Problems associated with Hardcoat STUCCO and EIFS include water damage and insect damage but not for the reasons you may suspect. Typically, when Stucco is being applied to a house, it is done on a different day than the roofing system and the windows and doors. This is one of the biggest problems. Because the stucco is applied separately from the roofing, windows & doors, the communication between contractors is lost. There are certain preventative maintenance measures, such as flashing, that should be applied to certain areas of the roof and to certain areas of the windows and doors that will protect the Stucco and the underlying wood from water. Over a period of just a few years or even less (depending on the conditions), window frames, door frames, and even wall frames will rot and deteriorate heavily, which seriously compromises the structural integrity of a home.

Landscapers play a significant role in the gradual deterioration of a Stucco home as well. After the Stucco has been applied to the home and the building process is for the most part complete, a landscaping crew pulls in their bobcats and other equipment and proceeds to push the surrounding dirt right up against the bottom of the Stucco. This is NOT GOOD. It provides a clear and easy path for termites and other wood destroying insects to enter the home and eat it from the ground up. This problem is typically bigger with EIFS than with Harcoat STUCCO, according to the termite companies. Although, there is still some debate among Home Inspectors and industy professionals as to Hardcoat STUCCO's resistance to termites.

The one thing that the Hardcoat STUCCO and EIFS applicators tend to get wrong is the type of sealant used to protect transition joints (the spaces between the stucco and other exterior materials such as trim). Most applicators will use some type of caulk (if anything at all) for this purpose. This is not a very well thought out practice. Caulk is not designed to stop water. Its main function is to stop air and noise. A good example of a type of sealant that should be used is Dow Corning 795 Sealant, which IS designed to stop water. This sealant should be used at all transition joints and anywhere there may be a penetration through the stucco such as utilities, hose bibs, etc.



Stucco veneer is a system! Stucco systems must:

Have proper kickouts and flashings.

Have ground clearance.

Have properly flashed decks.

Have all penetrations, transition joints, and trim completely sealed with dow corning 795 sealant. (or equivalent)

Have proper flashing and sealants around windows and doors.

Have clean, properly installed gutters.

Be inspected annually.





Exterior Insulation Finish Systems

Q. What is an "Exterior Insulation Finish System?" (EIFS)

A. Most commonly referred to as EIFS, it is a barrier cladding system that originated in Europe. It was introduced in the sixties and found a strong demand in the US during the middle seventies. The superior characteristics of energy conservation, aesthetic versatility, low cost and reduced maintenance made EIFS a very popular choice for exterior cladding.


Q. How long will EIFS last?

A. Properly installed and maintained EIFS will last a very long time. I have examined thirty-year-old installations in the US and forty year old structures in Europe with EIFS that were every bit as serviceable as they day they were installed.


Q. I was told EIFS was maintenance free. Is that accurate?

A. No. All exterior cladding types require maintenance and upkeep of some sort over time, including brick. EIFS are however, a low maintenance and durable cladding. The same could be said for hard coat stucco especially those installations that use a synthetic stucco finish.


Q. Is there one type of EIFS?

A. Several EIFS types are recognized by the industry. However, hybrid types have evolved in the marketplace that are not backed up by quality control, tested specifications or installation techniques.


Q. Are EIFS Fundamentally Flawed?

A. No. The problems associated with Class PB EIFS, the original and most common type, have been determined to be the result of improper installation and not the product itself. Some of the hybrid systems have unique problems in terms of manufacturer’s quality and installation procedures.


Q. Do I have Dryvit™ on my house?

A. Dryvit™ is the name of a major EIFS manufacturer. The name Dryvit™ has become the most recognized by both tradesman and the consumer and is often used generically to identify EIFS. When asked, many homeowners will identify their cladding as Dryvit™. However, after examinations only 28% of examinations were in fact a Dryvit™ product.


Q. Would you buy an EIFS house?

A. From a technical perspective, if properly installed I would have no qualms in owning an EIFS house.


Synthetic Stucco


Q. What is Synthetic Stucco?

A. The term Synthetic Stucco first entered the lexicon of EIFS tradesman in the early '70s as a synonym to "exterior insulation and finish system." The term now is generally recognized as a label to define the actual textured finish used on most EIFS and Stucco homes today, hard coat or synthetic. Consequently, most stucco homes today look the same to the untrained eye.


Synthetic Stucco Finish


Q. Should I have my home pressure washed?

A. No. Pressure washing the Synthetic Stucco finish will damage it. Have it chemically washed with low pressure water and a bleach soap solution according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Q. Can I paint my Synthetic Stucco finish?

A. Why paint? I've seen few synthetic stucco finishes that required painting even after twenty years. However, if you want to change the color paint only with paint recommended by the manufacturer of your finish. If you like the color, wash as above and save yourself a lot of money.


Hard Coat Stucco

Q. Does hard coat stucco have moisture problems?

A. Generally speaking hard coat stucco will dry quicker than the full synthetic variety. However, the sources of moisture in EIFS are typically the same in hard coat stucco installations. Moreover, when EIFS are used as aesthetic trim and banding on hard coat applications the problem is compounded under those areas with EIFS covering the hard coat surface. Many hard coat stucco installations use a synthetic stucco finish today and moisture retention in the surface is not a problem.


Q. Are cracks a problem in Hard Coat Stucco with a Synthetic Stucco finish?

A. Cracks are a normal characteristic of hard coat stucco, even those with a Synthetic Stucco finish and in most cases attempts at repairing them are unnecessary, fruitless and unsightly. If the crack is 1/4 inch wide or more it may be a symptom of another problem.


Q. What about cracks in Hard Coat Stucco without a Synthetic Stucco Finish?

A. Hard Coat stucco without a Synthetic Stucco finish can have cracks of 1/8 inch wide or less spanned by an acrylic Elastomeric type coating. Larger cracks can be repaired before the Elastomeric coating is applied.


Surface Stains

Q. What is the cause of the rust stains on my stucco's finish?

A. Most rust stains are caused by the use of improper fasteners penetrating the rigid board insulation in EIFS. Theses stains begin to show up a few years after installation of the EIFS and tend to be in a pattern rather than random if used extensively. Rust stains all over the cladding could be an improper mineral in the finish itself. This phenomena occurs soon after installation and is always random and extensive. In either case, painting will not solve the problem. The rust will return quickly and will get progressively worse.


Q. What is the cause of the white stains on my stucco's finish?

A. White stains that appear to emanate from under the finish are most likely efflorescence. The stain comes from the curing process of the cement in the scratch coats of regular stucco and travels to the surface by way of vapor pressure. It normally is not a problem and will disappear in time.


Home Inspectors and Home Inspections

Q. Do I need a complete home inspection?

A. No. What is required is an examination and analysis of the exterior cladding and it’s components on your home. This is a separate or supplemental report to a typical home inspection and requires a qualified specialist. A typical home inspector does not have the skills and experience to make an analysis of your stucco's performance.


Repairing EIFS & Stucco

Q. How do I repair my Stucco?

A. The techniques for repairs differ depending on the type of Stucco and the presence or absence of EIFS trim and or banding. Repairs require a qualified remedial specialist and not a typical stucco installer.


Q. How do I repair my EIFS?

A. The first requirement is to determine the type of EIFS on your home. With so many EIFS types in the market place no one procedure prevails. The most important factor in determining the work to be done is a third party expert. It's a big mistake to have the worker determine the scope of work.



Q. How do I know if I have moisture in my walls?

A. Unfortunately, often you won't observe any symptoms until substantial damage exists. A well trained, experienced stucco inspector will be able to make a fairly accurate estimation based on tell tale signs after a thorough examination. The only other way is to tear down the wall coverings.(stucco, siding, etc.)


Q. How did the moisture get there in the first place?

A. Missing flashing, leaking windows and missing isolation or sealant joints are the most common causes.


Q. Is mold or mildew a symptom of moisture in the walls?

A. Most mold and mildew is of the airborne variety and harmless to the outside surface. If you have mold or mildew on the interior walls you have another set of problems. Most mold or mildew that collects on the interior walls is a result of poor air circulation in areas of high humidity and low light. If the mold present doesn't disappear with improved circulation and light you need the problem examined immediately by an expert. Toxic mold can be a very serious health issue.


Q. How is moisture detected in EIFS?

A. It is important to understand the EIFS itself will not hold moisture. These systems are mostly made of plastic type materials. It is the wood and other components adjacent to and behind the EIFS that get wet. Two types of equipment are generally used to detect and measure moisture. One is non-intrusive and is used as a detection device. The other is intrusive and actually measures the amount of moisture in the components. The use of both of these equipment types requires correct procedures and a trained operator.


Q. Can that equipment be used on all EIFS types?

A. No. As a rule this equipment is of little value in detecting or measuring moisture in any type other than Class PB EIFS.


Q. What about Infrared or Radar detection techniques?

A. Infrared and Radar can be used to detect moisture behind EIFS. The important thing to remember is that a positive detection of moisture is a symptom of the problem and a negative measurement means little.



Q. How do Termites get in?

A. In the cases of EIFS and Stucco, access is provided to termites when the cladding is in or too close or in the ground. In the case of EIFS, termites travel in the rigid board insulation to the wood fiber nutrients of the structure. In hard coat cladding in the ground the termites travel behind the cladding and gain access to the wood components.


Q. Can termites be controlled in EIFS and Stucco homes?

A. It's very difficult if the cladding is in the ground. The termites travel in the foam board or behind the cladding where chemicals can't reach. If enough moisture is present in the walls the termites have no need to return back to the ground. Evidence is mounting that they can breed in the walls in these conditions. They are protected from predators, chemicals and have access to moisture and food. These problems were made worse when the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT. After that, more environmentally friendly but less effective chemicals came into wide spread use.


Q. Why did the builder put the Stucco in the ground?

A. Because that's what they have always done in the case of hard coat stucco. Although the EIFS industry had specifications in place that prevented their product from being put in the ground, most builders in most areas continued the practice with the synthetic variety of stucco.


Legal Rights, Damage Claims

Q. Can I make claims for damages?

A. Your legal rights and claims for damages will be determined by your state laws. Only a competent legal advisor can provide the proper guidance and advice. Class action lawsuits have been filed in a number of states and there are numerous active individual EIFS and Stucco cases filed in many states around the country and in Canada.


Q. Who is responsible for the improper installation of my Stucco?

A. Responsibility varies according to the jurisdiction where the lawsuit is filed. In some states the builder has been held liable, while in others the manufacturers. Still in others locales the installers and suppliers are held liable. A qualified attorney experienced in construction law and familiar with EIFS and Stucco lawsuits should be consulted if you are considering a legal action.


Q. Will my homeowners insurance cover damages?

A. Generally, no. But check your policy issued in your state. Successful claims are not unheard of though.


Q. What role will the Examiner play in any lawsuit?

A. Assuming you have a competent attorney, without question your "expert's findings and recommendations and ability to back them up" will make or break your case.


The Facts About EIFS


* Interior wall damage and the infestation of termites are a clear and present hazard to some EIFS and Stucco homes.

* Properly installed EIFS or Stucco are durable, aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance exterior claddings.

* Homeowners and others are often misled about associated problems. EIFS are not fundamentally flawed products.

* Associated problems are most often hidden from the untrained eye until severe damage has occurred.

* Different EIFS and Stucco type installations appear the same to the untrained observer. Damaging moisture intrusion is most often the result of missing or improper installation of flashing.

* Determining the amount of moisture in the wall components is of little value in determining the reason water is present.

* Damaging amounts of moisture can enter and collect behind most EIFS and Stucco cladding types.

* Moisture detection and measurement is conducted on the materials behind or adjacent to the EIFS, not the cladding itself.

* The absence of negative moisture findings at any given time means little in the overall projected performance analysis.


Moisture Damage

* Water entry through the surface of an EIFS is rarely observed.

* EIFS are virtually waterproof. Moisture enters around the windows and improper or missing flashing.

* Stucco will absorb some moisture without detrimental effects.

* All EIFS and Stucco cladding installations allow moisture entry to some extent without damage around the penetrations in the cladding.


Interior wall damage

* Moisture damage to the interior wall components, along with the presence of wood destroying organisms, is very difficult to detect and confirm without an intrusive examination.

* Wood window and door assemblies quickly deteriorate in several EIFS and Stucco types.

* Interior wall components deteriorate very quickly if water enters behind one particular EIFS type.

* Wood window and door assembles quickly rot in most "hard coat" EIFS.

* Hard coat stucco installations with EIFS trim and banding experience the most rapid and severe damage to window and door components.

* Most interior wall damage occurs in the banding and structural plate where water migrates and collects.


EIFS & Stucco Types

* Substandard materials are often substituted for the components that make up an approved EIFS.

* There are least seven EIFS types, not one.

* Some EIFS types are hybrid and lack technical support.


Maintenance and Care of Synthetic Stucco

* Rust stains are most often the result of the use of improper metal fasteners during installation.

* Most types of mold and mildew are not detrimental to EIFS or Stucco.

* Painting of a Synthetic Stucco finish is expensive, mostly unnecessary and often improperly done.

* Pressure washing Synthetic stucco can cause severe damage to the finish.

* Ivy or other climbing vegetation that attach to the synthetic stucco surface will damage the finish.


Termites and other wood destroying organisms

* Note: Annual Termite damage in the United States exceeds the combined damage of fires, tornadoes and hurricanes.

* Most EIFS and Stucco types are installed in such a way as to fail Pest Control protection. Termite activity and damage are commonly discovered in EIFS and Stucco homes during remedial work.

* Very often, the Pest Control Operator fails to detect and treat termites in EIFS and Stucco homes over extended periods of time.

* Wood destroying organisms, including termites, are common in EIFS and more destructive than in standard Stucco.

* Barrier termite protection is ineffective on most EIFS and Stucco installations.

* Cutting off your EIFS or Stucco could drive termites to breed in the walls of your home.

* Active termite infestations have been observed in homes with the new "termite bait station systems."

* Termites are foraging creatures and do not respond to "bait lures." The new bait perimeter systems have been observed as ineffective on many EIFS and Stucco homes.


Legal Arena

* Federal & State lawsuits have been filed in many states seeking damages for improper EIFS and Stucco installations.

* The cost to pursue a legal claim can be substantial and frustrating, but nowhere near the cost of repairing an EIFS and Stucco home with serious moisture damage and or termite damage.

* Only an attorney experienced in construction law in your state should be retained.

* Applicable laws concerning EIFS and Stucco litigation differ remarkably from state to state.

* Active EIFS and Stucco litigation around the country have forced changes in statutes of limitations in some states.


Market Dynamics

* Property Values are threatened four ways: Technical Problems, Market Perception Useless Remedial Work, and Termite Protection and Control

* A pre-sale examination report is an effective negotiation tool.



* Builders need to understand that EIFS require special expertise to install properly, at little extra cost. An independent third party Examiner is the best insurance for proper installation.


Home Inspectors

* The structural wall components will determine the overall performance of the cladding.

* A competent Inspector can tell the type of cladding, predict performance and define remedial procedures.

* All EIFS and Stucco cladding are subject to moisture entry. Understanding which ones will dry and which won't is the trick.

* Knowing the amount of moisture in the wall components is of little value in determining the reason water is present.



aGlossary of EIFS and Stucco Terms

Home Inspection Headquarters feels strongly in our clients' being able to make educated decisions when it comes to purchasing, identifying, repairing, or replacing EIFS or Stucco claddings. The following is a comprehensive list of EIFS, Stucco and related construction terms posted for your knowledge and benefit.


AAMA -American Architectural Manufacturers Association.

ACI - American Concrete Institute.

ACRYLIC - Any of a class of synthetic plastics, resins, and oils used to manufacture many products.

ADHESION - Important in determining whether an adhesive joint will perform.

ADHESIVE - Used to attach expanded polystyrene to an approved substrate. May be the same material as ground coat or a special compound.

AESTHETIC GROVES or JOINTS - Lines, joints or groves in the field of the EIFS or Stucco that do not extend all the way through the RBI or Scratch coats.

AGGREGATE - Crushed stone, slag or water-worn gravel that comes in a wide range of sizes. Used as filler for strength and texture.

ALLIGATORING - A characteristic of asphalt, which occurs during the aging process in which the loss of volatile oils and the oxidation brought about by solar radiation, produces a pattern of cracks which resemble an alligator hide, because of the limited tolerance of asphalt to thermal expansion or contraction. ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials.

BACKER ROD - To support the requirement for a non-stick third surface in an isolation or expansion joint a "backer rod" is pushed into the open joint. The backer rod is made of closed-cell polyethylene that provides "mass" to the joint, limits shrinkage and presents a third surface the sealant will NOT bond to. If the sealant joint is not deep enough to allow the use of a backer rod a "bond breaker tape" is used.

BANDED PENETRATIONS - EIFS or Stucco installations with EIFS banding or trim around major penetration such as window or doors.

BASE COAT - An EIFS component consisting of a polymer based or modified cementitious material used to cover the rigid board insulation and imbed the glass fiber reinforcing mesh.

BEAD - A semi-rounded strip (bead) of caulking material.

BEAM - A heavy main support structure, steel or wood running horizontally between columns and load bearing walls.

BEARING SURFACE - The contact surface between the foundation and floor joist, beam, open steel joist or hollow core slab.

BOND BREAKER - A substance or a tape applied between two adjoining materials to prevent adhesion between them.

CAVITY INSULATION - The insulation material installed between the studs and framing openings.

CEMENTITIOUS - A material that contains Portland cement.

CHALK (ing) - The resulting dust that occurs on a surface that is susceptible to Ultra Violet degradation.

CHECKING - A pattern of surface cracks running in irregular lines.

CLOSED CELL POLYETHYLENE - Material used to make approved backer rods for use in expansion and isolation joints.

COATING - A layer material spread over a surface for protection.

CODE - Collection requirements for a particular subject to regulate a specific practice.

COMPONENT - Any one part of an assembly associated with construction, EIFS, or Stucco cladding.

CONDENSATION - Deposition of a liquid or a solid from its vapor, generally upon a surface that is cooler than the adjacent gas.

CONDENSATION POINT - A substance condenses when the pressure exerted by its vapor exceeds the vapor pressure of the liquid or solid phase of the substance at the temperature of the surface where condensation occurs

CONDITION CONDUCIVE - A pest control industry term generally used to describe installation conditions in EIFS and Stucco homes that allow the infiltration of termites.

CONTROL JOINT - A control joint controls or accommodates the coating application on the surface of an EIFS or Stucco wall.

CORE - A small hole bored from any material to show internal composition. A core is taken from the field of an EIFS or Stucco clad wall to verify the materials used and construction components.

CORNICE - A horizontal projecting course on the exterior of a building, usually at the base of the parapet.

CORROSION - The deterioration of metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to weathering, moisture, chemicals or other agents or media.

COPING - A construction unit placed at the top of the parapet wall to serve as a cover for the wall.

CORRUGATED - Folded or shaped into parallel ridges or furrows so as to form a symmetrically wavy surface.

COURSE - A single layer of brick or stone or other building material.

COVERAGE - The published area a material will cover variable due to surface conditions and application techniques.

CRAZING - A series of hairline cracks in the surface of weathered materials, having a web-like appearance.

CRICKET - The evaluation of a part of a roof surface as a means of promoting drainage of water from behind an obstacle such as chimney.

CURB - A short wall or masonry built above the level of the roof. It provides a means of flashing the deck equipment.

CURING - The process of eliminating or combining compounds in the materials.

DAMPPROOFING - A process used on concrete, masonry or stone surfaces for the purpose of repelling water. Moisture vapor readily penetrates coatings of this type. The main purpose of dampproofing is to prevent the coated surface from absorbing rainwater while allowing is to breathe moisture vapor out of the structure.

DEAD LOAD - The constant designed weight (of the roof) and any permanent fixtures attached above or below.

DECK - The base surface to which a roof system is applied.

DEFLECT - To bend or deform under weight

DESIGN BUILD GROUP - Architects, Engineers, Custom builders and those entities involved in the design and creation of specifications for EIFS and Stucco clad structures.

DETAILS - Generally, specifications, drawings or written guidelines for the installation of EIFS and Stucco cladding.

DEW POINT - The critical temperature at which vapor condenses from the atmosphere and forms water.

DISSIMILAR MATERIALS or CONSTRUCTION - When different material or construction abut or meet; EIFS to concrete, EIFS to wood, etc.

DOOR HEAD - The top of the doorframe.

DORMER - The house-like structure which projects from a sloping roof.

DOWNSPOUT - The metal pipe used to drain water from a roof.

DRAWING OUTLINE - A top view drawing, of a building or roof showing only the perimeter drawn to scale.

DRYING - Time required for a material to eliminate excess water and combine compounds to finished product.

DRIP EDGE - A device designed to prevent water from running back or under an overhang. Sometime used at the head of windows or doors.

EAVE - The part of a roof which projects out from the sidewall or the lower edge of the part of a roof that overhangs a wall.

EDGE METAL - A term relating to brake or extruded metal around the perimeter of a roof.

EFFLORESCENCE - The process by which water leeches soluble salts out of concrete or mortar and deposits them on the surface as a white stain. Also, used as the name for these deposits.

EIFS - EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems) are non-load-bearing, barrier walls and exterior cladding systems generally consisting of five basic components. ...And distinguished by a Rigid Board Insulation attached to the exterior side of the load bearing wall: 1 Rigid Insulation Board 2 EPS Board is attached to the substrate by means of an adhesive. Optional mechanical fasteners may also be used. 3 Base Coat, (imbedding material, ground coat) 4 Glass Fiber Reinforcing Mesh imbedded into the base coat. 5 A textured protective Finish. (Synthetic Stucco)

EIFS Litigation - The many lawsuits filed by Homeowners and other Plaintiffs concerning the performance of Exterior Insulation Finish Systems .

EIMA - (EIFS Industry Members Association) EIFS industry association. Formally, Exterior Insulation Manufacturers Association.

ELONGATION - the result when a material is tested for its mechanical, thermal, electrical, radiation, or other properties. Test procedures are standardized to assure comparable, consistent, and reliable results.

ELASTOMERIC - A general term for any of the numerous flexible coatings that contain rubber or plastic.

EMULSION - A coating consisting of compounds and fillers suspended in water.

EXPANSION COEFFICIENT - The amount that a specific material will vary in any one dimension with a change of temperature.

EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS) - A type of Rigid Board Insulation wire cut from large blocks and used in Class PB-EIFS that may be adhesively or mechanically fastened to the substrate.

EXPANSION JOINT - A device used to make up the motion of expansion and contraction of the materials. This provides for the movement of the materials forming the walls, roof deck and roof covering is usually made by deliberately separating the building into sections, and covering separation between adjacent sections with the expansion joint to allow movement but keep out the weather. Expansion joints, unlike control joints, penetrate through to the substrate.

EXTERIOR CLADDING - Any type of non-load bearing decorative protective siding attached to a wall substrate.

EXTERIOR CLADDING - The components of a building exposed to the outdoor environment intended to provide interior protection.

EXTRUDED POLYSTYRENE (XEPS) - A type of Rigid Board Insulation used with Class PM and PA-EIFS that is mechanically fastened to the substrate.

EXTRUSION - An item formed by forcing a base metal (frequently aluminum) or plastic, at a malleable temperature, through a die to achieve a desired shape.

EYEBROW - A flat, normally concrete, projection which protrudes horizontally from a building wall; Eyebrows are generally located above windows.

FAÇADE - The front of a building. Frequently, in architectural terms an artificial or decorative effort.

FACTORY MUTUAL FM - A major insurance agency that has established stringent guidelines for maximum construction integrity as it relates to fire and environmental hazards. Their specifications have become industry standards.

FASCIA - Any cover board at the edge or eaves of a flat, sloping, or overhanging roof which is placed in a vertical position to protect the edge of the roof assembly.

FASTENERS - A general term covering a wide variety of screws and nails which may be used for mechanically securing various components of a building.

FIRE WALL - Any wall built for the purpose of restricting or preventing the spread of fire in a building. Such walls of solid masonry or concrete generally sub-divided a building from the foundations to two or more feet above the plane of the roof.

FLAKE - A scale like particle. To lose bond from a surface in small thin pieces. Sometimes a paint film "flakes".

FLASHING - Connecting devices that seal membrane joints at expansion joints, walls, drains, gravel stops, and other places where the membrane is interrupted or terminated.

FLASHING BASE - The upturned edge of the watertight membrane formed at a roof termination point by the extension of the felts vertically over the cant strip and up the wall for a varying distance where they are secured with mechanical fasteners.

FLASHING, COUNTER - The formed metal secured to a wall, curb, or roof top unit to cover and protect the upper edge of a base flashing and its associated fasteners.

FLASH POINT - The critical temperature at which a material will ignite.

FLASHING, THRU-WALL - Flashing extended completely through a masonry wall. Designed and applied in combination with counter flashing, to prevent water which may enter the wall above from proceeding downward in the wall or into the roof deck or roofing system.

FLEXIBILITY - The ability of a material to bend without breaking or cracking.

FOOTING - The wider portion of the foundation a the bottom of the foundation wall.

FOLDED SEAM - In sheet metal work, a joint between sheets of metal wherein the edges of the sheets are crimped together and folded flat.

FLASHING, STEP - Individual small pieces of metal flashing material used to flash around chimneys, dormers, and such projections along the slope of a roof. The individual pieces are overlapped and stepped up the vertical surface.

FRR - (Fire Resistance Rating)

FRAMING - The wood or metal materials that make up the skeleton of a structure.

FRIEZE BOARD - The horizontal board under the fascia and soffet.

GABLE - The end of a building as distinguished from the front or rear side. The triangular end of and exterior wall from the level of the eaves to the ridge of a double-sloped roof.

GALVANIZE - To coat a metal with zinc by dipping in molten zinc after cleaning.

GAUGE - The thickness of sheet metal and wire, etc.

GENERAL SEALANT JOINTS - Used for miscellaneous penetrations in the EIFS and Stucco cladding. If the joint to be sealed is not deep or wide enough to accommodate both the sealant and backer rod, the sealant alone is used. The need to protect the sealant from bonding to a third surface can be accommodated with bond breaker tape. Bond breaker tape provides a non-stick surface to be used over a third surface the sealant may come in contact with. This procedure includes penetrations for hose bibs, cable, telephone, etc.

GLASS FIBER REINFORCING MESH - A Component used in EIFS. A treated fabric with a special coating and produced to individual manufactures' specifications.

GLASS FIBER REINFORCING MESH CORNER PROCEDURE - The process of protecting the corners of major penetrations in the EIFS from generating expansion and contraction cracks.

GLASS FIBER REINFORCING MESH BACK WRAPPING - A procedure required to insure EIFS long-term performance. Prior to applying the insulation boards to the substrate, a strip of reinforcing mesh is applied. The mesh is intended to wrap around the edge of the insulation board. This procedure is referred to as back wrapping. There are three intents of this procedure: 1 To protect the edges of the insulation board. 2 To provide a level surface to insure all edges of the board are well adhered. 3 To provide an adhesion surface for the sealant. GRADE - The average level of the ground adjoining a building at all exterior walls.

GRADE TERMINATION PROCEDURE- The process of terminating EIFS and Stucco near the ground.

GRANULES - The mineral particles of a graded size which are embedded in the asphalt coating of shingles and roofing.

GROUND COAT - See base coat.

GROUT OR GROUTING - cement mortar mixture commonly used to fill joints and cavities of masonry. On roof decks, the joints between many types of pre-cast roof deck slabs are grouted with cement grout.

GUTTER - Metal trough at the eaves of a roof to carry rainwater from the roof to the downspout.

GUTTER STRAP - Metal bands used to support a gutter.

GYPSUM - A hydrated sulfate of calcium occurring naturally in sedimentary rock. A type of interior or exterior sheathing.

HARD COAT - Generic term for traditional stucco.

HIP ROOF - A roof, which rises by inclining, planes from all four sides of a building.

HYDROPHOBIC - A material that repels water and resists wind driven rain.

ICF - (Insulated Concrete Forms) Building blocks or poured walls surrounded by expanded or extruded polystyrene insulation. Benefits: maintain a constant temperature within the home; provide extraordinary soundproofing; increase the fire rating of the home; faster construction.

INCOMPATIBILITY - Descriptive of two or more materials which are not suitable to be used together.

INFRARED MOISTURE TESTING - The use of a special infrared device to detect the presence of moisture in EIFS structures.

INSULATION - Material that slows down or retards the flow or transfer of heat.

INSULATION FASTENERS - Any of several specialized mechanical fasteners designed to hold insulation down to steel or a nailable deck.

INTEGRAL COLOR - Uniform color.

ISOLATION JOINTS - Isolation Joints are joints that must be provided around all penetrations through an EIFS, such as windows, door openings, scuppers, etc. Isolation Joints are used at any time the EIFS terminates at a dissimilar material as well. These joints may or may not include flashing. Isolation Joints must be sealed using proper sealant and "backer rod" to prevent water intrusion into or behind the EIFS.

JACK - The name of the guy who compiled this glossary. I'm astonished you are actually reading this.

JAMB - Vertical frame of a door or window.

JAMB/SILL JOINT - The junction at the bottom of a window or doorsill with the jamb.

JOIST - A horizontally placed timber or beam set on edge to give support to a floor or ceiling.

KEYSTONE - Decorative EIFS material in the center of door or window banding or trim.

KICK HOLE - A defect frequently found in perimeter flashing arising from being stepped on or kicked. A small fracture of the base flashing in the area of the cant.

KICK OUT FLASHING - A metal or plastic flashing placed to redirect water flow on a roof.

KRAFT - A heavy water resistant paper.

LAMINA - The textured finish coat ground coat and fiber reinforcing mesh in EIFS.

LAP - To extend one material partially over another; the distance so extended.

LEAD - A malleable metal once extensively used for flashing and a compound previously used in paint but is now banned.

LIGHTNESS VALUE - Determines if a particular color can be used with and EIFS. The value equals the % of light reflected from the surface. 0% - Black 100% - White. Generally a color that reflects less than 20% should not be used on EIFS.

LIQUID-APPLIED MEMBRANE - Generally applied to cast-in-place concrete surfaces in one or more coats to provide fully adhered waterproof membranes, which conform to all contours.

LIVE LOAD - The weight superimposed by snow or water or other tangibles that lack permanency, not including the wind load, on a roof.

MANUFACTURES RECOMMENDATIONS - Written drawings or recommendations for the preparation, installation, storage and use of EIFS and Stucco materials or components.

MASTIC - A heavy trowel applied bitumen used for flashing, foundations or patchwork that remains elastic and pliable.

MILDEW - Mildew is a fungus that spreads as microscopic spores carried by the wind. When the spores land on a surface, they feed either on the surface itself or on organic airborne dirt that has accumulated on the surface. Since the spores travel through the air, their behavior tends to be erratic. During rain periods the mildew can suddenly appear on previously unaffected areas. Mildew can appear as simple dirt or discoloration. The mildew will accumulate in shady locations such as behind bushes and plants or wall areas protected from the sun. Most mildew will form on the North wall surfaces or those surfaces that are blocked from receiving direct sunlight, such as from trees or plants.

MIL THICKNESS - Measurement used to determine thickness of a coating. 1 mil = .001 inch (1/1000).

MINERAL SPIRITS - A by-product of petroleum, clear in color, a solvent for asphaltic coatings.

MODEL CODE - Written regulations providing control over construction procedures and techniques.

MOISTURE INTRUSION - The presence of moisture where it is not expected or wanted caused by driving rain, sprinklers, runoff, condensation, faulty or missing procedures or leaking components.

MOISTURE TESTING, NON INTRUSIVE - Determining the presence of moisture in the field areas of CLASS PB-EIFS without penetrating the surface. Typical methods are Radar, infrared and a wet wall detector such as a Tramex ( Sometimes referred to as Moisture Mapping).

MOISTURE TESTING, INTRUSIVE - Measuring the level of moisture behind an EIFS or its adjacent materials with a probe type device that actually penetrates the Lamina and RBI of an EIFS to reach the underlying components.

MONITOR, SAW-TOOTH - A type of monitor characterized by sharp angled pitches and vertical sections, usually arranged in rows much like teeth of a saw.

MOLD - Mold consists of tiny particles. Mold is found everywhere in both indoor and outdoor air. Mold is very common and will grow anywhere where there is enough moisture and a warm environment. Still air and a lack of light encourage their growth. There are tens of thousands of mold types but only two toxic molds are found in homes. Both of these are black mold, Stachybotrys and Memnoniella, with Stachybotrys the most common.

MUD CRACKS - Cracks developing from the normal shrinkage of an emulsion coating when applied too heavily.

NAILER - A piece of lumber secured to non-nailable decks and walls by bolts or other means, which provides a suitable backing onto which roof components may be mechanically fastened.

NON-DESTRUCTIVE - A phrase describing a method of examining the interior of a component whereby no damage is done to the component itself.

NON-THERMOPLASTIC - Does not soften at high temperatures.

NUCLEAR METER - A device used to detect moisture by measuring slowed, deflected neutrons.

OIL-CANNING - A term describing distortion of thin-gauge metal panels which are fastened in a manner restricting term normal thermal movement.

ORGANIC - A designating any chemical compound which contains carbon and hydrogen.

OVERHANG - That part of the roof structure that extends horizontally beyond the vertical plane of the exterior walls of a building.

OSB - Oriented Strand Board - A sheathing material made of wood chips glued together under pressure.

OXIDIZATION - To combine with oxygen in the air creating a surface film.

PAN FLASHING - A metal or plastic flashing normally used on the sill of windows.

PARAPET WALL - A low wall around the perimeter of a roof deck.

PARGE COAT - A thin application of plaster for coating a wall.

PA-EIFS - Hard coat stucco over RBI.

PA-SFET - Hard coat stucco with PB-EIFS for decorative trim and or banding.

PB-EIFS - Polymer Based EIFS, with 60 80%+- polymers. Refer to the general content of polymers in the materials.

PENTHOUSE - A relatively small structure built above the plane of the roof.

PENETRATION, MAJOR- Large openings in the EIFS or stucco to accommodate windows and doors, etc.

PENETRATION, MINOR- Any small object or equipment which pierces the cladding surface such as gas or cable lines, etc.

PERLITE - An aggregate formed by heating and expanding siliceous volcanic glass.

PHOTO-OXIDATION - Oxidation caused by rays of the sun.

PICTURE FRAMING - When the underlying structure is projected to show on the surface.

PLYWOOD - Wooden panels formed by gluing thin sheets of wood together, with the grain of adjacent layers arranged at right angles.

POINTING - The process where joints between masonry units, brick, etc., are filled with mortar.

POLYMER - A substance consisting of large molecules which have been formed from smaller molecules of similar make-up.

POLYISOCYANUARATE - A type of rigid board insulation used in some types of EIFS. Commonly installed in 4 X 8 sheets.

POLYURETHANE - Any of various polymers with a urethane base.

PONDING - A condition where water stands for prolonged periods due to poor drainage and/or deflection of the surface or deck.

POROSITY - The density of substance and its capacity to pass liquids.

PM-EIFS - Polymer Modified EIFS, with 20%+- polymers using Extruded Polystyrene RBI mechanically attached to the substrate.

PM-PY EIFS - A PM-EIFS that uses Polyiscocyanuarate as the RBI component.

PRECAST - Concrete building components formed and cured at a factory and then transported to a work site for erection.

PRESERVATIVES - An agent to control microbiological growth.

PRIMER - A material of relatively thin consistency applied to a surface for the purpose of creating a more secure bonding surface.

PURLINS - A horizontal structural member spanning between beams or trusses to support a roof deck.

QUOINS - The small decorative vertical running blocks installed over the surface on an EIFS or Stucco structure.

RADAR MOISTURE TESTING - The use of a special Radar device to detect the presence of moisture in EIFS structures.

RAGGLE BLOCK - A specially designed masonry block having a slot or opening into which the top edge of the roof flashing is inserted and anchored.

RAKE - The angle of slope of a roof rafter, or the inclined portion of a cornice.

READY MIXED - Ready to use application material; no additive is needed.

REFLECTIVE - A term referring to a material that has a white or shiny metallic surface.

REGLET - A horizontal-lot, formed or cut in a parapet or other masonry wall, into which the top edge of counterflashing can be inserted and anchored.

REMEDIAL - Corrective action to repair an EIFS or stucco cladding.

RESIN - The binder (glue) used to hold materials together or suspension.

RIGID BOARD INSULATION - Foam plastic insulation materials such as Expanded Polystyrene, Extruded Polystyrene or Polyiscocyanuarate.

ROOF - The assembly of interacting components designed to weatherproof and normally to insulate a buildings surface, separated from adjacent assemblies by walls or changes in elevation.

ROOF DECK - That component in building construction, which forms a platform on which the remainder of the BURM components are placed.

ROOF DRAIN - The termination or fitting at the roof of an interior drain or leader, for draining rainwater from nominally flat roofs.

RUN - The horizontal distance between the eaves and the ridge of the roof, being half the span for a symmetrical gable roof.

RSO - (Rough Stud Opening) The outside dimensions of an opening for the installation of doors or window units.

SCOPE of WORK - A comprehensive list of the materials, procedures, application details and materials for a particular construction.

SCUPPER - An outlet in the wall of a building or a parapet wall for drainage of water from a flat roof.

SCRATCH COAT - Typically the first coat of base material over wire on a hard coat stucco installation.

SEALANT - Specially designed low modulus sealants are generally preferred for use with EIFS due to their ability to elongate without imposing high stress at the EIFS sealant surface.

SEAMS & JOINTS - Refers to the seams and joints in rigid board insulation installations.

SECONDARY WATER RESISTANT BARRIER - #15lb felt paper over the substrate on mechanically fastened systems.

SECTION CUT - A small section, approximately 1 sq. ft. is cut from the field material to show internal composition. A section is taken from the field of an EIFS or Stucco clad wall to verify the condition and the materials used and construction components.

SELF-HEALING - A term used in reference to a material which melts with the heat from the sun's rays, and seals over cracks that were earlier formed from other causes.

SELF-LEVELING - A viscous material that is applied by pouring. In its uncured state, it spreads out evenly.

SHEATHING - The boards of sheet type material, plywood, OSB etc., nailed to studding as the base for application of the EIFS or Stucco.

SHELF LIFE - The useful life of materials if properly stored and sealed.

SINGLE TEE - The name given to a type of precast concrete deck which has one stiffening rib integrally cast into slab.

SHRINKAGE - The dimensional change of concrete due to hydration.

SKIP TROWEL - A technique to apply a type of finish look on stucco.

SLOPE - Incline or pitch of EIFS or Stucco surface.

SOFFIT - The underside of a part or member of a building extending out from the plane of the building walls.

SOFTENING POINT - The temperature at which a substance changes from a hard material to a softer and more viscous material.

SPALLING - The chipping or flaking of concrete, bricks, or other masonry where improper drainage or venting and freeze/thaw cycling exists.

SPAN - The horizontal distance between supporting structures such as beams, trusses or columns.

SPECIFICATION - Detailed written instructions which, when clear and concise, explain each phase of work to be done.

SQUARE - A term used by the construction industry to indicate an amount of siding or cladding area equal to 100 square feet.

STARTER STRIPS - In the construction of a Class PM EIFS the narrow strips of vinyl that are applied at the beginning point so as to assure uniform configuration.

STATIC LOAD - In construction the total amount of permanent non-moving weight that is applied to given surface areas.

STC - (Sound Transmission Class.)

STUD - The vertical framing used in construction. SUMP - A reservoir sometimes-forming part of a roof drain. A depression in the roof deck of a building at a roof and delivery it to the drain. SYNTHETIC - An artificial or man-made product containing polymers

SUBSTRATE - A part or substance which lies below and supports another.

SYNTHETIC STUCCO - A generic term describing the decorative finish used on EIFS and Stucco installation. Sometimes used to describe EIFS.

TEAR OFF - A term used to describe the partial or complete removal of the EIFS or Stucco cladding insulation down to and exposing the substrate or framing.

TENSILE STRENGTH - The measurement of a material's ability to be stretched to the point of its failure.

TERMINATIONS - The end or stop of an EIFS.

THERMAL BRIDGE - An area through which heat energy can be transmitted through a wall assembly.

THERMAL MOVEMENT - The measured amount of dimensional change, a material exhibits as it is warmed or cooled.

THERMAL SHOCK - The stress built up by sudden and appreciable changes in temperature.

THERMOPLASTIC MATERIAL - Solid material softened by increasing temperatures and hardened by decreasing temperatures.

TIE-IN - A term used to describe the joining a new wall with the old.

TILT-UP WALL - Cast concrete units that are pre-formed which, when cured, are tilted to their vertical position and secured by mechanical fasteners to prior erected structural steel. Note: May be pre-cast.

TRUSS - A major supporting structure usually timber for roof decks.

TUCK-POINTING - The re-grouting of defective mortar joints in a masonry or brick wall.

ULTRAVIOLET - The invisible rays of the spectrum at the violet end. Abbreviated UV.

UV RESISTANT - Limited reaction to UV light resulting in reduced fade of colors.

VALLEY - A term applied to a depressed angle formed by the meeting of two inclined slopes of a roof. UL - Underwriters Laboratories.

VAPOR - The gaseous form of any substance.

VAPOR PERMEABLE - Allows the transfer of vapor.

VAPOR RETARDER - A membrane which is placed in the walls to retard water vapor in the building from entering the insulation and condensing into liquid water.

VAPOR STOP - A membrane which is placed in the walls to stop water vapor in the building from entering the insulation and condensing into liquid water.

VISCOSITY - The internal frictional resistance offered by a fluid to change of shape or to the relative motion or flow of its parts.

VOC - A measurement of harmful odors.

WALL COMPONENT ANALYSIS - The calculation of the combined ability of all the components of a particular wall structure to transfer energy and moisture in a given environment in order to determine the condensation and freezing point.

WATER BASED - Non-toxic; cleans up with water.

WATER ABSORPTION - The measurement of the rate and quantity a material will wick water.

WATERPROOFING - The process where a building component is made totally resistant to the passage of water and/or water vapor.

WATER VAPOR - Moisture existing as a gas in air.

WEEP HOLE - A hole that allows for drainage of entrapped water from masonry structures.

WINDOW HEAD - The top of the frame of a window.

ZONOLITE - A lightweight, insulating concrete composed of Portland cement, water, and vermiculite aggregate.


EIFS Stucco Moisture Damage


Moisture enters behind the cladding from missing components, not through the EIFS or Stucco. If the substrate material behind the cladding is of a type that absorbs water, as in some EIFS & Stucco installations, it is unable to dry out and the deterioration of the wall components begins. If the substrate is of a material that does not absorb moisture and enough enters, the moisture moves unrestricted and collects at the floor plate. There the problems are compounded, and the consequence is very destructive.

Simply put, water enters behind the EIFS and Stucco and cannot escape at a rate faster than it is replenished.

Many Home Inspectors have great difficulty uncovering this type of deterioration during a typical inspection. Only inspectors trained and experienced in EIFS and Stucco installations will know what to look for, especially if recent attempts at cosmetic work were substituted for proper repairs by a qualified EIFS and Stucco repair specialist.

What Happens? As the moisture is absorbed into the interior wood components behind the EIFS or Stucco (not the cladding itself) and begins to deteriorate with the help of micro-organisms, the temperature of the components will rise and the process accelerates. It then becomes a perfect environment for termites and other wood destroying organisms. Moisture, including vapor, will follow the course of least resistance.

In this case of the window jamb below, the course of least resistance as moisture escaped was the window wood components.

Often the first symptom homeowners observe is the deterioration of the windowsills or jambs. What they don't see is the damage behind the walls and the on-going deterioration process. Replacing the wood components is only cosmetic, and the damage will repeat itself.

Moisture damage is not limited to the substrate materials or the window and door assembles. It is often observed in the components that hold the house up!


Water entry through the EIFS cladding itself has not been observed during examinations to the extent that it would cause interior wall damage. So where does it come from? Moisture sources are as varied as the number of houses examined. They range from missing flashing to window design, with roof details leading the list. But the cause was not the EIFS or Stucco but rather missing or improper installation details, like the missing $.50 kick-out flashing on the roof detailed in the image below.

The solution begins with a detailed look at the cladding by an expert so the sources of moisture can be identified and repaired.

Moisture deterioration is insidious and pervasive and without intervention can cause a great deal of damage. Ironically, due to one of the intended characteristic of EIFS, evidence of what is going on underneath is beyond the expertise of most home inspectors, because they rely on procedures and information that are flawed and misleading.


Typical Window Missing Seals

Window with proper Seals


Moisture sources discussed above, driving rain, sprinklers, pour-off, etc., are not the sole sources of moisture in the walls of some EIFS types. The second is condensation forming in the wall's interior without introduction of moisture from the outside. The first route is mechanical in nature and is the result of improper installation of the EIFS components and failure to adhere to the recommended installation details. The second route water enters through is much more complex. It involves the energy physics of the total wall components along with the environmental climate where the structure is located. Also taken into consideration, are local building code requirements and normally accepted construction standards and practices. You're familiar with these well-known phenomena if you've left a piece of hot toast on a cold counter and noticed visible moisture when you picked it up. Unfortunately, condensed moisture appears on some EIFS homes as stains caused by eroding wall components and deteriorating windowsills, if the conditions are right and were not addressed during the design/build phase.

Early detection of moisture intrusion and the physical ability of the wall to dry, if it becomes wet, can only be determined by a trained EIFS inspector with the proper equipment following the correct procedures.



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Stucco Repair Specialist in Orlando,Florida.

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