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EIFS & Hard Coat Stucco Inspections

Moisture Intrusion

EIFS (exterior insulation finish system) and moisture intrusion problems are detectable and usually confined to small areas of the total wall area. They can be remediated by qualified stucco contractors. Generally, moisture problems occur in less than 5% of the total wall area, meaning that 95% of the system is performing as designed, a barrier system. The EPS foam, that makes the base of an EIFS system floats and does not retain moisture. The substrate, the product the foam is glued to, commonly exterior gypsum sheathing, retains the moisture if the system is not flashed or sealed properly.

The primary architectural detail where moisture is commonly found is a roof termination terminating into vertical stucco walls. Historically, the terminations were not flashed correctly during the initial application, omitting a kick out or diverter flashing. The missing flashing allowed water to enter the wall cavity and be absorbed by the substrate. Once a stucco contractor installs a kick out or diverter flashing, the entry point is sealed and the moisture problem ceases.

Windows and doors are also a source for moisture intrusion. Regardless of the type of window or door, wood, vinyl, aluminum, or plastic, they are a dissimilar surface and require sealing with an approved sealant, a Dow 795 sealant or equal (ASTM C920). When applying sealants, the sill/jamb joints of the windows and the thresholds or the doors are suggested to be sealed. Screens on double hung windows are also a means for moisture to damage the window unit and the EIFS and should be removed and stored if not used. Other moisture intrusion concerns are decks, chimney caps, and all utility penetrations of the EIFS. A rule of thumb is if it penetrates the system or is a dissimilar surface, it is suggested to be sealed with a quality sealant.

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