There are two basic types of stucco cladding applied to the exterior of homes. There is Hardcoat which is typically 3/8” to ½” thick and does not have the EPS (Extruded Polystyrene) foam boards behind the stucco. The other type is EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finish System) which consists of the 2” foam board with a thin coat of stucco material on the exterior. Both systems, if properly installed and maintained, are good exterior cladding system to protect your home.
It is important to maintain all stucco system to ensure that all sealants and caulking around doors, windows and penetrations such as light fixtures, pipes and wires have not cracked or separated. Failing sealants are one of the major causes for moisture intrusion and damage to the home. Monitoring and repairing cracks is also important to keep the system dry. Hardcoat systems are prone to hairline cracks and they should be repaired if the cracks are wider than 1/16 of an inch. Also look for moisture stains or discoloration which may be an indication of moisture intrusion.
If any of these situations are noted on the home a full stucco inspection by an EDI certified stucco inspector is advised. During the course of the stucco inspection moisture probes are used to detect hidden moisture and possible damage to the substrate or frame material behind the stucco. A moisture probe consist of two small, 1/8” holes made in the stucco to insert the probe into then the holes are sealed with a Silicone type of caulking. One probe on each side or elevation of the home is minimum; more may be required where moisture penetration is suspected. The probes are located in the most inconspicuous place possible so they are less noticeable to the home owner.
David Graves, ASHI Certified, EDI Certified
Home Sytems Data Inc.