by Nick Gromicko, CMI®
Synthetic stucco is quite different from historic stucco. Historic stucco is basically a plaster made with water, sand and lime. While the composition of stucco has changed over time, it has always been applied wet over a brick, stone or wood surface to form the visible outside layer of a wall.
Has water damage occurred or is it likely to occur?
A preliminary visual inspection may reveal if water damage is actively occurring, as well as whether it is likely to occur due to improperly installed synthetic stucco. There have been many reported cases of EIFS manufacturer installation instructions not being followed correctly by builders, leading to problems. It’s a good idea for inspectors to understand some of the methods of installation so that they can check some likely areas of moisture intrusion.
A few places to start visual inspection include:
- ground contact: EIFS should not continue down a wall into the ground. It should terminate no less than 6 inches from finished ground level. The bottom lip of the EIFS should also be properly wrapped and sealed;
- roof flashing: Kickout flashing should be installed where the EIFS meets the roofline. If this is missing, there is a good possibility that water is entering the wall cavity. Check for any areas that feel soft or are discolored;
- joints around windows and doors: Check caulking joints around windows and doors to make sure that there are no cracks, even small ones. If wood on window or door frames feels soft, or it is discolored, water may have entered the wall assembly around the frame; and
- areas of cracking or bulging: If there are cracks in the EIFS itself, moisture will be able to infiltrate the wall assembly and cause rotting. Bulges can indicate that coatings are delaminating or detaching from the polystyrene board. These would be causes for concern.
Inspection for Moisture Intrusion