between rains as long as the leaks continue. Mold, mildew, wallboard damage, rotten sheathing and studs, carpenter ants, and termites can all result-depending upon how long it has been leaking. When these systems utilize oriented strand board (OSB) as the substrate for the stucco, which is common in the residential market, the potential for more serious water damage increases. Most home inspectors lack the expertise necessary to properly assess the waterproofing integrity of stucco systems unless they have been certified through EDI, AWCI, or NWCB to perform these stucco inspections.
2. How and why could a stucco system leak if it was designed to keep water out?
Not all EIFS or stucco houses leak, although they will at some point in the future if not properly maintained. Others, however, leak from construction onward. Leaks can occur due to various factors, including installation flaws, inadequate water diversion and sealant failures, poor quality windows, cracks in the stucco and other factors.
3. I've been living in the house for two years, wouldn't I know it if I had leaks?
It is not uncommon for water damage to be hidden from view by furniture, closets, etc. or it can be inside the wall cavity. Damage starts at the sheathing and works its way inward. Many times, by the time leaks or water damage becomes noticeable to the owner, extensive damage has occurred inside the wall cavity. This is why an initial screening and regular (semi-annual or annual) inspections are so important.
4. What is the scope of the inspection?
The Purpose of the Stucco Moisture Analysis is to access the condition of the stucco system, looking for visible installation flaws, inadequate water diversion and sealant failures and conduct random moisture readings using electronic moisture devices. Please note that the provision of a scope of work for remedial repairs is not the purpose of this inspection. Further investigation may be needed to determine the extent of water damage, if any, and how best to modify your home to address any moisture problems that may be indicated by this inspection.
5. Is there a guarantee?
Because this is a limited inspection, we can make no guarantee, express or implied, that our observations and random moisture readings offer conclusive evidence that no installation or moisture problems exist, or that problems found are all-inclusive. Nor does a high moisture reading offer conclusive evidence that a problem exists; false readings, while infrequent, do sometimes occur. The combination of a trained eye, experience, education and moisture meter readings is what makes this screening process effective.
6. Will the inspection find any hidden wood rot?
Our policy is to rely on moisture meter readings as an indicator of relative moisture values between different test spots, not as an absolute value of water content in the substrate. It is impossible to determine if the structural wood of your home has been damaged without removing a core sample of the stucco to allow for visual inspection.
7. How long will the inspection take?
The EIFS/synthetic stucco moisture analysis typically takes 2 to 5 hours, depending upon the size of the building.
8. Do I need to be present for the inspection?
Although your presence is not necessary, you are strongly encouraged to attend the inspection, walk around with the inspector and ask questions. This is your inspection, make the most of it!
9. How much does the inspection cost?
The fee for service is determined by the square footage of the home, number of stories, and location.
10. How often should my home be inspected?
A repair follow-up inspection should be conducted within three months after completion of the repairs to assess the effectiveness of the moisture modifications. Annual inspections should also be scheduled to ensure that your stucco system remains dry. Also, should you decide to sell your home, annual inspections and maintenance documentation will be a valuable selling tool, providing evidence to show that your home has been tested, inspected and maintained on a regular basis by a reputable and qualified firm.
With the proper care and maintenance, your stucco system should give you many years of beauty and function. The beautiful architectural designs made possible by synthetic stucco systems make these homes very desirable and marketable.
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