We Perform Inspections Nationwide
Cliff Kapson Consulting Ltd. is available for inspections and consultations throughout the United States. Please contact us toll free at 888-304-3437 or email us at [email protected] and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.
Many homes with either natural or manufactured stone siding (commonly referred to as stone veneer or SV) are experiencing moisture intrusion and/or damage related issues associated with improper installation. Due to the potential for moisture related damage, inspection of the stone veneer by a specialist is necessary to determine the current condition and performance of the exterior stone.
This special inspection includes an evaluation of the installation of the SV to ensure that the installation conforms with best building practices and “stone industry standards,” as outlined by the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association (MVMA) and Natural Stone Veneer Installation Guidelines. Our inspection is not a code inspection, nor is it intended to be a representation of compliance or noncompliance with national, state or local building codes.
Stone Inspection Protocol
Manufactured Stone Veneer (SV), Cultured Stone, Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer (ACMV), there are many different names for the product. However, this inspection protocol will refer to the product as Stone Veneer or SV.
Recent investigations of SV have uncovered many installation defects. These defects are often original construction defects and include the absence of proper kickout flashing, absence of appropriate drainage components such as weep screeds, weep ropes or vents, absence of proper window head flashing, absence of, or failure of caulking and sealants at windows, doors, decks and other dissimilar materials.
Based on these initial findings, we believe it is imperative that every SV have at minimum, an initial non-invasive inspection of the critical details. Additionally, based on the findings of the initial inspection, a further inspection may be recommended, to include minimally invasive moisture testing.
To implement these recommendations, Cliff Kapson Consulting has established the following inspection protocols. First, a visual or “Level I” inspection, designed to identify original construction defects. And second, a further, minimally invasive inspection, or “Level II” inspection, designed to identify the aforementioned defects as well as determine if moisture intrusion and damage is occurring as a result of these deficiencies. Following is an outline of our Level I & II SV Inspection Protocols.
Level I SV Inspection
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 SV
- Visible cracking through the stone or at mortar joints
- Presence of physical damage or any other visual irregularities
- Visual inspection of the SV for compliance to manufacturer and/or SV 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 and/or stone sills, installation of appropriate backer rod and sealant around windows, doors and all other stone terminations with a dissimilar materials. 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 SV Inspection
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 SV
- Inspect for cracking through the stone or at mortar joints
- Inspect for physical damage or any other visual irregularities
- Inspect the SV for compliance to manufacturer and/or SV 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 and/or stone sills, installation of appropriate backer rod and sealant around windows, doors and all other stone terminations with a dissimilar materials (see attached “Summary Checklist” for more details).
Obtain Moisture Readings:
Because of the nature of the components utilized in SV 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 can only be conducted through the use of a penetrating probe meter. Probe readings will be performed at the discretion of the survey professional, but should be conducted at all areas of potential moisture penetration based on the previous 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 will be conducted as follows. Two probe holes will be drilled through an appropriate mortar joint location with a 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. Inspector will assure that the probes are not in contact with metal lath to avoid obtaining a “false positive” reading, Moisture readings will then be recorded based on the appropriate moisture scale as outlined in the attached document titled “Understanding Moisture Readings” All penetrations made by the survey professional to facilitate moisture readings will be sealed using an approved sealant, which conforms to SV industry standards. The survey professional will attempt to match the color of the caulk used with the color of the mortar joint.
Compile and Evaluate Data:
Upon completion of the inspection, all data compiled will be evaluated and transposed into moisture damage assessments that will detail an evaluation of any problems observed as related to the overall performance of the SV system. This report will include, but not be limited to:
- Narrative report with description of problem and recommended solution
- Photo Log
- Elevation photo(s), with moisture readings
It should be noted these inspection protocols when combined, are designed to completely and accurately determine the condition of the SV System. In our opinion, anything less will not give an accurate or reliable overview of the condition of the SV System. Attachments to be included in the final report:
- Moisture Readings
- Inspector/Reviewer CV
- Understanding Moisture Readings
Once the inspection report has been delivered to the client and a qualified repair contractor has been engaged, repairs can commence.
There is however, one more step that many building owners/managers have chosen to take in order to ensure that the repairs are completed in a manner consistent with manufacturer’s recommended details and/or MVMA Guidelines.
Cliff Kapson Consulting, Ltd has a repair-monitoring program that not only provides “peace of mind” for the client, but also assists property managers and/or homeowner association officers and other board members in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility by providing written documentation of said repairs from an independent third-party.
We provide all of our clients with a customized “Repair Protocol” based on the findings of our inspection. This document can be used by the client when requesting repair bids and provides a guideline for the minimum standards required for a successful repair.
Another key element to our repair monitoring program is that all site visits are randomly scheduled. This allows our inspectors to observe “real working” conditions. Each site visit is photo documented. In most cases we are not contracted to be the “Project Manager”, therefore, to supplement our site visits we require that all repairs also be photo-documented at the critical stages by the repair contractor. This additional documentation is critical to ensure that repairs are in conformance with the standards outlined above.
Any “problems” observed at the time of inspection are documented and are expected to be corrected along with photo and written documentation of corrective action by the contractor prior to our next site visit. The frequency and fees for these site visits are determined by the scope of work to be performed. Additionally, every attempt is made to maintain an open line of communication with the repair contractor throughout the repair process. This helps to avoid redundant site visits. Upon completion of the repairs, Cliff Kapson Consulting, Ltd will submit a “Final Letter of Completion” along with photo-documentation of our site visits.
Remediation Follow-Up Inspection
If a client chooses to have repairs completed based on the inspection and report provided by Cliff Kapson Consulting, we also offer a Remediation Follow Up Inspection. We refer to the FINAL PDF report from the inspection performed, go through each finding that was reported as improper, and make sure each recommended solution has been properly completed. We provide photo documentation of our of properly completed repairs. For any items that have NOT been repaired where recommendations were made to do so, or were not done properly, we also provide photo documentation of those conditions. A final report (similar to the initial report) will be provided.
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