The A-Action Team offers both our residential and commercial building inspection clients a full range of EIFS, or Exterior Insulated Finishing Systems, (sometimes referred to as “synthetic stucco”) and Traditional Hard Coat Stucco Inspections.

Stucco Moisture Survey Sample Report

Performing a EIFS Inspection of Traditional Stucco Inspection

A moisture inspection is intended to identify installation defects, locate areas of high moisture content in the sheathing and framing, to identify areas where the substrate has already been damaged by water, and to identify areas of potential moisture intrusion. Often, a stucco moisture inspection will detect leaks that are not related to the stucco system at all.

For example, our inspectors have located plumbing leaks, roof leaks and leaks from shower and bathtub enclosures during stucco moisture inspections. In a standard stucco moisture inspection both an infrared camera (thermal imaging technology) and a non-intrusive moisture scanner are used to identify areas of probable high moisture content. In areas where the scanner indicates high moisture content probability a probe moisture meter is inserted to test for the moisture content of the substrate and to test for firmness or damage to the substrate. The probe moisture meter is also used at random locations throughout the system, and in areas where potential moisture intrusion typically occurs, such as near windows. High moisture content in the probe reading indicates that water intrusion has indeed occurred and may be causing structural damage to the building. If the probe indicates that the substrate is soft, this could be a sign that significant damage has already occurred. The probe moisture meter will make two small ice pick-sized holes in the surface, which are then sealed by the inspector with color matching industry-approved sealant.

Our Stucco Inspection Includes:
Inspection Protocols Used
  • A Visual Examination of the condition of the stucco system, exterior sealants, flashings, windows, doors, roof-to-stucco transitions, parapets, gutters, deck-to-building connections, stucco terminations and any penetrations through the stucco system.
  • Infrared Thermal Imaging (Interior & Exterior)
  • Electronic Surface Moisture Scanning
  • Invasive Moisture Testing of the Structure (we test the moisture levels of the building framing behind the stucco cladding system and map the moisture readings for every elevation)
  • Substrate Firmness Testing (test probe sites are also measured with the SRT or Hammer Probe to determine the condition of the substrate)
  • Building Moisture Infiltration Analysis
  • General Building Leak Detection
  • Full Moisture Mapping Report and Remediation Recommendations

We DO NOT perform any remediation or repair work. We are not stucco remediation/installation contractors. We are certified leak detection experts who provide an unbiased, professional, third party reporting on the condition of the structure.

  • Exterior Design Institute (EDI) Standards of Practice for Stucco Assessment
  • EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA) Standards of Practice for Stucco Assessment
  • ASTM C 926 - Standard Specification for Application of Portland Cement-Based Stucco
  • ASTM Standards for the different types of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems
Inspector Credential
  • Certified Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) & Stucco Third Party Inspector – Exterior Design Institute (EDI)
  • Certified Adhered Stone Inspector - Exterior Design Institute (EDI)
  • Certified Third Party Moisture Analysis Inspector – Exterior Design Institute (EDI)
  • Level I Thermal Imaging / Infrared Thermography For Building, Roofs and Mechanical – The Snell Group
  • Licensed Professional Building Inspector
1What is EIFS?
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulated Finish Systems. It is also known as synthetic stucco. EIFS first was imported to the United States in the late 60s. Lately, there has been a lot of excitement over this system and its documented failure as a siding system. There have been many reasons given for this failure, but almost everything can be traced back to faulty installation.
2What is the difference between EIFS and Stucco?
EIFS come in several different types. But the typical installation includes the substrate, polystyrene foam board fastened or glued to the substrate, fiberglass reinforcement mesh, base coat (usually 1/16 to 1/4 inches thick), and then a finish coat.

Stucco on the other hand is plaster Portland cement. The stucco assembly usually includes a substrate over the framing members (there is an open framing system) with a moisture barrier present, self furring lath, plaster cement basecoat, and finally the hard coat finish.

Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. However, it is the EIFS that has had the most problems. Read further about EIFS and its problems below.
3“Is EIFS really a problem in the Dallas, Texas, area?”
The simple answer is “Yes.” EIFS has problems in just about any place that it has been used in home construction in the United States. The problem is improper installation and lack of proper detailing and sealing of the EIFS. Most applicators either do not care or do not know the proper procedure for applying EIFS. This leads to failure in a very short time and water intrusion. If problems are identified and remedied quickly, damage and costs can usually be limited. A thorough and complete inspection and testing is very important in identifying areas of moisture intrusion.
4“Our builder said that all the EIFS problems only concern older homes and that new homes do not have these problems”
Well, like many other things your builder told you, he’s stretching the truth on this also. We have found even new homes with the same old moisture-related problems, all because of improper installation.
5“What are some of the signs that my EIFS is failing or has failed?”
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, and water stains on the outside or inside of the wall at and around the windows.
6“What do the testing and inspection include?”
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 level areas through the finish coat to determine the moisture level of the wood framing behind the EIFS and to try to 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 require repair or further invasive testing. (Note: This testing is for EIFS only inspections.)
7“Will the probe holes be noticeable?”
The answer is usually “Yes” but only if you know what you are looking for. 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 an area we find moisture in. After we are done testing, a sealant is used to fill and seal the holes. Usually, after we are done, people cannot find our holes unless they know the exact spot to look.
8“What is the price of an EIFS Inspection?”
The cost varies from home to home depending upon the square footage of the home, how much EIFS there is on the home, and the extent and complexity of the EIFS. The average EIFS inspection runs from $350 to $700. The cost of our inspections is a real bargain when realizing that replacing the EIFS and wall structure of a home may run into the tens of thousands of dollars if the moisture intrusion is ignored. Which would you rather have: a $600 report detailing the moisture intrusion that gives you the information to get repairs initiated or a $200 report that tells you little or nothing about your system?
9“Do you also do repair work on EIFS?”
Unlike many other so-called EIFS inspectors in the area, we do not make repairs ourselves and we are not affiliated with any repair companies. These types of inspectors can overstate problems with your EIFS so that the repair bill can be inflated.

Our clients that have used our inspection services on their non-EIFS homes know how thorough and professional we are. We bring that same type of professionalism and thoroughness into the EIFS field also. If you’re serious about finding out if you have moisture problems, contact us or give us a call at (972) 572-4500 today and we will be happy to discuss your home or property with you.

For More EIFS Information: EIMA – EIFS Industry Members Association | EDI – Exterior Design Institute