When would I need a stucco/EIFS inspection?

​Phase Inspections

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What is the difference between stucco and EIFS?

​Stucco and EIFS appear very similar although they are completely different assemblies. Stucco is an assembly of reinforcing metal and a cement-based material with a textured and colored finish. EIFS is a rigid insulation board either screwed or adhered to the structure and finished a textured and colored stucco finish. ​

Is a stucco inspection included with a regular home inspection?

Stucco / EIFS Home Inspection

What can I expect with an inspection?

Exterior Inspections, Inc.

Inspections and Consulting Since 1997

What is a phase inspection and what is involved?

What is a stucco/EIFS inspection?

​​Stucco/EIFS inspection is appropriate prior to purchasing a home or can be performed as a diagnostic investigation when water intrusion is suspected. If you suspect water intrusion, you may see cracks in or white streaks on the stucco and/or water stains, particularly rusty colored water stains. Interior damage may manifest as buckled floors, swollen baseboards, drywall cracks, peeling paint, separated baseboards or separated crown molding from the walls, ceilings, or floors. Inspection is recommended every 18-24 months as part of periodic maintenance of the stucco/EIFS system to ensure that it is still performing as intended.

​​Stucco/EIFS inspection is a specialty inspection typically done after the routine real estate (TREC) inspection and as a result of something an inspector has seen or made note of. If we perform a routine TREC inspection, it will include an overview of the cladding but not a comprehensive inspection of the cladding. Should a comprehensive stucco/EIFS inspection be desired by the client, we can perform it along with the TREC inspection.

​​Stucco or EIFS inspection may be performed in one of two ways, either by visual inspection only or by a comprehensive two-part inspection that includes moisture analysis. The visual inspection consists of visually verifying how the system is installed (if possible) and determining whether or not the installation is consistent with acceptable industry practices, current requirements, or requirements in place at the time of construction of the house. Furthermore, we look for indications of non-performance.  The visual inspection includes photo-documentation of conditions present and visible at the time of inspection. A report is generated with the inspector’s findings and recommendations regarding potential problems.The second part of a comprehensive two-part inspection is the moisture analysis. Moisture analysis is an intrusive test which requires drilling into the stucco or EIFS and obtaining a moisture reading from the wood wall components behind the stucco. Interior moisture probing may also be performed by using two pin-like probes to verify moisture content in drywall or interior wood trim such as window casings, baseboards, and crown molding. Interior probing is not performed on every inspection, but may be performed if there are signs of damage and to further identify areas where drilling on the exterior might be necessary. Moisture readings obtained are plotted on photographs of the structure contained in the inspection report.

A stucco or EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) inspection is a comprehensive inspection of the stucco or EIFS exterior cladding. It takes into consideration the installation methods used to apply the system as well as all the interfaces with dissimilar materials; such as other claddings (siding, brick, etc.), how the roof flashing or roof system interfaces with the exterior, how windows interface with the exterior, the stucco or EIFS proximity to finished grade, sprinkler head proximity to finished walls, balcony to wall intersections, or anything else that would cause the system to deteriorate or prevent it from functioning as intended. 

​We provide phase inspections typically for home builders, but can be performed for a home buyer while the home is being built. Different areas of the structure are inspected at the completion of each ‘phase.’ The inspector records not only the items in need of corrective action but also to document any items installed in an appropriate manner so that in the event the house develops a problem, typical conditions have been photo-documented. Types of phase inspections include:

  1.  Pre-pour foundation inspection where we look at how the reinforcing steel or post tension cables placement, verify that beams are clear of debris and to the design depth, that the foundation vapor barrier is complete and intact, as well as that the foundation generally conforms to the plan layout.
  2.  Frame inspection of the wood structural framing. At the same time, we would also be looking at mechanical, electrical, and plumbing items as they relate to the framing. Examples of this include: electrical boxes and switches secured to the framing, electrical wiring properly secured and protected within the walls, that bored or notched load-bearing studs to accommodate plumbing are properly reinforced, ductwork installed properly in relation to proximity to certain electrical items to avoid overheating and causing damage to the ductwork.
  3. Substrate and flashing includes inspection of the roof flashing, weather barrier, and window flashing for proper installation in an effort to avoid potential water intrusion.
  4. Final inspection is performed after all the appliances have been installed and the house is ready for a walk-though before closing. This is included in a regular TREC inspection.

In addition to the standard phase inspections we can offer enhanced phase inspections specific for stucco application:

  1. The substrate and flashing inspection includes inspecting the roof flashing, the weather barriers, and the window flashing for proper installation in an effort to avoid potential water intrusion.
  2. Stucco lath inspection where we inspect the metal-reinforcing lath for proper fastening pattern and accessory installation to ensure installation in conformance with current industry requirements.
  3. Trim (for builders) inspections to ensure the decorative trim that it is being installed according to industry standards.
  4. Final inspection for proper waterproofing, sealants, and finishes.

Scheduling of phase inspections require a minimum of 48 hour notice. The homeowner must coordinate with the builder, or the builder themselves must schedule, so that we may be notified when the structure is ready for a particular inspection.