Stucco is a reservoir system. This means that water will penetrate stucco. Due to stucco’s permeability, adequate flashing and proper installation are paramount. As you can imagine, if the stucco is installed incorrectly, this moisture can cause big problems. Even with newly built homes, we are seeing stucco failure at alarming rates.
Some details, such as weep screeds, expansion joints, head flashings, joints around windows and doors and kick out flashings can be visually inspected as part of your home inspection. However, many of the important details, such as drainage planes, window and door flashings and moisture barriers are behind the stucco and not visible.
To comprehensively evaluate the performance of the system, you must test the wood inside the wall behind the stucco/veneer stone and brick. This is done through small holes drilled in the cladding. Since this is invasive it cannot be performed on a typical home inspection.
A Stucco inspection involves tests and analysis that may include the use of moisture reading and special equipment for use on interior and exterior surfaces to determine moisture levels.
The use of a probe to conduct the inspection involves penetration of the exterior surface by drilling (two ¼ inch holes at each inspection site) and probing, in order to contact the substrate and will result in observable puncture marks in the exterior surface. Our inspectors fill all probe holes using sealant that complies with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) highest standard (C920) that is carefully chosen to match the adjacent wall color. The small patch blends, seamlessly and securely, into the wall without the use of paint.
In the event it is deemed necessary by the Inspector, the inspector may conduct core sampling if required. A slightly larger hole will be drilled to determine the type and condition of the substrate as well as the WRB (Water Resistant Barrier).