How do I find a professional EIFS or Stucco inspector?
EIFS & Stucco Inspection & Moisture Analysis does not provide a total typical home inspection. We are often recommended by professional home inspectors or engineer inspectors to assist them with the Stucco or EIFS portion of their examination. To their credit, they did not know Stucco or EIFS Systems, admitted this to their clients and sought our help.
Many Home Inspectors are not so candid. Beware of so-called "Stucco / EIFS Inspectors" who are not trained, well-versed or certified in EIFS or Stucco. Ask questions such as:
- Do you have a current EIFS Inspection Certification from an independent organization like EDI or NWCB?
- How long have you been involved with EIFS or Stucco testing?
- Are you trained to do intrusive testing for moisture and resultant damage?
- Where and when did you get your Stucco / EIFS training at?
Decide for yourself if they are unbiased and knowledgeable when it comes to recommended repair procedures. Get several references and call them all if the inspector wants their own crew to do the suggested repairs.
My advice is to contact or go to the websites of the three main organizations recognized by the industry as issuing credible certifications: 1) Exterior Design Institute (EDI); 2) Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau (NWCB); or 3) Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industries (AWCI), and search their databases for a local certified Stucco / EIFS inspectors.
What is the Fee for a Stucco or EIFS Inspection?
The cost varies on a home Or commercial building depending upon the square footage of the building (heated and unheated), height, how much Stucco OR EIFS there is on the building (how many sides are stucco 1-4), the extent and complexity of the Stucco Or EIFS system, and what type of inspection (simple Visual Details and Review OR a FULL moisture intrusive probe). In the Kansas City Metroplex the average Stucco/EIFS inspection can run from $400 to $750 on on an average home (depending on square ft) AND considerably more on a commercial building (depending on square ft). Obviously if we have to drive 75 to 150 miles or more to get to the site, the costs will also be higher.
The cost however, of these inspections is a real bargain when you realize that replacing or repairing the Stucco or EIFS and wall structure of a building can run into the tens of thousands of dollars if the moisture intrusion is ignored.
Which would you rather have, a $600 report detailing the moisture intrusion that gives you the information to get repairs initiated properly OR a $250 report that tells you little or nothing about your system and whats needed?
*** If the stucco inspection is part of a Home or Commercial Inspection in a real estate transfer, we offer a discount if we are retained to perform the general home inspection as well as the stucco inspection.
Are Repair Follow-up & Annual Inspections Recommended?
- A repair follow-up inspection should be conducted within 6 to 12 months after completion of any repairs to assess the effectiveness of the moisture modifications. This is extremely important.
- Annual inspections should also be scheduled to ensure that your stucco system remains dry. Any sealant failures, stucco cracks, etc. can be caught and repaired promptly. Testing and maintaining your home on a regular basis is the best way to prevent costly repairs associated with moisture damage.
- Should you decide to sell your building, annual inspections and maintenance documentation will be a valuable selling tool, providing evidence to show that your home has been inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
Stucco / EIFS Inspections and Moisture Analysis
We offer both our residential and commercial Client's a full range of EIFS and Stucco Inspections. We are Certified by the Exterior Design Institute (EDI) as 3rd Party EIFS Inspectors & Moisture Analysts. Exterior Design Institute is a non-profit organization that trains and certifies inspectors to raise the quality of EIFS inspections in the construction industry.
What is EIFS?
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finish Systems. It is also known as synthetic Stucco. EIFS first was imported to the United States in the late 60's. Since the late 1990’s there has been a lot of excitement over this system and its Class Action Lawsuits. There have been many reasons given for this failure, but most of them can be traced back to faulty installation.
What is the difference between EIFS and Stucco?
EIFS come in several different types. But the typical installation includes the substrate, polystyrene foam board fastened or glued to the substrate, fiberglass reinforcement mesh, base coat (usually 1/16 to 1/4 inches thick and then a finish coast. (see top illustration to the right) Stucco on the other hand is plaster Portland cement. The Stucco assembly usually includes a substrate over the framing members (there is an open framing' system) with a moisture barrier present, self furring lath, plaster cement basecoat and finally the hard coat finish (see bottom installation on right).
Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages AND both have had problems, however, the EIFS has had the most publicity on them. We're going to try and educate you about EIFS and its problems.
Is EIFS or Stucco really a problem in Kansas City and the Midwest?
The simple answer is “Yes”. Stucco & EIFS have problems just about any place that it used in construction in the United States. The problem is improper installation and lack of proper detailing and sealing the prodect. Most applicators either do not care or do not know the proper procedure for applying Stucco or EIFS. This can leads to failure in a very short time and water intrusion. If problems are identified and remedied quickly, damage and cost's can usually be limited. A thorough and complete inspection and testing is very important in identifying areas of moisture intrusion.
What are some of the signs that my Stucco or EIFS is failing?
There are very few signs. This is why inspection and testing is so important. Some of the signs you may want to look for is bulging, cracking, water stains outside or inside of the walls, and around the windows or under gutters.
What does Moisture Testing and Inspection Include?
This depends somewhat on the type of stucco system you have, BUT to start with we first do a walk around visual inspection of your home or building to determine if the Stucco / EIFS has been installed per industry standards and to look for damage, stains, missing or improperly installed details, missing or improper sealant, etc. We then probe areas our inspection tells us may have high moisture level areas at the wood framing behind the stucco AND try to determine the amount of damage to the wood, if any. Our reports will include detailed photos of the probed areas, improper details and descriptions of the areas that are in need of repair or further intrusive evaluation by contractors.
Will the Probe Holes be Noticeable?
The answer is usually “Maybe” if you are close enough to the wall AND know what you are looking for. Probe holes are about the size of a #2 yellow pencil (1/8-1/4 inch). The amount of holes needed is determined by where we find moisture and how large of area we find moisture in. After we are done testing, sealant is used to fill and seal the holes. Usually after we are done, people cannot find our holes unless they know the exact spot to look.
Do You Do Repairs on Stucco or EIFS?
Unlike many other so called stucco inspectors in the area, I do not make repairs myself and I’m are not affiliated with any repair companies. These type inspectors can overstate problems with your stucco system so that the repair bill can be inflated. We do however have lists of competent stucco repair contractors we can refer you to if needed.
Why Do I have Rust Spots on MY Stucco?
Scattered rust spots on the stucco walls are most often the result of small iron particles left in the sand that was used in the stucco application. To be sure its that and not a large piece of metal like fasteners, wire lathe, chip out a small piece. If it comes out and you see the underlying stucco, you know what it is. Then you can either patch it and put new top coating on it OR ignore it.
If you’re serious about finding out if you have moisture problems in your stucco, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.