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When it comes to Stucco and EIFS inspections, there are some standard questions that always come up.
Q: Who is Stucco Control?
A: Stucco Control is the first Canadian company, certified and registered third party EIFS and building envelope consulting firm providing professional consulting services for the entire building envelope, EIFS high rise exterior wall systems, and waterproofing consulting projects.
Q: What makes Stucco Control different?
A: Stucco Control consulting practice is born of expert knowledge and practical know-how that only comes from hands-on experience accrued over a period of years. We have proven experience with companies such as some of the nation's most respected manufacturers, major hotel firms and a variety of governmental and educational institutions. Consequently, you can be assured that your project will be guided by seasoned professionals. Moreover, you can be assured that an optimal combination of services will help you meet the quality and budgetary objectives you desire. Many of the projects guided by us are completed significantly below budget with no erosion of quality.
Q: What is Stucco Control Mission Statement?
A: Our mission is to be the premier professional services organization dedicated to providing expert consulting services to public, governmental and private institutions to ensure the quality and integrity of their EIFS, waterproofing, high rise exterior wall systems and related historical architectural restoration projects.
Q: Will you travel outside of your typical service area?
A: Yes - we will travel to meet your needs. Fees for traveling will depend on the location and scope of work.
Q: What is the turn-around time for your reports?
A: The size and complexity of the building, the scope of work, and your specific requirements dictate the turn-around time.
Q: What type of report do I get?
A: You receive a narrative style report that classifies problems and clearly identifies concerns. Issues are explained, along with recommendations, in a manner that everyone can understand. Our proprietary inspection report, complete with digital photos, is custom tailored to each property and provides the information you need, when you need it.
Q: Who are our clients?
A: Our clients include building owners, architects, engineers, consultants, facility managers, developers, lenders, investors, attorneys, insurance companies, home owners – buyers and sellers.
Q: What types of buildings do we inspect?
A: The following common property types are inspected, plus others not listed here.
Q: What are some of the signs that my EIFS is failing or has failed?
A: There are very few 'signs'. This is why inspection and testing are so important. Some of the signs you may want to look for are bulging EIFS, water stains on the outside or inside of the wall or around the window.
Q: What does the testing and inspection include?
A: We first do a walk around visual inspection of your home or building to determine if the EIFS has been installed per industry standards. We then perform some non-invasive moisture testing at the surface to determine where the moisture intrusion is occurring. We will then probe the high moisture levels through the finish coat to determine the moisture level of the wood framing and to try and determine the amount of damage to the wood, if any. Our reports will include detailed photos of the affected areas and descriptions of the areas that are in need of repair or further invasive testing. (Note: This testing is for EIFS only Inspections)
Q: Will the probe holes be noticeable?
A: The answer is usually 'Yes'. Probe holes are about the size of a pencil lead (1/8 inch). The amount of holes needed is determined by where we find moisture and how large of area we find moisture in. After we are done testing, sealant is used to fill and seal the holes. Usually after we are done, people can not find our holes unless they know the exact spot to look.
Q: What is the price of an EIFS Inspection?
A: The cost varies from building to building depending upon the square footage, complexity, quantity and details -how much EIFS there is on the building also the extent of the moldings detail. The cost of our inspections is a real bargain when realizing that replacing the EIFS and wall structure of a building may run into the tens of thousands of dollars if the moisture intrusion is ignored.
Q: Do you also do repair work on EIFS?
A: Unlike many other so called EIFS inspectors in the area, we do not make repairs ourselves and we are not affiliated with any repair company. These type inspectors can overstate problems with your EIFS so that the repair bill can be inflated.
Q: How do I know if my home is finished with EIFS or traditional stucco?
A: To determine if your home is finished with EIFS, you can try to carefully knock on it like you would on a door. If it sounds hollow, it’s probably EIFS. If it sounds solid (not hollow), or has a very coarse texture, it’s probably a plaster Stucco product.
It’s worth nothing, however, that EIFS coatings can also be applied without insulation, directly onto hard sheathing boards, such as cement board. Knocking on this type of application will also produce a solid sound, similar to stucco.
Q: How do I know which manufacturer’s EIFS product is on my home?
A: It can be difficult to determine what brand of EIFS has been installed. Most brands of EIFS look the same. You can try contacting the general contractor who built the house, or the contractor that installed the EIFS, if you have the necessary contact information. They may remember what brand of EIFS was installed on your home. Don’t be satisfied by what’s written in the building specifications since they often cite a certain brand while another is actually installed.
Q: Can I tell what EIFS brand is it from the fiberglass mesh color?
A: Certain brands of EIFS can be identified by the color of the mesh. While the mesh color may give you a starting point, it is not a reliable determining factor, since meshes of various colors are readily available on the market to contractors who install EIFS systems. Also keep in mind that once the mesh is buried within the basecoat, it is going to be a headache to try and figure out its color. If you can see the mesh color, some common colors for EIFS brands are as follows:
Q: Can I repair an EIFS myself?
A: Unless you are very good with a trowel, you’re better off hiring an EIFS contractor. EIFS is not a DIY product.
Q: The EIFS is leaking. How do I inspect it?
A: Normally, the EIFS itself is not leaking. Rather, the leaking almost always occurs at the edge of the EIFS, at either an opening (window, etc.), at a penetration (deck beam, etc.), or at a flashing/sealant joint. Regarding inspection, you can do a quick visual inspection yourself, for obvious flaws (such as lack of caulking or cracks) but detailed inspections are best left for professional inspectors.
Q: What’s involved with removing and replacing EIFS?
A: EIFS is removed by carefully cutting away the entire EIFS (including the foam), back to the supporting wall. The old EIFS cannot be reused and is discarded. Then the supporting wall is inspected for damage, and whatever damage is found is repaired. Please be aware that this could involve removing studs and/or sheathing, a major operation. The new EIFS is then applied over the repaired wall, and is blended into the surrounding EIFS, if necessary.
Q: I have a barrier-type EIFS on my house and would like to add drainage-type EIFS to it. Is this possible?
A: No, it is not possible to add a drainage-type EIFS to an existing barrier-type EIFS. To add drainage, you have to remove the existing EIFS and replace it completely with the new drainage-type EIFS.
Q: How can I tell if I have the newer drainage-type EIFS?
A: Drainage and barrier EIFS look virtually identical from the outside, but you may be able to tell if you have drainage EIFS by looking under the horizontal edge of the EIFS where it happens to come to an end, such as at the top of a window or at the bottom of the wall near the ground. A drainage-type EIFS will have some sort of gap, flashing or a perforated piece of metal or plastic trim, to route water from the drainage cavity to the outside. However, the presence of such a gap is not a foolproof indication, since some barrier-type EIFS also incorporate such features. Cutting through the EIFS to check for building paper between the foam and the sheathing, as some might be tempted to do, is not a reliable method either, since some barrier-type EIFS also incorporate a paper layer. The paper alone does not produce a true drainage cavity. Once again, it is worth hiring someone with experience to inspect the EIFS.
Q: My EIFS has “dots” all over it. What’s causing this?
A: A lot of residential EIFS is attached to the supporting wall using “mechanical fasteners.” These fasteners consist of a large plastic washer and a metal screw. The washer sits on top of the EIFS insulation, and is covered by the EIFS coatings. The washer is thus a fraction of an inch from the outdoor air. Because the fastener is made of metal and plastic, the washer is at a different temperature that the surrounding layer of EIFS insulation. This temperature differences means that the EIFS coatings retain a different amount of moisture at the fastener than in the surrounding wall. This, in turn, makes the EIFS finish look like it’s a different color. Hence, the wall appears to have “dots” on the surface. The dots rarely do any harm, and usually disappear, as the wall’s temperature becomes more even, such as during the middle of the day. This phenomenon is unavoidable, but may be reduced by applying a thick initial EIFS basecoat to even out the temperature of the EIFS surface, thus reducing the “dot” effect.
Q: How do I repair “leaky windows”?
A: If the interface between the EIFS and the window is what is actually leaking, then a simple solution, such as adding caulking to seal the leak is often effective. If the window itself is leaking, sometimes this can be repaired in-place, while at other times it is necessary to replace the window, such as when the window frame is old and rotted. Note that removing windows from an EIFS wall can be difficult, as many residential windows use a nail flange to mount the window onto the face of the wall sheathing. This prevents sliding the window out of the opening. It is advisable to hire a professional to do the job right.
Q: Do repaired EIFS areas “show”?
A: With expert workmanship, repairs are hard to spot, especially if they extend back to a nearby corner or joint. Normally, however, the patch is visible, at least right after it is done. As the wall “ages,” the patch blends in and becomes less visible.
Q: Can I paint EIFS?
A: Yes, you can generally paint over EIFS treatments; however some EIFS finishes contain additives that make it hard for the paint to adhere. It is best to contact the specific EIFS manufacturer to ask which of their paints will work on their various finishes. Luckily, most normal EIFS formulas are pure acrylic, which means that normal, exterior grade acrylic houses paint will work fine. In any case, it is advisable to do a small test on some inconspicuous area, letting the paint dry for a number of days to see if it stays bonded. Paint is usually applied with a roller on large flat areas, while a brush is used in small areas, such as at windows and grooves.
Q: There’s a “bash” in my EIFS. Can it be fixed by applying basecoat and finish into the hole?
A: No, simply plugging a hole in the EIFS with basecoat and finish will not work, as the “plug” will eventually fall out. The way to properly repair a “bash” is to cut the EIFS away (back to the substrate) and to apply new foam and coatings to the new insulation. EIFS manufacturers have photos and instructions of how to do this. Having a professional EIFS contractor perform the repair will ensure the best result.
Q: How long does EIFS last?
A: The life of an EIF System depends on how well it was installed initially and how well it has been maintained. An example of the required maintenance includes repairing caulking, which eventually wears out and must be replaced. Some older EIFS projects that are still in good shape today go back to the ’50s in Europe and the late ’60s in the North America. Other than needing a paint job to freshen them up, these installations are in good shape. With proper preventative maintenance, life span can be easily extended to over 50 years.
Q: Is there a difference in quality between EIFS brands?
A: As each brand has its own formula, there is definitely a difference in quality between different brands. Within the product line of a given brand name, there are often various grades of EIFS, with the higher quality grades usually costing a bit more than the lower quality grades. However, the quality of an installed EIFS system is just as dependant, if not more so, on the installer.
Q: I’m buying/selling an existing EIFS house. Should I have an EIFS inspection done on it?
A: Yes, it is always good to have an existing EIFS inspected by a professional, especially when you are concerned about the state of repair of a particular installation. While an EIFS installation may look fine, most problems are hidden below the surface. A professional inspection will assess the proper value of the installation, as it relates to the value of the house, and also gives the buyer or seller, as well as realtors and insurance agents, a good level of comfort.
Q: We’re building a new EIFS house. What are the most important points to look out for?
Q: We have a house that is stucco, with some EIFS “foam shapes” on it. Our insurance agent is valuing the house as if it were an EIFS house. Is this an acceptable comparison?
A: From a functional standpoint, the house in question is a “stucco house,” if the “base walls” have a stucco finish, regardless of any EIFS applied over it as decorative trim. In such cases, the EIFS is used simply to enhance the aesthetics of the house, and has little effect on the performance of the wall.
Q: When is the use of drainage EIFS “required”?
A: The use of EIFS drainage is dependent on the local building requirements, and is also heavily dependant on the local climate. It is up to the discretion of each home owner to determine if drainage is a necessary feature in the particular EIFS installation of their home. You can consult your local EIFS manufacturer or home builder for advice related to your neck of the woods.
|Retrofit / Upgrade Consultation|
|Moisture Intrusion Analysis|
|Evaluation for Building Envelope Maintenance|
|Real Estate Evaluation Services|
|Design Peer Reviews and |
Quality Assurance Observations
|Repair Scope of Work Assessment|
|Plan and Design Review|
|Sealant / Waterproofing|
|Forensic Failure Analysis|