"Healthier Air Starts Here"

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Hard Coat Stucco Inspections
Florida Commercial and Residential Since 2001





Indoor Air Quality Solutions, Orlando Stucco Inspection
Mid-Wall Weep Screed
Stucco siding is a very popular exterior used throughout the state of Florida mainly due to its ease of application and low installation costs.

Stucco is primarily composed of three main ingredients which consist of Portland cement, sand, and water.

Other components and accessories such include wire lathe, moisture barriers, flashing, weep screed, corner beads, expansion and control joints.  These components and accessories are installed to make the system weatherproof.

Proper installation of these components and accessories is essential to providing a weather resistant barrier to protect the building envelope from moisture intrusion.

Often times, the installation process is rushed in order to get a newly built home ready for market and essential details are either overlooked or installed incorrectly by unqualified tradesmen.

This then creates problems that can and often does result in moisture gaining access behind the stucco cladding where it causes damage to the underlying structural materials and interior finished surfaces. This can also create conditions conducive of wood destroying insect infestations and mold growth inside the home.

Orlando Stucco Inspection, Indoor Air Quality Solutions, IAQS
Stucco Weep Screed
Our Stucco Inspections look closely at the water management design and stucco assessor installation to ensure that the water that does make its way behind the stucco penetrates no further than the water barrier and then down and out the stucco mud-wall and termination weep screeds.

Other problems can arise if the manufacturer's instructions are not adhered to during the installation process.

One of the common problems are wide spread cracking in the surface due to improper stucco mix or ratios were not precise when mixing the material. Too much or too little of one of the three main components can result in the mixture being too dry and porous or too wet which leads to shrinkage and cracking as the material dries.

Another installation error that is often seen is the applications of second and third coats applied before the previous layer has had sufficient time to cure. As the stucco material dries, it has a tendency to shrink and small cracks often develop. This is normal for base layers and sufficient time is required for the coat to stabilize and dry out enough to support the weight of addition layers.

As the second and third coats are applied, these small cracks are filled in during the process so they do not progress to the visible finish coat. When this process is rushed and layers do not have sufficient time to dry, small cracks in the base layers are stressed by the additional weight before the first coat has had time to cure properly. The cracks then are telegraphed to the next layer and the next layer. This often results in large cracks developing on new installations within a couple of months.

We know where to look, and what to look for. We pinpoint the moisture content in the underlying substrate. We provide a detailed inspection report including photos, infrared imaging, moisture mapping, and remediation recommendations.

Our Stucco Inspections Include a Visual Examination of:

Orlando Stucco Inspection
Orlando Stucco Inspection
applied stucco,
exterior sealants,
flashings,
windows,
doors,
parapets,
gutters,
stucco terminations and 
roof-to-stucco transitions,
deck-to-building connections,
any penetrations through the stucco system.


Once the Exterior Visual Inspection is complete we can perform Infrared Thermal Imaging to identify any areas of thermal anomalies or temperature differential.   The anomalies are then checked by Moisture Scanning to determine if the temperature anomalies are due to moisture.


Invasive Moisture Testing of the Structure may be necessary or requested.  Invasive testing is when we open end expose the areas behind the stucco to inspect and test the moisture levels and condition of the building materials behind the stucco.


Missing accessory at intersection between horizontally and vertically installed stucco – ASTM


926-98a A2.2.3 states: A2.2.3 Where vertical and horizontal exterior plaster surfaces meet, both surfaces shall be terminated with casing beads with the vertical surface extending at least ¼ in. (6mm) below the intersecting horizontal plastered surface, thus providing a drip edge. The casing bead for the horizontal surface shall be terminated not less than ¼ in. from the back of the vertical surface to provide drainage.


Orlando Stucco Inspection, Indoor Air Quality Solutions IAQS
Orlando Stucco Inspection

Improper stucco thickness - As shown below, ASTM C926 requires stucco with metal plaster base (lath) over sold base (frame) to be 3 coat 7/8” thick (total).


ASTM 926-98a - Nominal Plaster Thickness for three-coat work with metal plaster base states that the 1st coat should be 3/8”, the 2nd coat should be 3/8” and the 3rd coat should be 1/8” for a total thickness of 7/8” exclusive of texture.


References:

ASTM International 06, ASTM C1063 Standard Specification for Installation of Lathing and Furring to Receive Interior and Exterior Portland Cement-Based Plaster”, West Conshohocken, PA www.astm.org .

ASTM International 98a, ASTM C926 Standard Specification for Installation of Lathing and Furring to Receive Interior and Exterior Portland Cement-Based Plaster”, West Conshohocken, PA www.astm.org

The State of Florida: 2010 Florida Building Code: Building (Florida: State of Florida, 2010), section 1405


 
IAQ Solutions Stucco Inspection Equipment

#IAQS Indoor Air Quality Solutions Stucco Inspection Tools
#IAQS Indoor Air Quality Solutions Stucco Inspection Tools
 

Step 1 - Visual Inspection


Orlando Stucco Inspection

The first step in evaluating a stucco installation is to conduct a visual inspection of the exterior cladding system to determine if there are any installation defects or oversights that can present problems such as conditions conducive of moisture intrusion. This inspection is conducted during normal daylight hours when there is sufficient sunlight to see small imperfections on the surface such as hairline cracks, staining, or gaps at critical locations.


Other details are also evaluated such as the presence of drainage plains, proper expansion and control joint placement, and the use of casing beads. High resolution photographs are taken during this process which are included in the inspection report.


This portion of the inspection helps us identify problem areas where there may or may not be moisture accumulation behind the stucco finish.


 

Step 2 - Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspection


Orlando Stucco Inspection

The second step in the process of evaluation the condition of stucco cladding is to conduct an infrared thermal imaging inspection focusing on problem areas that were identified during the visual inspection. The exterior of the home is viewed at multiple angles using an infrared thermal imaging camera to detect thermal variations on the surface that can indicate areas of potential moisture accumulation under the stucco cladding system.

 

This portion of the inspection is conducted after sunset and when weather conditions are favorable for obtaining reliable data. Ideally, infrared thermal imaging is conducted no less than 24 hours after a rainfall to ensure the stucco surface is dry and when temperature differences between daytime and night are at least 15° Fahrenheit.

 

Infrared thermal imaging allows us to see areas where there are temperature variations on the surface that are caused by trapped moisture behind the stucco cladding. As the stucco cladding system warms under direct sunlight, the moisture trapped behind will also warm. After sunset and there is no more solar loading from the sun, the stucco and water will cool at different rates.

Orlando Stucco Inspection

After a period of time, when the stucco cladding is viewed with an infrared thermal imaging camera, the wet areas will appear cooler than normal stucco. Infrared thermal images are captured and included in the stucco inspection report to show the areas of concern so that verification of moisture levels can be conducted at a later time.

 

It is essential that infrared thermal imaging be used to guide the inspector for any type of invasive moisture meter readings or to allow a qualified stucco repair contractor to see the square footage of potential remediation areas. There are many so called "Stucco Inspectors" out there that do not conduct this step simply because they do not possess the equipment or know how to perform the work. They often want to go straight to conducting invasive moisture meter readings without any type of guidance where to drill and test. This is nothing more than playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey in our opinion and can result in missing significant issues that may be present only several inches away. Random drilling can quickly turn a home into Swiss cheese if performed by one of these contractors.


 

Stucco Inspection Report


Orlando Stucco Inspection

After all the information is compiled, the final report is written which includes the findings of the visual inspection, infrared thermal imaging inspection, and moisture meter readings.


Some of our clients are concerned with issues with the stucco system identified  during the home inspection.  We understand that some property owners wont agree to an intrusive stucco inspection that includes drilling into the side of the home or building.


For these clients, we can prepare the written report after the infrared thermal imaging inspection has been completed. The final report typically takes several days to prepare depending on the amount of defects that are discovered and potential moisture areas observed. High resolution photographs and thermal images are included in the report so you can see exactly what the inspector sees during these inspections.


Many clients can make an informed decision at this point whether to purchase the home or determine if remediation is within the budget. For homeowners who are pursuing litigation against contractors or developers for faulty installations, the final report helps reinforce cases by providing documented proof of incorrect installations and the problems they have caused.


 
Hard Coat Stucco Inspections
Infrared IR Thermal Images

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Hard Coat Stucco Inspection
Single Family Stucco Inspection

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Hard Coat Stucco Inspection
Multi-Family Stucco Inspection

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Hard Coat Stucco Inspection
Single Family Stucco Inspection

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