Synthetic Stucco Inspections

stucco mold inspections inspectors report EIFS


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synthetic stucco mold
inspections inspectors report EIFS

A charmer with a false face

In today's building market, many upscale homes are clad with synthetic stucco. Unfortunately, the pretty-looking siding has been causing lots of trouble to homeowners, resulting in a number of major class-action suits against several of its large manufacturers.

If you own or plan to buy a home with this type of exterior siding, you need a special inspection to find out if the material has been installed to manufacturer's specifications. Any problems associated with synthetic stucco are generally due to improper installation. The resulting moisture penetration often causes serious damage to the wood structure underneath (see The synthetic stucco horror story).

Inspection Connection, Inc., employs licensed inspectors who are experts in the evaluation of synthetic stucco and who understand the legal ramifications of the inspection process. Our nationwide network of experts is here to help you with all aspects of the problem, technical and legal.

Use the following links to learn more:

The synthetic stucco horror story

Picture this. You are walking by an elegant-looking home with a stylish synthetic stucco facade. How pretty, you think, wish I had one like that . . .

Yet, behind the pretty face a silent drama takes place, casting a threat on the owner's budget and peace of mind. The stucco substitute traps moisture underneath, making the wooden bones of the house a breeding ground for fungus, mold, and mildew. The fungus destroys wood, while the other two cause indoor air problems.

As if this were not enough, a high percentage of homes clad in synthetic stucco also have subterranean termite infestations. These, again, are not visible from the outside, but are discovered when the inspector removes the siding (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: Inspector removes synthetic stucco siding. Note the decayed wood substructure.


Is your home too, a victim of this hungry guerrilla?

The only sure way to know is to have your synthetic stucco siding inspected by an expert. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can find out if there is any damage and take action to save the wood substructure of your home.

The following two sections describe the two types of synthetic stucco inspection you can order.


How do I know if I have synthetic stucco siding?

From the outside, it is very difficult to tell the difference between traditional and synthetic stucco. If you are not sure which one you have, you can order an inexpensive and noninvasive initial inspection just to determine the kind you have.

If it turns out to be synthetic stucco, you need to have a full synthetic stucco inspection (see the next section) to find out if the material has been installed to manufacturer's specifications. This inspection will allow you to know the extent of damage caused by moisture penetration in case there are areas where the material was installed improperly.

How to order an inspection

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The inspection process - finding out the extent of damage

At Inspection Connection, Inc., all synthetic stucco inspections are performed by state-licensed inspectors who specialize in the evaluation of this material. The inspection generally takes two men a full day. They start by identifying the brand of synthetic stucco you have, then check if it is installed to manufacturer's specifications, and finally go on to determine the extent of moisture penetration in the areas not conforming to the specifications.

To measure the moisture level behind the siding material, the inspectors drill tiny holes through the exterior surface and insert the moisture meters (see figure 2). When excessive moisture is discovered, the inspectors will cite the likely cause of the moisture penetration. Many times the moisture penetration points are difficult to locate and equally difficult to repair once they are discovered.


Figure 2: Inspector using the moisture meter.


After the inspection, we will send you a 15-20 page report which includes digital color images of the observed problems. Many times the initial report will specify that sections of the siding be removed to determine the condition of the wood substructure.

These follow-up inspections are usually performed when the homeowner has decided to hire a lawyer. The analysis of the structure for a lawsuit involves many hours of consultation and analysis.

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Fixing the damage

If the affected areas are relatively small in number and size, you will be given clear instructions on how to fix the damage.

However, if too many "bad spots" are present, the typical solution consists of removing the siding material completely from the structure and replacing it with a different material. This is very costly.

At this point many homeowners decide to hire a lawyer.

Note: It is essential to do the synthetic stucco inspection as early as possible. A small initial problem, if left unattended for long time, may turn into a major one with all the complications described above.

How to contact us for more information or to order an inspection

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Inspection Connection, Inc.- Synthetic Stucco Mold page - last modified 12/19/2004