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EIFS, DRYVIT or SYNTHETIC STUCCO and Infrared Inspection

What is EIFS?


Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is a multi-layered decorative and protective exterior wall system that can be installed on any type of construction. It is the only exterior wall covering that insulates and weather protection in a selection of shapes, colors and textures. It is composed of foam board insulation that is glued or nailed to the structural sheeting on the exterior of a home. In most of today’s construction, Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is used.

A field applied fiberglass mesh is installed over the outer surface of the foam which is then finished with two or more coats of the synthetic stucco-like material.


Problems With EIFS

The basic problem is the belief that homes can be water proofed. The simple truth is, they cannot. Even when professional applied, all caulked joints will eventually fail. No residential windows are fully “water proof”; they are designed and manufactured to water resistant standards.

In areas of high rainfall, frequent wind driven rain, high humidity, or high indoor/outdoor temperature differences, the material has been shown to trap water and cause damage to the structure of the house.
A random testing of EIFS exterior wall systems found 95% to have some moisture problems.

When moisture gets behind EIFS, it is trapped behind the coating. Trapped moisture inside of the exterior walls contributes to the decay of structural lumber (OSB). A study in Wilmington, North Carolina found that builders frequently installed the material incorrectly or home owners failed to maintain it properly. Although this problem was first found in North Carolina, it is a national problem.

EIFS construction has:

  • Higher probability of installation and moisture intrusion as reported by NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).
    • Windows, doors, electrical outlets
    • Roof flashings
    • Deck flashings
    • Below grade installation areas
    • Projections and vents
  • Potential mold problems
  • Possible insurance considerations
  • Potential for loss of property value


Why an EIFS Inspection by an Exterior Design Institute Certified inspector using EIFS inspections tools including Infrared Thermography?

A properly trained EIFS inspector may be the only solution homeowners have in determining the condition of the exterior of their home. Failure to detect problems can result is serious financial loss to the homeowners. This inspection service can generate peace of mind for the customer.

Building inspectors do not address the issue except, in the case of BOCA, who requires a third party EIFS inspector on new construction. Home inspectors disclaim the EIFS portion and refer homeowners to a trained EIFS inspector. Many real estate professionals will not list an EIFS home, or the home is substantially under-valued because of unknowns.

The insidious nature of this problem is that there is often no outward sign of distress until the structural damage has progressed to a significant stage. It is often impossible to identify moisture problems with an EIFS application visually. This is why several building and inspection organizations have developed protocols for moisture intrusion testing of EIFS clad buildings.

Our inspectors visually survey the EIFS installation for conformance with industry standards. We then employ noninvasive moisture detectors to locate potentially wet areas of the building.

These areas are then probed directly through the cladding to determine the precise moisture levels. The probing is essential to determine how severe the damage may be and to recommending an intelligent course of action. Our reports include descriptions of areas requiring maintenance or repairs, recommendations for follow-on inspections or material removal as necessary, and recommendations for future inspections and maintenance.

Apple Infrared also uses IR cameras to aid in locating moisture during our inspections. However, we do not rely solely on the results of the IR inspection to determine whether or not there is moisture trapped in the walls. Infrared Cameras are very sensitive to weather conditions (the best images can often be taken only for an hour or so after sundown), and to normal wide variations in field conditions. It is important to understand that IR cameras are sensitive only to changes in surface temperature – they cannot “see” moisture. IR cameras can be very useful scanning tools, but again, you only know for sure how much water and damage may be behind the system by inserting probes and measuring it.

Exterior Design Institute EIFS Certification:

Hire a trained professional to inspect your house, and give you an assessment as to any needed repairs. This should be done every year. Start a preventative maintenance program. Often, only simple caulking will need to be done, and some years nothing at all.

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Contact Info

Serving the St. Louis Metro Area, including St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

3209 Meeker ST
St Charles MO 63301
Phone: (314) 800-5731