Why are Stucco Inspections Needed?
If not inspected, there may be way more problems in a Stucco or EIFS clad building than one could ever imagine. Although stucco is a very good, and aesthetically pleasing product, many home builders and their contractors are not well informed or trained in the correct methods of stucco application and how to install stucco to codes OR to the best standards of practice. Without proper installation and protection from moisture, stucco (being a porous material) will suck in all the water that it can.
This can and often will cause major damage to the substrate behind the stucco, (OSB type plywood usually) and can lead to very costly repairs, in the long run. Our best advice, "Get a stucco inspection BEFORE you buy a stucco home or commercial building."
Visual vs. Invasive Stucco Inspections?
Holmes Inspection Company does offer the option of performing either a Visual or Invasive inspection. What is the difference between the two? The name itself says it all. Our Invasive Inspection is much more in depth, and is explained further in the next section. Our Visual Inspection involves our professionally trained stucco inspectors doing a Limited Visual Review of the stucco system, to look for paths of potential moisture intrusion at the exterior walls, and observe the details and condition of a single family home or commercial building or EIFS or Stucco clad house based strictly on visual observations. A visual inspection costs less, however since there is no destructive testing or moisture probing involved it CAN NOT tell us if the underlying framing is sound or rotted or has moisture intrusion. It is suggested to have a full, Invasive inspection to get a complete and thorough diagnosis.
Invasive Moisture Analysis and Inspections!
Our Invasive inspection WILL give you the answers and knowledge you need to know about your stucco home or commercial building. Before we are able to perform an Invasive Inspection we have Inspection Agreement / Moisture Testing forms that need to be signed by a buyer AND owner (if different parties). Upon approval from the buyer and/or owner, we are able to start the inspection.
First, we make a visual observation of the entire building envelope and record any and all anomalies in the stucco system. We then conduct an invasive test at areas that we usually find that are prone to moisture intrusion and/or damage. This test consists of "probing" the stucco areas in question. The probing consists of either drilling or placing 2 small holes (the size of a ¼” drill bit OR a #2 yellow pencil) in the stucco, and then insert a pair of long metal probes (looks like an ice pick) that are attached to an electronic moisture meter into the wall cavity to feel if the framing is solid or spongy, and to measure the moisture content. A certain amount of retained moisture is acceptable by industry standards. Each hole made in the stucco will be filled with a sealant, and typically not very noticeable. The moisture analysis on an average home, can take 2 to 4 hours to complete (depending on square ft), on a commercial building, it can take 3 hours to 2 days or more to complete (depending on square ft)
Upon completion of the Holmes Company’s Moisture Ansalysis / Stucco Inspection our clients will receive a fully illustrated inspection report. The report will contain the information needed for the client to make an educated decision about the stucco property in question. Each probe made will be documented on the report, with picture, location of the probe, and moisture percentage of the probe. The report will also contain repair recommendation comments giving a good prescription of how to move forward to get issues corrected, provide needed repairs, remedy potential moisture sources and correct structure issues like painting, etc
Check out a sample report, here