Stucco Inspection

Hardcoat Stucco & EIFS are waterproof products, if installed properly. However, if they are improperly installed, then stucco becomes unstable and will leak, which can cause rot and possible mold problem in any structure.

Key problem areas in Hardcoat & EIFS stucco are:

  • Missing or improperly installed window and door flashings and casings.
  • Missing proper sealant and bond breaking joints around windows and doors.
  • No weep screeds at the base of wood frame walls.
  • No weep screeds at first or second story of wood over masonry.
  • Horizontal returns without proper drainage and control joints.
  • Missing drainage at porch beams and arches.
  • Improperly installed wire lath, with improper building paper installations.
  • Missing control/expansion joints.

Our Stucco Inspections are very detailed and look for both minor and major issues. We offer two levels of Stucco inspections that have varying levels of details and items included.

Level 1 Stucco Inspections

The first level of Stucco Inspections is observational only, we record what can be visually observed in detailed notes that can easily be used to correct any issues. We can also make recommendations of specific solutions, if appropriate.

In the Level I Stucco Inspections we look for signs of:

  • Efflorescence on surface
  • Mold on surface
  • Mildew on surface
  • Staining on surface
  • Physical damage
  • Cracking
  • Manufacturer and/or stucco industry standard installation
  • Proper termination at grade and on roof areas
  • Presence of proper weep screed
  • Weep ropes or vents and properly integrated flashing
  • Presence of proper kickout flashing
  • Window and door flashing
  • Proper slope and flashing of concrete sills at stucco transitions and/or stucco sills
  • Installation of appropriate backer rod and sealant
  • Presence of proper control joints and expansion joints where appropriate

Level 2 Stucco Inspections

The second level of Stucco Inspections expands the scope of work and includes invasive system penetrations. The second level of Stucco Inspections include moisture readings using a probe. The moisture readings in our level II Stucco Inspections often can determine if there is a damaged substrate behind the stucco when readings are above 29%. When moisture readings are elevated above 29%, depending on the areas affected, we can recommend solutions in our Stucco Inspections final report that is delivered to you. These moisture readings will later be transposed during report writing, and over-laid onto photos to be inserted into the report.

Why do we do Level 2 Stucco Inspections?

To Obtain Moisture Readings in highly questionable areas that cannot be detected by any other means or technology. Because of the nature of the components utilized in stucco systems, such as metal lath and Portland cement, the Thermal Detectors (surface scanner), which is commonly used to detect moisture behind EIFS, cannot be effectively utilized; therefore detection of moisture intrusion in utilizing this protocol can only be conducted through the use of a penetrating probe meter.

The Process

Probe readings will be performed at the discretion of the survey professional, and should be focused on all areas of potential moisture penetration based on the previously outlined visual inspection. These areas shall include, but not be limited to, locations beneath corners and mullions of windows, beneath doors, at least two locations beneath missing or defective kick-out flashing, and below deck/balcony ledgers (primarily beneath corners of patio or service doors). Moisture probing shall be conducted as follows. Two probe holes will be drilled through an appropriate mortar joint location with a 3/16”-1/4” masonry bit, holes will be approximately 1” apart. Insulated probes will be inserted through the holes until contact is made with the underlying sub-sheathing behind the weather resistant barrier. Inspector will assure that the probes are not in contact with metal lath to avoid obtaining a “false positive” reading.

In most cases moisture readings are recorded in wood scale as determined by the substrate material being tested. If it is determined that the substrate is a product other than wood-based moisture testing will be adjusted accordingly. Wood scale moisture readings should be should be interpreted as follows:

Above 29% Readings

In all areas where moisture readings are more than 29%, consideration should be given to the removal of the stucco system to allow the assessment and repair of the damaged substrate and affected structural members. Data has shown that when moisture levels are above 29%, there is frequently damaged substrate, if not at the exact probe location, in the adjacent sheathing and/or framing. It is believed that most damage can be repaired, and proper remediation with ongoing maintenance should prevent future moisture intrusion. Occasionally moisture readings will indicate “acceptable” levels, however, upon probing; the substrate is soft or will offer little or no resistance. This may be an indication of “dry rot”, a condition that can occur when wood is exposed to excessive moisture over an extended period and the wood fibers have decayed to the point that the wood can no longer hold moisture. When this condition is discovered the stucco system should be removed to allow the inspection and repair of the damaged substrate and affected structural members.

21% to 29% Readings

In areas of the system where moisture readings are between 21% and 29% and probing has indicated that the substrate was in sound condition, although some moisture penetration has occurred, it is believed that through proper remediation, containment and isolation of points of moisture entry, would allow the previous effects of moisture to dry, producing no negative impact to the structure.

21% and below

Areas of the system where moisture readings are below 21% or where readings are not recorded should be acceptable. All penetrations made by the survey professional to facilitate moisture readings will be sealed using an approved sealant that conforms to ASTM C-920. The survey professional will attempt to match the color of the caulk used with the color of the stucco wall.

Upon completion of the inspection, all data compiled will be evaluated and transposed into a report that will detail an evaluation of any problems observed as related to the overall performance of the stucco system. This report will include, but not be limited to:

  • Narrative report with description of problem and, if appropriate, recommended solutions
  • Photo Log
  • Location photos, overlaid with moisture readings.

It should be noted these inspection protocols when combined, are designed to completely and accurately determine the condition of the stucco system. In our opinion, anything less will not give an accurate or reliable overview of the condition of the stucco system.