Synthetic Stucco Evaluations

In Moisture Intrusion by Morgan McClure

Evaluations of Synthetic Stucco Systems or EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) should be for the purpose of providing factual information regarding detected condition of the interior framing and substrate of a given structure, conditions that may affect the long term performance of the EIFS System as well as providing possible repairs and maintenance solutions.

Testing for moisture within the components of the exterior wall system are accomplished through both penetrating and non-penetrating methods. The initial investigation is conducted through the use of an electronic impedance meter used for the purpose of determining the location of any excessive moisture. Once unacceptable levels of moisture are located penetration tests are conducted through the use of a Lignomat DX/C moisture meter which has been calibrated to with-in 1 1/2 % plus or minus of real wood frame moisture levels. The meters probes are inserted through the EIFS System’s insulated surface and into the interior wall structure. In this manner, quantitative measurements of the moisture content are determined. In addition, information as to the consistency of the substrate and framing are evaluated for the purpose of establishing repair requirements. All measurements are taken primarily adjacent to locations where a probability of moisture intrusion existed, such as at windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and flashing. Measurements and their locations are then explained in attached sections and related photographs are used. In addition, we conduct a visual inspection of all Windows and Doors, Patio Decks, flashing and other related components.

What do moisture readings mean?

19% or less: Normal level

20% and above: A moisture reading in excess of 20% indicates nothing more than water has entered into the interior of the wall and in itself is not the sole factor in assessing damage. The reason for this is when moisture first enters into a wall, it always enters at 100% and the actual percent of moisture detected (whether it is 20% or 99%) is only relevant to factors such as the time moisture first entered into the wall, the quantity of moisture that entered, existing weather conditions at the time of the test, as well as the type of substrate material being tested. Understanding this, the percent of detected moisture is not a consideration in determining repair protocol, rather the repair protocol should be determined by the source of infiltration and related damage, if any.