If you’re thinking about purchasing a home with stucco cladding in Florida, it’s important to have an inspection by a certified, experienced professional, who is qualified by the Exterior Design Institute (EDI) as a stucco inspector. Inside & Out Property Inspectors has one of the Level II certified inspectors in the state of Florida. While stucco is an attractive material and common throughout Florida, it can have a number of issues which can be extremely costly to fix, and can cause permanent damage to the structure of a stucco home.
What Is Stucco?
There are 2 types of stucco. Conventional stucco has been used for hundreds of years, while synthetic stucco (EIFS) is newer, and was introduced in the United States in the 1960s.
Both conventional and synthetic stucco are a common type of wall cladding finish, typically installed over ICF (foam forms), or concrete block/wood sheathing.
Traditional Stucco is made of aggregates, and is somewhat similar to concrete. This is made up of Portland cement, limestone powder, sand, and water. It’s applied wet, and dries into a unique, textured, and rock-solid form, which protects the home and adds some extra visual flair.
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finish System. This is also known as synthetic Stucco as mentioned above. This synthetic stucco is made up polystyrene foam board, fiberglass mesh, and a finishing coat. If the EIFS system includes a water-resistant layer it can be more insulating and protective than traditional stucco.
After a consultation with your inspector, it is then determined if a stucco evaluation is to be performed or moisture mapping of the stucco. During an EIFS inspection the inspector is looking to verify the stucco is EIFS. Proper installation is also determined along with the condition of the EIFS. The inspector use different tools and experience to determine if moisture is present and the extent of the intrusion.
Who needs an EIFS inspection?
In the state of Florida it is very common to have a relocation EIFS inspection. These are usually performed for the relocation companies. These inspections could cost between $400 and $600.
What Is An EIFS Inspection?
Both synthetic (EIFS) stucco and conventional stucco function as water barriers – meaning that, while they do repel some water, they can also absorb moisture and water, and prevent it from escaping, if the stucco is not properly built for drainage.
This can cause a variety of different problems in moist climates – which is why stucco is far more common in desert regions, like Arizona.
Moisture can penetrate the wood wall sheathing, affect the window casings and frames, or even wear down the stud framing of the home itself. Mold growth in wall cavities is also a common issue among older stucco homes in a warm, moist environment.
In addition, many stucco jobs are done improperly, or poorly maintained. A stucco inspector can examine the stucco for issues like missing flashing, cracks, improper fasteners, missing drainage accessories, improper depth of material, and other such problems which may indicate a poor or sloppy stucco installation.
This depends on the service you request. A visual stucco inspection by a professional is typically enough to reveal moisture problems, such as moisture damage, and incomplete stucco coverage. For more extensive information, moisture samples can be taken of the stucco, using a drill and specialized tools.
Core samples can also be taken of the stucco, to analyze if the stucco was properly installed, how thick it is, if a weather-resistant barrier was used, and to examine how many layers of stucco were installed in the home.
Don’t Buy A Stucco Home In Florida Without A Professional Inspection!
Even minor moisture problems in a stucco home can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. If you’re purchasing any type of building with stucco wall cladding, we highly recommend contacting a professional, EDI-certified inspector in your area right away, to make sure that the stucco is properly installed, and free of major flaws.