It is estimated that 90% of all stucco applications in the northeast within the past 15 to 20 year are defective or improperly installed. These deficiencies can lead to leaks, mold, and structural damages that can go undetected for years.
We are Water Intrusion Specialists located in glen mills, Pennsylvania and we perform inspections of stucco and EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finish System) building cladding systems throughout the southwestern pennsylvania area. We provide residential, commercial and third party inspections as well as consulting services to homeowners, building owners and contractors.
We provide full inspection reports with photos, information and exact moisture content for your peace of mind.
With over 25 years of building and renovation experience and certifications from EDI, (Exterior Design Institute), MFW (MoistureFree Corp.) and InterNachi for stucco home inspections, I have made a pursuit to inform and educate my clients how to recognize poor construction defects and potential problems before they become their problem. If you are a home owner call us today for a stucco home inspection so we can find the potential problems to limit your repair cost. If you are a prospective buyer call us today to schedule an appointment and discuss the risk and problems involved that are current or potential.
For more information or to schedule a stucco inspection, Click here to Contact Us or call: 1-610-357-1450
Our Stucco Inspection service includes:
✓ Detailed information on stucco home cladding systems and their accessories.
✓ A comprehensive visual inspection by a certified stucco/EIFS inspector who will point out to you any deficiencies in your stucco home.
✓ Moisture meter readings taken underneath every accessible window, all entry doors and underneath where kickout flashings should be installed.
✓ Depending on the level of moisture content, thermal imaging may be used to determine if moisture has penetrated the interior wall cavity of your stucco home which can lead to mold growth and the need for mold remediation.
✓ A detailed written report with the stucco inspectors findings along with all of the moisture content readings, as well any thermal images (if any were taken), and recommendations the stucco inspector makes regarding stucco repairs and or stucco removal.
Stucco Inspection Pricing:
Our prices are based on the size of the home. For whole-house testing of a town home, our price starts at $545
up to 1800 total wall square feet. For a single wall, the price is $395.
Large single homes, usually range between $900 - $1,400 depending on the size and percentage of coverage.If calling for a quote, in order to provide you with an accurate price, please have the square footage and a rough estimate of how many walls are covered with stucco or EIFS.
NOTE: Our stucco inspection costs estimator can help you estimate your stucco inspection fees. When working with the calculator, please remember the dollar amounts displayed aren't guaranteed. The estimates you receive are for illustrative and educational purposes only.
Step 1 - Visual Inspection
The first step in evaluating a stucco installation is to conduct a visual inspection of the exterior cladding system to determine if there are any installation defects or oversights that can present problems such as conditions conducive of moisture intrusion. This inspection is conducted during normal daylight hours when there is sufficient sunlight to see small imperfections on the surface such as hairline cracks, staining, or gaps at critical locations. Other details are also evaluated such as the presence of drainage plains, proper expansion and control joint placement, and the use of casing beads. High resolution photographs are taken during this process which are included in the inspection report. This portion of the inspection helps us identify problem areas where there may or may not be moisture accumulation behind the stucco finish.
Step 2 - Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspection
The second step in the process of evaluation the condition of stucco cladding is to conduct an infrared thermal imaging inspection focusing on problem areas that were identified during the visual inspection. The exterior of the home is viewed at multiple angles using an infrared thermal imaging camera to detect thermal variations on the surface that can indicate areas of potential moisture accumulation under the stucco cladding system. This portion of the inspection is conducted after sunset and when weather conditions are favorable for obtaining reliable data. Ideally, infrared thermal imaging is conducted no less than 24 hours after a rainfall to ensure the stucco surface is dry and when temperature differences between daytime and night are at least 15° Fahrenheit.℉
Infrared thermal imaging allows us to see areas where there are temperature variations on the surface that are caused by trapped moisture behind the stucco cladding. As the stucco cladding system warms under direct sunlight, the moisture trapped behind will also warm. After sunset and there is no more solar loading from the sun, the stucco and water will cool at different rates. After a period of time, when the stucco cladding is viewed with an infrared thermal imaging camera, the wet areas will appear cooler than normal stucco. Infrared thermal images are captured and included in the stucco inspection report to show the areas of concern so that verification of moisture levels can be conducted at a later time.
It is essential that infrared thermal imaging be used to guide the inspector for any type of invasive moisture meter readings or to allow a qualified stucco repair contractor to see the square footage of potential remediation areas. There are many so called "Stucco Inspectors" out there that do not conduct this step simply because they do not possess the equipment or know how to perform the work. They often want to go straight to conducting invasive moisture meter readings without any type of guidance where to drill and test. This is nothing more than playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey in our opinion and can result in missing significant issues that may be present only several inches away. Random drilling can quickly turn a home into Swiss cheese if performed by one of these contractors.
Step 3 - Invasive Moisture Meter Readings
The third step for the process is to conduct invasive moisture meter readings in areas where infrared thermal imaging has identified areas of suspected moisture behind the stucco cladding. This step is sometimes skipped by home buyer in the decision making process based on the information that is gathered during the visual and infrared thermal imaging inspections. Moisture meter readings are critical to verifying information gathered during the two previous steps. Areas can not be confirmed as being wet without moisture meter readings because infrared thermal imaging is only reading surface temperatures and is only used as a guide to areas that are suspected of elevated moisture content.
Homeowners who are pursuing litigation against contractors should not skip this step in the inspection process.
The process of obtaining moisture meter readings requires that small ¼" holes be drilled in the stucco finish in areas where there is elevated moisture suspected. A calibrated moisture meter is used with 6" long probes to take readings at the level of the sheathing to determine if moisture has passed through the weather resistant barrier installed under the stucco. Moisture meter readings are recorded and photographs of the locations are taken to be included in the stucco inspection report. After readings have been obtained, the holes are injected with caulking to seal them and prevent moisture from entering and causing any further damage related to invasive inspection methods. Special care is taken to ensure holes are completely filled. Whenever possible, we always try to use color matching caulk so that inspection locations are not readily visible. Occasionally, stucco finishes can be heavily stained due to algae growth or other reasons. In these instances, we do our best to make sure that the test holes are not noticeable.
Stucco Inspection Report
After all the information is compiled, the final report is written which includes the findings of the visual inspection, infrared thermal imaging inspection, and moisture meter readings. Some clients are undecided if they want to purchase a home or not because issues were identified in the stucco system during the home inspection. We realize that some homeowners will not agree to let a buyer hire someone to drill holes in the home they are trying to sell. For these clients, we can prepare the written report after the infrared thermal imaging inspection has been completed. The final report typically takes several days to prepare depending on the amount of defects that are discovered and potential moisture areas observed. High resolution photographs and thermograms are included in the report so you can see exactly what the inspector sees during these inspections. Many clients can make an informed decision at this point whether to purchase the home or determine if remediation is within the budget. For homeowners who are pursuing litigation against contractors or developers for faulty installations, the final report helps reinforce cases by providing documented proof of incorrect installations and the problems they have caused.
Important Information Regarding Scheduling:
Stucco inspections are conducted according to the widely accepted
ASTM E2128-01a Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of
Building Walls and the Infraspection Institute Standard for Infrared
Inspection of Building Envelopes and are very dependant on the
weather conditions in order to obtain accurate results. Please keep
this in mind if you are under a home inspection contingency
deadline. These types of inspections are specialized and
are not like a general home inspection which can be done rain or
shine. Because of the limitations of this type of inspection, you may
need to ask your real estate agent to file an extension depending on
weather conditions until the stucco inspection can be performed
properly. Exterior building envelope inspections are typically
conducted during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. Weather
conditions are typically not conducive during the Winter in order to
obtain the required temperature differentials needed or have
sufficient drying time between rain or snow events. Check the weather forecasts to ensure that it will not be
raining and there is sufficient temperature differences between
daytime and sunset.
Because weather conditions play such a major roll with scheduling
exterior building envelope inspections and the high volume of calls
we receive for inspection appointments, there maybe a slight wait
for an available appointment slot and favorable weather conditions.
We typically rely on a 5 day weather forecast when scheduling
appointments and cannot reliably schedule appointment times beyond
that except during the Summer months when the weather conditions are
Regardless of whether you have a traditional or synthetic stucco home, do a semi-annual inspection of your home's exterior.
Follow these three❸ tips to prevent water damage to your stucco home, recommended by ProLine:
❶ Pay special attention to any cracks or areas of discoloration. Cracks could mean potential leaks which lead to water damage and mold. If you notice cracks or discoloration contact a certified EIFS/stucco inspector to get an accurate idea of the extent of damage and a plan for necessary repairs.
❷ Be sure to inspect sealant around windows, doors, and other penetration points. Modifications, additions, and renovations that are attached to the stucco exterior increase the potential risk for water intrusion and moisture problems. Even a small modification such as a mounted satellite dish, added shutters, new wiring, cables, plumbing, security systems, etc., have penetration points as a result of their installation process. These holes in the siding more easily allow moisture to seep in between stucco layers. Each penetration point must be sealed with a quality sealant specifically approved for stucco.
❸ Periodic cleaning of the stucco is necessary to maintain its appearance and prevent permanent staining. Pressure cleaning equipment must be calibrated to the stucco manufacturer’s recommended pressure level (low) to prevent damage to your stucco. Select a firm with experience in cleaning EIFS systems.
If you suspect water damage or mold: Call ProLine @ 610-357-1450 ASAP.