Stucco Inspection

We Perform Inspections Nationwide

Cliff Kapson Consulting Ltd. is available for inspections, consultations, and expert witness testimony throughout the United States. Please contact us toll free at 888-304-3437 or email us at info@cliffkapsonconsulting.com and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Stucco Inspection Protocol

Level I Stucco Inspection

Observation:

Visual observations of the Exterior of the Structure to include but not be limited to:

  • Visual evidence of efflorescence, mold, mildew or other staining on the surface of the stucco
  • Visible cracking through the stucco.
  • Presence of physical damage or any other visual irregularities.
  • Visual inspection of the stucco for compliance to manufacturer and/or stucco industry standard installation details. These details include, but are not limited to, proper termination at grade and on roof areas, presence of proper weep screed, weep ropes or vents and properly integrated flashing, presence of proper kickout flashing, window and door flashing, proper slope and flashing of concrete sills at stucco transitions and/or stucco sills, installation of appropriate backer rod and sealant around windows, doors and all other stucco terminations with a dissimilar materials, presence of proper control joints and expansion joints where appropriate.

All visual observations made at the time of the survey will be recorded with photographs and accompanied by a narrative report to be presented to the client.

Level II Stucco Inspection

Observation:

Visual observations of the Exterior of the Structure to include but not be limited to:

  • Inspect for efflorescence, mold, mildew or other staining on the surface of the stucco.
  • Inspect for cracking through the stucco.
  • Inspect the stucco for compliance to manufacturer and/or stucco industry standard installation details.

These details include, but are not limited to:

  • Proper termination at grade and on roof areas.
  • Presence of proper weep screed and properly integrated flashing
  • Presence of proper kickout flashing
  • Window and door flashing
  • Proper slope and flashing of concrete and/or stucco sills
  • Installation of appropriate backer rod and sealant around windows
  • Doors and other stucco terminations with a dissimilar materials
  • Presence of proper control joints and expansion joints where appropriate

Sketch:

After the initial visual inspection of the above referenced areas is performed, the inspector will draw a sketch depicting an aerial view of the structure which will detail as close as possible all windows, doors, attachments and system penetrations. This sketch will be used to record the moisture readings taken later in the inspection. These moisture readings will later be transposed during report writing, and over-laid onto elevation photos to be inserted into the report.

Obtain Moisture Readings:

Because of the nature of the components utilized in stucco systems, such as metal lath and Portland cement, the Tramex Wet Wall Detector (surface scanner), which is commonly used to detect moisture behind EIFS, cannot be effectively utilized; therefore detection of moisture intrusion in utilizing this protocol can only be conducted through the use of a penetrating probe meter.

Probe readings will be performed at the discretion of the survey professional, and should be focused on all areas of potential moisture penetration based on the previously outlined visual inspection. These areas shall include, but not be limited to, locations beneath corners and mullions of windows, beneath doors, at least two locations beneath missing or defective kickout flashing, and below deck/balcony ledgers (primarily beneath corners of patio or service doors). Moisture probing shall be conducted as follows. Two probe holes will be drilled through an appropriate mortar joint location with a 3/16”-1/4” masonry bit, holes will be approximately 1” apart. Insulated probes will be inserted through the holes until contact is made with the underlying sub-sheathing behind the weather resistant barrier. Inspector will assure that the probes are not in contact with metal lath to avoid obtaining a “false positive” reading.

In most cases moisture readings are recorded in wood scale as determined by the substrate material being tested. If it is determined that the substrate is a product other than wood-based moisture testing will be adjusted accordingly. Wood scale moisture readings should be should be interpreted as follows:

In all areas where moisture readings are in excess of 29% consideration should be given to the removal of the stucco system to allow the assessment and repair of the damaged substrate and affected structural members.

Experience data has shown that when moisture levels are above 29%, there is frequently damaged substrate, if not at the exact probe location, in the adjacent sheathing and/or framing. It is believed that most damage can be repaired, and proper remediation with ongoing maintenance should prevent future moisture intrusion.

Occasionally moisture readings will indicate “acceptable” levels, however, upon probing; the substrate is soft or will offer little or no resistance. This may be an indication of “dry rot”, a condition that can occur when wood is exposed to excessive moisture over an extended period of time and the wood fibers have decayed to the point that the wood can no longer hold moisture. When this condition is discovered the stucco system should be removed to allow the inspection and repair of the damaged substrate and affected structural members.

In areas of the system where moisture readings are between 21% and 29% and probing has indicated that the substrate was in sound condition, although some moisture penetration has occurred, it is believed that through proper remediation, containment and isolation of points of moisture entry, would allow the previous effects of moisture to dry, producing no negative impact to the structure.

Areas of the system where moisture readings are below 21% or where readings are not recorded should be considered to be acceptable.

All penetrations made by the survey professional to facilitate moisture readings will be sealed using an approved sealant that conforms to ASTM C-920. The survey professional will attempt to match the color of the caulk used with the color of the stucco wall.

Compile and Evaluate Data:

Upon completion of the inspection, all data compiled will be evaluated and transposed into a report that will detail an evaluation of any problems observed as related to the overall performance of the stucco system.

This report will include, but not be limited to:

  • Narrative report with description of problem and, if appropriate, recommended solutions
  • Photo Log
  • Elevation photos, overlaid with moisture readings.

It should be noted these inspection protocols when combined, are designed to completely and accurately determine the condition of the stucco system. In our opinion, anything less will not give an accurate or reliable overview of the condition of the stucco system.