Thursday, May 19, 2022

How To Check For Mold Behind Stucco

An Eifs Stucco Inspection Includes The Following Items:

Moisture Testing Stucco
  • Material verification.
  • Proper installation and potential areas of moisture intrusion.
  • Condition and potential areas that need repair or improvement.
  • A scan of the walls using non-invasive moisture scanners
  • Probing of areas of concern to fully verify moisture intrusion.
  • Probing known weak areas of the material including window sills, kick out flashing, and more.
  • Use of specialized probing tools built for these tests.

All inspections are performed according to the guidelines provided by the Exterior Design Insitute

Stucco Is Checked During A Home Inspection

During a home inspection, an inspector will do a visual inspection of the home and use a moisture intrusion meter or an infrared thermography camera to check for moisture in the stucco. An inspector will also look for cracks and bulging stucco.

However, it is not as extensive as a stucco inspection. A home inspector would advise you to have a contractor further evaluate if there is enough evidence of problems.

One Coat Stucco Systems The Stucco Is Usually 3/8 Inch To 1/2 Inch Thick

One Coat systems are proprietary layered systems with an engineered blend of cements and fibers applied over a Styrofoam type of rigid foam board with a metal wire lath. The One Coat systems will vary based on the manufactures design and installation requirements. To meet the building code, you generally cannot mix different manufactures requirements, you must install the system based on their specific installation and material guidelines.

Although it is called a One Coat System, the stucco material is usually a 3/8 inch thick coat with a 1/8 inch finish coat applied over it thus two layers or coats.

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Eifs Lawsuit Mistakes & Photos

Our photographs below describe some of the conditions at a different EIFS clad New Jersey home, one that suffered extensive cracking and adhesion failures in the final stucco coating soon after its installation. Details about this installation are at SIDING EIFS STUCCO FAILURES DUE TO WEATHER.

Watch out: Most disturbing about this disappointing EIFS installation and its ensuing lawsuit were that:

Details about EIFS wall problems, inspections, and litigation are found at SIDING EIFS & STUCCO. Also see Insects & Foam Insulation.

If you are an EIFS manufacturer, installer, or EIFS inspector, contact us at LINK EXCHANGE to add listings – there is no fee.

Continue reading at STUCCO EIFS DRAINAGE SYSTEMS or select a topic from the closely-related articles below, or see the complete ARTICLE INDEX.

Or see this article series

For Help Removing Mold In Walls

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If you need help removing mold in your walls, or if youd just like some advice about the mold removal process, we suggest scheduling a free consultation in your home with a mold removal professional. Theres no obligation on your part, so even if you opt to handle the mold removal job yourself, you can benefit from some free professional guidance. To find qualified mold removal professionals offering free consultations in your area, you can follow the link.

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Is It Necessary To Have A Stucco Inspection

Although stucco is a superb decorative surface choice for the majority of homeowners, most stucco applications completed in the past two decades are improperly installed. Poorly done stucco can eventually cause leaks, mold, and various structural damages. Surprisingly, most of these issues may go undetected since many of the damages are inside the wall until its too late to repair.

Fortunately, with the help of a professional stucco inspector, these issues can be detected early enough to avoid stucco removal. However, if left unattended for a long time, the surface may require being taken off or a part of the house may even need to be torn down.

Reasons For Stucco Problems

Stucco looks fantastic, and when done right, can perform fantastic, too. Moisture-based stucco problems are the main result of these issues:

  • Poorly Made Stucco Building materials are meant to repel moisture, but if its made poorly, stucco absorbs the water instead.
  • Improperly Installed Stucco A lot of exterior contractors love to say they do stucco but dont really have the experience to do it right. An inexperienced contractor missing steps or cutting corners can lead to a huge problem for you.
  • Insufficient Stucco Drainage When properly installing stucco, a drainage system is added at the bottom of the walls. If this system is botched, the water will penetrate the walls rather than draining.
  • Poor Sealing Sealing stucco around windows and doors is an important step to keeping it strong. Neglecting this or using inferior sealant leads to moisture damage.

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How To Inspect For & Spot Leaks In Eifs Synethetic Stucco Wall Installations

When originally imported from Europe to the UnitedStates in the 1970s, most exterior insulation and finish systems were barrier type systems.

They were designed to create a waterproof exterior skin consisting of a thin layer of acrylic polymer-based synthetic stucco directly applied to foam insulation.

Our photo shows a modern Sto-Wall covered home that was investigated to diagnose the sources of wall leaks through the stucco system.

We found many installation details that did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a result there were significant leaks into building walls and a considerable mold contamination issue as well.

The expanded polystyrene foam was glued to the buildings sheathing.A layer of fiberglass cloth embedded in the syntheticstucco provided reinforcement, and a thin acrylic finishcoat added color and texture.

With the EPS glued directly to the sheathing, therewas no place for building paper or conventional flashingsat penetrations. Openings, joints, and penetrations reliedon caulks and sealants for waterproofing. With no backupwaterproofing or drainage layer, there was little margin forerror.

While these systems performed adequately in Europefor nearly 25 years, the United States version had thinnerbase coats and lower polymer content, creating a weakerskin. Also, workmanship in the United States was often inferiordue to lack of applicator training and quality-controlprograms.

How Do You Check For Mold Damage In Stucco

How to Make a PLASTER MOLD on the Wheel

Bill CarosStucco Repairs

Stucco is a mixture of lime, sand, and cement, and its a building element useful for its low cost, versatility, and durability. Stucco can have various textures from very rough and bumpy to as fine as plaster.

Mold growing on or inside stucco walls can cause serious problems. Checking for mold damage in stucco is great but the sooner you treat and identify the mold the longer your stucco will last and look classy. And prevention is key.

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Myth #: Its Normal For Homes To Have Mold

There is nothing normal or okay about mold being present in your home. If your home has a mold problem under the stucco surface, it is most likely because the stucco was not installed correctly in the first place. If done right, the stuccos water-resistant barriers should prevent mold from growing on or beneath the stucco surface.

Mold doesnt just have a negative impact on your home it can have a negative impact on your health as well. When mold is present it can cause allergic reactions, headaches, increased asthma problems, or even respiratory damage. While the effects will vary depending on the individual, removing a mold problem is still very important for your health.

Interior Vs Exterior Holes In The Stucco

One concern with drilling holes in stucco is that this will compromise the drainage plane behind the wall, and the caulking used to fill the holes wont get far enough into the wall to seal the drainage plane again.

Wayne Shellabarger, who is opposed to exterior testing, said that he has found holes in the drainage planes that were never properly sealed up after invasive testing was performed. I asked him if there was water damage caused by the breaks in these drainage planes the answer was no, but he was also quick to mention that in the cases he has seen, the holes were only a year or two old.

Alan Powell said that while the holes they drill in stucco are 1/4 holes, they dont drill through the drainage plane behind the stucco. The only thing that penetrates the drainage plane behind the stucco are the pin probes on the moisture testing device, which leaves 1/8 holes. When you think about all of the holes that get created in the drainage plane with staples and whatever else, the holes made by the pin probes will be quite insignificant.

After over a decade of invasive testing and having tested thousands of homes, none of the companies that perform exterior testing have had a single reported problem with this testing method.

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When To Call A Specialist

If the mold on stucco resists bleaching, and keeps coming back when you are doing prevention efforts, or your stucco has numerous cracks and streaks it is the right time to contact a professional.

When you notice that your stucco has started to deteriorate, you can be sure that some damage has happened. All that you need at this time is to call a specialist for a moisture examination to check the specific extent of damage in the stucco.

If mold penetrates between the framing and exterior of your house, then this can result in structural damage. In some cases, it can spread to the interior of your house where it can trigger asthma and allergies.

Stucco is beautiful and durable in all climates.

Stucco is our business. If you suspect your stucco has mold damage, contact us and let us fix it for you.

Choice Stucco Ltd. provides quality stucco application and repair to residential, strata, and commercial properties throughout the greater-Vancouver area. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about stucco, please call us at 614-7552.

Bill Caros has over 30 years experience in the stucco industry. As the owner of Choice Stucco Ltd, Bill provides quality stucco application and stucco repair to all of Vancouver Lower Mainland.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Stucco Damage

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Well, the answer is that it depends. For example, if youve had homeowners insurance for a number of years, your homes stucco was installed by a licensed professional, and you only recently became aware of stucco damage, youre likely going to be covered. However, if youre missing even one of those three, you may not be so lucky. In fact, stucco damage claims are one of the most denied homeowners claims by insurance companies.

Most insurance companies wont cover insurance claims for work done by an unlicensed professional. Also, insurance is unlikely to cover the cost if the stucco damage was discovered prior to purchasing a policy. Unfortunately for many homeowners, this is something they dont find out until its too late.

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What Are The Facts About Eifs

EIFS became very popular in the late 80s, and is still being used today as an exterior cladding material. The stucco system gave a house an elegant look with the added benefit of having extra insulation wrapping the home. However, due to installation issues and design flaws, problems arose.

EIFS stucco was originally designed to create a tight seal around the building. This is referred to as a face-sealed installation. It was designed to keep the temperature in, and the weather out.

As the product aged, however, people began to see cracking and wearing of the cladding. This presented areas where moisture could breach the sealed system and seep behind the stucco.

Because the product was designed to be fully sealed, once the water was in, it had nowhere to go. This is called having no provision of drainage. The water would sit behind the stucco and over time cause rotting of the walls and wood below, and also cause nasty mold issues between the materials.

This forced people with the issue to remove the siding from their houses and make major and costly repairs.

Most of the EIFS stucco installed today has a drainage system and is a high-quality product. Unfortunately, like many building practices, it took many years and millions of dollars for installers to figure out the right way to do things.

But that leaves hundreds of thousands of houses with older EIFS stucco built across the country with a large potential problem.

Dealing With Mold In Walls

Before beginning the job of removing mold from the inside of walls, you need to cover doorways, air vents, and other openings to other parts of the home with plastic. If youre working in a large room, you can use large sheets of plastic to block off a smaller area in which you will be working. This prevents the spread of mold spores to other areas of the home. Mold remediation experts often recommend setting up negative pressure in the work area, as well.

Remove moldy drywall and insulation. Use a spray bottle of water to dampen moldy materials before removing them this helps prevent mold spores from becoming airborne during the process. When sawing through moldy drywall, you can have an assistant hold a vacuum hose with a HEPA filter nearby to further decrease the spread of mold spores. Enclose moldy materials in heavy plastic garbage bags before carrying it out of the home so no mold spores are spread to other areas of the home in the process. Its imperative that you do everything possible to prevent spreading mold spores throughout the house so that you dont end up with mold in other rooms.

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If Your Stucco Siding Has Been Improperly Installed Water Damage Is Sure To Follow The Purpose Of Any Type Of Siding Is To Protect Your Home From Rain Snow And Other Elements

Water Damaged Stucco Wall Repair

The primary culprit causing water damage in stucco results from improper sealing in the areas where the stucco connects with windows, flashing and other joints. Improper sealing makes it much harder to repair stucco water damage. Have you noticed dark, rusty-looking streaks seeming to drip from the corners of windows, particularly in older structures? These are called stucco tears and they are an obvious indication that water damage within the stucco has occurred. These tears cannot simply be wiped or power-washed away, as there is a deeper issue at hand. If you ignore the underlying issues causing this damage, you will be continually using such band aid remedies. You must establish the cause of the damage, then apply the proper repair for a lasting solution.

More Eifs Leak Point Photos

Plaster Mold for the Injection Molder!

Below left, our EIFS leak point photograph shows a leaky window detail at an EIFS-clad building in New York.

Thisin turn led to more sealant failures and cracking of the surfaceand additional leakage. The EPS foam acted like asponge, trapping water against the building, and the nonporouspolymer coatings retarded drying. In many casesthe leakage and resulting decay was extensive, resulting inwidespread property damage and litigation.

Above right, our EIFS leak point photo shows leak stains on the L-channel securing the end of a soffit covering over an upper level intersecting roof. Water entered the building wall at that glob of foam in the center-left of the photo,and if you look closely you may also see leak stains down the stucco wall at center right of this picture.

Below left, our EIFS leak point photograph shows that the builder relied on caulk at a roof-EIFS-wall intersection to try to stop leaks into the structure. Specifications from EIFS manufacturers include requirements for special backer rods, flashing details, approved sealants, and other measures, not just a blob of asphalt or roof cement at these junctures.

Above right, our EIFS leak point photo shows that the roof-wall step flashing was improperly sized and placed, allowing leaks into the structure. Below left, our EIFS leak point photograph shows a crack developing in an EIFS wall coating.

More EIFS system installation areas & possible leak points are shown just below.

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Why Are Pennsylvania Stucco Homes Suffering Rotting Walls

If you own a stucco home in Pennsylvania, you have good reason to be concerned. Stucco wall rot is a devastating issue in many houses around the state, costing thousands in repairs, lowering home values, and causing frustration for countless homeowners. In this article, we are going to talk about the nature of this wall rot epidemic, how it starts, how to detect it, and what can be done to prevent and repair it.

How To Prevent Damage To Your Stucco Siding

If your home or property has stucco siding you have two basic choices. First of all, keep a close eye and maintain it well. The other is to replace the siding. The latter being a large financial expense will mean the majority of property owners will opt for the maintenance route. Here are the top items we recommend to maintain your stucco siding:

  • Install large gutters and downspouts to handle large volumes of water. Also, ensure that none of them spill over or leak in the seams. This will saturate your siding and create an opportunity for water and mold damage.
  • Have your windows flashing and caulk inspected and/or repaired every 3-5 years. Close attention needs to be given to stucco around windows.
  • Keep on top of roof maintenance and prevent roof leaks
  • Ensure that the soil around home or building is a negative grade and slopping away from the foundation wall. This also helps prevent basement water and mold damage.
  • Remove all trees in close proximity to stucco exterior. As this prevents the sun and airflow from reaching the siding
  • Make sure the attic and crawl spaces have proper ventilation

We recommend you look for signs of moisture, especially around windows. Signs include: warping wood, peeling paint, discoloration, condensation or mold are all signs of a potentially bigger problem.

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