Text Box: Thomas A. Gaba  ASHI® Member since 1994


Inspection Guide

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EIFS & Stucco


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Inspection Survey

Q: How do I choose a Home Inspector?

A:   Call up and ask about their credentials and experience. If for some reason you don't feel comfortable asking this of the inspector when speaking with them on the phone then how will you feel asking questions at the inspection. You must feel that the inspector is qualified, experienced and attentive of your needs.    More



EIFS/Stucco Inspection Agreement for:

Client EIFS/Stucco Agreement

Property Owner EIFS/Stucco Agreement

in PDF format



Guide to EIFS Construction

EIMA Inspection Guidelines

in PDF format

Acrobat Reader is Required to view PDF files, download it free

Copyright: Buyers Home Inspection Service, Inc. 1994    



The potential problem with E.I.F.S... 

The potential problem with E.I.F.S is that moisture can get trapped behind the highly water resistant material with no way out. This can cause the framing to rot and foster the growth of mold between the exterior and interior walls. Damp and rotting wood is also a prime target for subterranean termites and carpenter ants. It should be stated that the potential for these conditions exist with any type of exterior siding product be it brick veneer, wood, or vinyl siding. The potential for this condition with E.I.F.S however can be exacerbated by its superior water resistance. Once moisture gets in, regardless of its origin, it usually has no escape.

The main locations where water tends to infiltrate into the framing structure of a building using an E.I.F.S is around doors and windows, where the roof connects to the E.I.F.S (roof flashing), and below extended exterior deck connections. Also, any moisture from within the home trying to find a path out will likely be thwarted by the E.I.F.S.

New innovations i.e. one piece Kickouts, are recommend details in all installations today. Some common areas of deviation include improper kickouts (examples of proper kickouts and what type of damage missing kickouts can cause is shown below), flat accents and cracking noted at the junction of the EIFS and the brick/stone veneer exterior claddings. In the local climate, these minor installation defects occasionally cause moisture penetration of the EIFS


The E.I.F.S industry has been plagued by class action, and individual lawsuits (particularly in humid/rainy climates). The public’s confidence in the products have been shaken to say the least. The lawsuits contend that the problem is with the nature of the product and the manufacturers contend that sloppy installation and poor maintenance are the culprits.


Regardless of who is “right”, its clear that homes with E.I.F.S require special scrutiny during inspection


  The Buyers Home Inspection Service, Inc. is dedicated in helping prospective home buyers, sellers and Realtors® understand the networking of the systems within their EIFS & Stucco clad homes


View some of our E.I.F.S. & Stucco Inspections 


There are three types of E.I.F.S. inspections, Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 inspections


Phase 1 inspections, being the least invasive, would only use visual observations of the wall surfaces (performed during your general home inspection or as requested) and the most invasive, Phase 3 inspection which would employ techniques such as cutting into the wall surfaces and/or probing holes.

All the inspections follow the E.D.I. (Exterior Design Institute) and Moisture Warranty Corporation protocols and the E.I.M.A. guidelines for the inspection process. All inspectors are nationally certified and have completed the requirements and passed the examinations of the Exterior Design Institute. E.D.I. is the only certification agency in the United States for third party E.I.F.S. inspections of all synthetic stucco systems.

It should be noted that this company does not perform Phase 3 inspections.



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Phase 1 inspections are visually based and non invasive.

The building is visually inspected from all wall surfaces. The condition of the surface lamina, installation techniques of the wall system, caulking and flashing systems will all be individually inspected and evaluated. All windows, doors and other wall penetrations are inspected and tested. All accent moldings, wall penetrations, exterior attachments, and joints are inspected, tested, and recorded. Any moisture measurements (if necessary and as an extra fee) are taken with Tramex Wet Wall moisture meters on the exterior of the wall surfaces  of the building. Each measurement is documented. Where any moisture is detected, digital cameras are used to document the readings and conditions. The inspection of the building will be followed by a detailed written report and photographic evidence derived from the visual observations of the exterior finishing systems as well as the instrument readings of the wall surfaces.  If an area of the residence is inaccessible, it will be noted in the report.





Phase 2 inspections will employ all the above techniques but will also use a Delmhorst probe so as to further evaluate those areas where there have been high moisture readings detected with the Tramex moisture meters.

The probe holes needed to test with the Delmhorst meter are 4" to 7" long and will be 3/16" diameter (see photo on right). The holes will be bored or punctured through the E.I.F.S. finish in specific areas, so as to test the substrate integrity, moisture percent and verified with the impedance meter reading. Where any moisture is detected, digital cameras are used to document the readings and conditions. The inspection of the building will be followed by a detailed written report and photographic evidence derived from the visual observations of the exterior finished systems as well as the instrument readings of the wall surfaces. The holes will be filled with a matching caulking. Normally there are 30 to 50 holes bored into a house wall surface, (depending on the meter readings) in addition to the 80 or more moisture readings. If an area of the building is inaccessible, it will be noted in the report



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Phase 3 inspections combine all the above techniques as well as cutting out the wall areas where there were high readings detected with the two previously mentioned meters, and examining the substrate in the high moisture meter reading areas.



The cutting of the interior or the exterior will be accomplished as needed by your restoration contractor. The core sample will be evaluated and recorded. Like the Phase 1 and Phase 2 inspections, the written and photographic reports will be invalided in this report system. It should be noted that this company does not perform Phase 3 inspections.
















When requesting an EIFS moisture probe inspection, one must understand there are strict protocols' that will be followed.

The main one is weather conditions.


We cannot perform moisture inspections while it is raining or the surface of the EIFS cladding is wet, this will contaminate the results of the readings.

Moisture Probe inspections cannot be performed if the temperatures are below freezing for long periods of time, again we cannot obtain a proper moisture reading of the substrate.


These two conditions of protocols may delay any Real-estate transactions by days or weeks in certain climates or seasons of the year.




The cost of the Inspections vary depending which phase type of inspection, size of the building, locations of the EIFS cladding and access of the EIFS cladding  it to be inspected.

Photos of the property would expedite a better fee quote.


Please call for all fee quotes at      440-243-7166



There is no warranty implied as the value, life expectancy, fitness for particular function, usefulness, or merchantability, and therefore, Buyers Home Inspection Services, Inc. assumes no liability as to the future condition of the E.I.F.S. system after the inspection.

All of the reports will detail the areas of the E.I.F.S. systems that are not in conformance with the accepted workmanlike installation techniques by the E.I.F.S. Industry Members Association, (EIMA). Right and left will be determined as one faces the front door from the exterior of the house. Our customers should not hesitate to call if there is anything we can assist them with in the future.



Click map to enlarge for EIFS/Stucco inspection coverage area



EIFS Legal Network


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Copyright: Buyers Home Inspection Service, Inc. 1994 


What are E.I.F.S?

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (E.I.F.S.) sometimes referred to as Synthetic Stucco, are multi-layered exterior wall systems that are used on both commercial buildings and homes. E.I.F.S. were introduced in the U.S. almost 30 years ago and were first used on commercial buildings and then later on homes. E.I.F.S. typically consist of an insulation board make of polystyrene foam (which is secured to the exterior wall surface with an adhesive and/or mechanical attachment), a water-resistant base coat applied on top of the insulation and reinforced with fiberglass mesh, and a finish coat typically using acrylic co-polymer technology. This type of system is often referred to as artificial stucco.

"EIFS / Stucco should be inspected every 3 to 5 years for any damage, cracking, deterioration, caulking failure, or water intrusion ."

The best way to get an unbiased, accurate evaluation of the E.I.F.S cladding on your home is to have a qualified third party inspector test for moisture in the substrate behind the cladding. Tom Gaba has been certified by the Exterior Design Institute and Moisture Warranty Corporation to perform E.I.F.S inspections according to protocol they developed to evaluate the condition and performance of the cladding.


View some of our E.I.F.S. & Stucco Inspections


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