Three Things You Should Know About EIFS Inspections

The first thing you should know about EIFS home inspections is that a typical home inspector does not have enough knowledge of the product to properly inspect it. An experienced inspector that is very knowledgeable of the product is a must. The inspector should have some experience applying the product as well. You cannot learn everything there is to know from just reading a book and passing a test, in my opinion. Ideally, he should be a master craftsman in synthetic stucco and up-to-date on the latest Exterior Insulation and Finish techniques and specifications.

The second thing you should know is that the inspection has many facets to it. The inspection will include much more than just the synthetic stucco. It will include any other product/material that touches it. The flashing, windows, caulking, etc. will all be looked at to determine the effect they are having on the Exterior Insulation and Finish System, if any. Other things like grade and proper clearances will be observed.

Lastly, you should know that the inspection should include the use of moisture testing equipment. If an inspector comes to inspect your EIFS home and he does not use any moisture testing equipment, than they are missing the main reason for the inspection. Sure the new Exterior Insulation and Finish System application has a very good moisture drainage system, but the older versions of the product did not have a moisture drainage system at all and it is very important to test for moisture trapped behind the system. The best way to test for moisture behind the system is with a probe moisture tester. The procedure when using the probe tester is invasive, which is far from ideal because you are poking holes through the stucco to measure the moisture content of the wood behind it. However, this is by far the best way to find the moisture problems short of tearing into the wall. The holes made by the tester are small and actually look similar to a vampire bite. These small holes are typically filled with caulk after testing is complete. Sometimes a home owner that is selling their house does not want to put any holes in it no matter what, so in this case there is a surface scanner that is non-invasive. The problem with the surface type scanner is that it’s depth range is about one inch and the product standard is over an inch and a half thick. The area would pretty much have to be saturating the foam at least a half-inch for the scanner to pick up an accurate moisture reading. It does not do a good job measuring the moisture content of the actual wood.

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