Synthetic Stucco (EIFS) Inspections
What is Synthetic Stucco?
Synthetic stucco is a multi-layered exterior wall system that is used on both commercial buildings and homes. This type of exterior system is also referred to as an Exterior Insulation & Finish System or EIFS. The multiple layers consist of an inner layer of foam insulation board that is secured to the exterior wall surface. This is followed by a middle layer of a polymer and cement base that is reinforced with a glass fiber mesh. The outer layer consists of a textured finish coat. EIFS layers bond together to form a covering that doesn't breathe. EIFS must be correctly installed and maintained if they are to perform properly. Otherwise, moisture can get behind the systems and cause damage, just as it can with other cladding products. This is referred to as water intrusion.
Why are water intrusion inspections recommended?
Water intrusion damage on synthetic stucco structures typically has been traced to the use of poor quality windows and/or improper flashing and sealing. Periodic maintenance should include inspection of the flashing and sealing to ensure that the building remains watertight. Damaged or missing flashing should be repaired or replaced immediately. Additionally, cracked or deteriorated sealants should be repaired, or removed and replaced. For these reasons, water intrusion inspections are recommended once every year.
What occurs during a water intrusion inspection?
Click on any of the following pictures illustrating evidence of high moisture content and/or water damaged trim. The images will open in a new window.
- The exterior of the house is evaluated and tested using A Tramex, Wet Wall Detector, non intrusive, moisture meter where applicable.
- The base of all EIFS penetrations are probed and tested using a Tramex, deep probe moisture meter.
- Moisture readings less than 20% are as dry as any exterior cladding material can be and are excellent.
- Moisture readings between 20% and 29%: The source of the water intrusion should be identified. Appropriate corrective action should be taken to stop the entrance of water. In many cases a particular detail may be corrected, or additional caulking installed as a satisfactory corrective measure.
- Moisture readings above 30%: This is the fiber saturation point for wood. The EIFS at these areas should be removed so the framing can be inspected for rot and decay. Any damaged areas should be repaired or replaced.
- The exterior surface of the EIFS is examined for any signs of bulges or cracking.
- All areas are checked for flashing where needed. The flashing is inspected for proper performance and for leaks.
- The sealants and trim around all windows and doors is inspected for water damage.
- The attic and crawlspace areas are inspected for evidence of water penetration.
What occurs after a water intrusion inspection?
A detailed report of our inspection will be given to the homeowner. Although we do not perform repairs, we can recommend reputable contractors for the repair of any damages noted in the report or for the further evaluation of suspect areas.
In addition, homeowners should consider obtaining a warranty for protecting their stucco home and keeping its cladding dry. One such company that provides this type of warranty and with whom we would recommend their services is Moisture Warranty Corporation, www.moisturewarranty.com. They offer MositureFree warranties in 1, 3, and 5-year terms that are easily renewable and fully transferable.
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