Stucco/eifs inspections and moisture analysis
Southern Source Inspections offers both residential and commercial inspection clients a full range of Stucco and Exterior Insulated Finish Systems (EIFS) inspections. We are certified by the Exterior Design Institute (EDI) as a Third Party EIFS inspector, Moisture Analyst, and Quality Control Inspector (EDI# LA-041).
A standard home inspection does not include the inspection of stucco and EIFS. Full inspection of these types of cladding systems is considered a specialty inspection and includes a series of tests performed on the home's exterior and interior surfaces to determine moisture levels beneath the cladding system. This is the ONLY way to determine your home's stucco or EIFS integrity and water tightness. Both stucco and EIFS are types of cladding that require careful detailing and closely adhering to industry and manufacturer installation standards in order to provide a water tight system.
Water intrusion is very common in stucco and EIFS cladding, especially in the South Louisiana Area where we experience high levels of rainfall year round. There have been many reasons given for the failure of both types of cladding systems, and they all trace back to faulty installation.
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finish System and is also known as synthetic stucco. There have been many problems that are well documented regarding this type of system's failure. Hard coat stucco has not had as much documented failure as EIFS, however it is just as susceptible to water intrusion if not installed correctly (which is very common).
There are very few visual signs that your cladding system is failing, which is why inspection and testing is so important. We are trained to look for installation flaws that can lead to water intrusion. We use state of the art equipment in order to determine the cladding integrity and the integrity of the substrate beneath the cladding. We use equipment such as the Delmhorst BD 2100 moisture meter, which is specifically designed for moisture detection in EIFS and stucco wall cladding. We also can detect rot without the presence of moisture with use of a Structural Resistance Tester (SRT) - a tool specifically designed for EIFS and stucco systems. The SRT can test for rot in OSB sheathing, CDX Plywood, Gypsum Board, Dense Glass, and all wood trim. The SRT is the only tool on the market that can test for dry rot without the presence of moisture. Additionally, we use infrared technology and several other pinless moisture meters to pinpoint areas that are in need of intrusive testing.
Is there a discount if this is added to a home inspection?
- Yes! If you schedule a stucco/EIFS inspection with your home inspection, the fee for the stucco/EIFS inspection will be discounted.
What does the inspection and testing include?
- We first do a walk around visual inspection of your home or building to determine if the cladding system has been installed according to industry standards. We use standard industry practices for conducting these type of moisture inspections, which will include the use of a penetrating probe meter in an attempt to determine the integrity and moisture content of the structural wood beneath the cladding system. Two small holes will be drilled (typically about 1/8" or the size of a pencil head) in various locations around the stucco/EIFS. We typically test areas in each wall section, wall penetrations, roof and wall intersections, and other areas that are vulnerable to water intrusion damage. These small holes will then be sealed with a stucco/EIFS industry approved sealant after the inspection is complete. It should be noted that color and texture match are not guaranteed, but we do our best to hide the holes as much as we can.
Will the holes be visible?
- Yes, if you know what to look for. Typically, people cannot find the holes after we are done testing unless they know the exact spot to look. Some people think that drilling holes into the stucco/EIFS will compromise the system, but we are trained on how to properly seal each hole appropriately to prevent future issues.
What is the cost?
-The cost varies depending on the structure, square footage, how much stucco or EIFS is present, and the extent and complexity of the system. The average inspection can run anywhere from $350 to $800. Considering the amount that major repair work on these types of cladding systems costs, our fee is minimal and has the potential to save you a lot of money in a real estate transaction if extensive damage is found.
Other Inspection Notes
- We need a signed release from the seller in order to complete the inspection. Since it is an intrusive inspection and we are drilling holes into the wall cladding, we require the seller's permission or we cannot complete the inspection.