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EXTERIORS of buildings
ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ALGAE, FUNGUS, LICHENS, MOSS
ANIMAL ENTRY POINTS in buildings
ANIMAL ODORS IN buildings
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN buildings
ATTIC CONDENSATION CAUSE & CURE
BARK SIDE UP on DECKS & STEPS
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
BRICK VENEER WALL Loose, Bulged
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BOOKSTORE - EXTERIORS
CAULK GUN TYPES, CHOICES
CAULKS & SEALANTS, EXTERIOR
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK COLLAPSE Case Study
DECK FINISHES COATINGS PRESERVATIVES
DECK FLASHING LEAKS, ROT Case Study
DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DRYWELLS, FRENCH DRAINS for FLAT SITES
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
EIFS & STUCCO EXTERIORS
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
FLASHING MEMBRANES PEEL & STICK
FLASHING for METAL ROOFS
FLASHING ROOF WALL DETAILS
FLASHING ROOF-WALL SNAFU
FLASHING SIDING DETAILS
FLASHING WALL DETAILS
FLASHING WINDOW DETAILS
FLASHING WOOD ROOF DETAILS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GLUES ADHESIVES, EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HEAT TAPES & CABLES on Roofs for Ice Dams
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
HOUSEWRAP / SHEATHING WRAP
HOUSEWRAP INSTALLATION DETAILS
HOUSEWRAP PRODUCT CHOICES
HOUSEWRAP at SILLS, SOLES, TOP PLATES
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LEAD TEST KIT for HOME USE
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LOG HOME GUIDE
METAL LATH, PLASTER & STUCCO
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PAINT FAILURE DICTIONARY
PAINT SURFACE PREPARATION
PORCHES & Sunrooms
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
RAILINGS, DECK & PORCH
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
ROOF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF DORMER TYPES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
ROT RESISTANT LUMBER
ROT, TIMBER FRAME
ROT, TIMBER ASSESSMENT
SEARS KIT HOUSES
SHEATHING, Gypsum board
Sheathing Celotex Homasote & Other
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
SIDING TYPES, INSTALLATION, DEFECTS
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
STAIN & BIODETERIORATION AGENT CATALOG
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on ROOFS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on STONE
STAINS on INDOOR SURFACES: PHOTO GUIDE
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STONE CLEANING METHODS
STONE VENEER WALLS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STUCCO WAll FAILURES DUE TO WEATHER
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
STUCCO OVER FOAM INSULATION
STUCCO PAINT FAILURES
SURFACE GRADING, SITE DRAINAGE
TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRIM, EXTERIOR CHOICES, INSTALLATION
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in buildings
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS
WIND TURBINES & LIGHTNING
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Stucco wall construction, inspection, troubleshooting, repair guide: Here we describe the inspection, diagnosis, repair, and proper installation of both traditional stucco building wall surfacing and synthetic stucco EIFS systems. We describe traditional and synthetic stucco; we review the use of weather barriers on building walls beneath stucco coatings. EIFS is an abbreviation for "Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems" or "barrier", a synthetic stucco material which is usually applied over a system of solid foam insulation board and synthetic fabrics to form a stucco building exterior surface. There have been substantial building failures and costly damage at many EIFS covered buildings, primarily because the EIFS-covered building exterior may leak into the building walls but the foam insulation used beneath this stucco method may not allow moisture to escape from building cavities. We discuss stucco installation, troubleshooting, repairs, leaks, painting and other related topics.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
EIFS Wall Construction Photos & Details
Below we illustrate the construction of an EIFS barrier wall - on a Barnes & Noble bookstore being built in Poughkeepsie, NY (1999).
The workers are nailing solid styrofoam board to the plywood building sheathing. On walls with few penetrations (below right) or other opportunities to make an installation mistake, EIFS has performed well (in our OPINION).
Common Causes of Leaks in EIFS Walls
Our page top photo shows the Gieseke home under construction in Tucson, AZ in 2007. Here is a photo of the completed structure. Below are photos of New York EIFS-clad home that we inspected after the owner complained of chronic leaks into the structure. At below right was one of quite a few leak points we found. We confirmed actual leakage at these faults by a gentle mist-spray from a garden hose, simulating rain. This home typified the EIFS leak and hidden damage problem: a conceptually sound barrier wall design won't function properly if it is too vulnerable to errors during construction or damage afterwards.
In a nutshell, while stucco on building exteriors is a very old technology with centuries of success, even of limited wall leak tolerance, leaks into the structure of an EIFS-covered building can cause major mold, rot, and structural damage because water leaks into the structure from installation defects (very common), holes, or damaged siding.
EIFS synthetic stucco product manufacturers provide detailed installation guides that should be meticulously followed by builders. EIFS manufacturers state that if their materials are installed according to their specifications there will not be problems with this synthetic stucco method.
But we have rarely found a residential building at which the demanding and detailed product specifications have been followed during installation, and in our OPINION, the specifications may be just too demanding for many residential EIFS installers. EIFS siding material has been the subject of failures and litigation.
The photographs above are of an EIFS building exterior showing the attractive EIFS finish in the left photo and a typical wall leak at an improperly installed window sill in the right-hand photo. Further invasive inspection found rot and damage in building walls at multiple locations where penetrations or absent flashing or caulking had led to leaks.
Our photo (left) shows an inspection point on a recently-constructed EIFS sided building. While the wall looked great from outside, inside the building. this wall cavity was wet and moldy. We were surprised to find wind-blown leaks just under the eaves of the soffit overhangs where the manufacturer-recommended backer rod and sealant had been omitted..
At another EIFS building we investigated and one which was in litigation, the EIFS installation contractor defended a defective EIFS installation (no caulking, no sealants, no flashing) by arguing that the prime contractor was responsible for those details and that his contract excluded those details.
He was "just hired to apply the stucco system". In view of the fact that "application" of the particular manufacturer's stucco system called for numerous sealing details, not one of which was followed, this was a ridiculous argument. Damages were substantial.
EIFS, Synthetic Stucco, Dryvit, Sto wall type system failure investigations, EIFS leaks, building rot from siding leaks, EIFS defects-caused mold damage, EIFS siding inspection and repair methods are discussed at the links to articles, attorneys, associations, and product manufacturers listed at this website.
EIFS Performance & Background
The EIFS schematic at left is provided courtesy of Steven Bliss & J Wiley & Sons  and illustrates the layers in a typical EIFS installation and is detailed further at STUCCO EIFS DRAINAGE SYSTEMS. [Click this or any of our images to see an enlarged, detailed version.]
Williams & Williams provide a thorough description of EIFS, its components, and its design principles in their contributions to Water in Exterior Building Walls , a useful text on that topic - excerpting & adapting:
At our photo guide to some common leak points found on EIFS clad buildings SIDING EIFS WALL LEAK POINTS, one of our our EIFS leak point photographs shows a leaky window detail at an EIFS-clad building in New York.
This installation error in turn led to more sealant failures and cracking of the surface and additional leakage. The EPS foam acted like a sponge, trapping water against the building, and the nonporous polymer coatings retarded drying. In many cases the leakage and resulting decay was extensive, resulting in widespread property damage and litigation.
To continue reading about how EIFS wall system manufacturers addressed these concerns, see STUCCO EIFS DRAINAGE SYSTEMS.
If you are an EIFS manufacturer, installer, or EIFS inspector, contact us at LINK EXCHANGE to add listings - there is no fee.
A photo guide to some common leak points found on EIFS clad buildings is at SIDING EIFS WALL LEAK POINTS.
Readers should see PAINT on STUCCO, FAILURES and also see STUCCO OVER FOAM INSULATION - choices of insulation and support for stucco over foam insulation over masonry walls. Readers may also want to review POLYISOCYANURATE FOAM INSULATION.
Conventional Building Wall Stucco Installation, Painting, & Troubleshooting
See these articles:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Stucco Wall Coating types, installation, cracks, diagnosis, & repair
Question: use of peel-and-stick membranes as waterproofing under stucco wall covering?
In various areas of house having to be re-stuccoed, I.e. at various walls sections, where wall intersects with roof, at chimney, the contractor has used peel-and-stick membrane (boral protectowrap, as used in underlayment for re-roofing), to cover whole sections of walls for waterproofing beneath the newly, reapplied stucco.
Question 1: I am concerned with any problems in using this roofing material for waterproofing in the walls. We are located in Northern Florida, Ponte Vedra Beach, and concerned with the hot, tropical climate this waterproof membrane may create an barrier inside the wall, leading to problems with moisture and wood decay within the wall cavity. Most of the wall areas are stucco, one masonry.
Question 2: I understand there are similar peel and stick products developed specifically for wall against water intrusion, but the contractor used the same peel and stick from the roofing for our walls. Is this an issue?
Thank you! Homeowner - 7/19/2012
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem with building leaks and moisture and with stucco wall-covering application. That said,
I'm a little confused about your question as you say that the contractor used a peel-and-stick waterproofing membrane "at various walls sections, where wall intersects with roof, at chimney"
and later "to cover whole sections of walls for waterproofing beneath the newly, reapplied stucco"
Housewrap Products Designed Specifically for Use Under Stucco Wall Coatings
The traditional moisture barrier used beneath exterior wall stucco was building paper or roofing felt.  (see FELT 15# ROOFING, as HOUSEWRAP/VAPOR BARRIER)
On the new-construction stucco covered exterior walls that I've inspected the usual procedure has been to cover the wall with a housewrap designed for use under stucco. The wrap is water proof but not moisture proof, keeping water out of the wall but allowing moisture in the wall to escape. In the trade lingo these are called "weather resistive barriers (WRBs) and they are intended to prevent water from leaking into the wall sheathing or wall cavity. There are a number of building standards intended to address the resistance of wall finish systems to leaks and water penetration.
We do use zero-perm peel-and-stick membrane tapes regularly around windows and doors in exterior walls, as you can review at FLASHING MEMBRANES PEEL & STICK.
Peel & Stick Membranes under Stucco Wall Coatings?
Note that while StuccoWrap has a perm rating of 50 and other housewrap products also are moisture permeable, the perm rating of peel and stick membranes is generally close to zero. In some climates such as in northern areas where there is a significant heating season, putting a zero-perm barrier on the outside of the wall under the finish wall covering is asking for trouble with future wall cavity condensation and leaks or rot (VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in buildings and VAPOR BARRIERS & HOUSEWRAP).
Our photo (left) shows a granule-coated peel-and-stick roof membrane during metal roof installation. The peel-and-stick membrane shown is waterproof and protected the building for several weeks while waiting for the metal roof to arrive. It is a roofing product, not a wall product. Photo courtesy Galow Homes.
In your area, Florida, where the climate is hot and very humid, it is imaginable to place the peel-and-stick zero perm vapor barrier on the exterior side of the building exterior walls to avoid moisture condensation within the wall cavity when the home is air conditioned and thus cooled inside.
See STUCCO WAll FAILURES DUE TO WEATHER but there may be other issues about drainage, drying, curing, etc. on which your stucco system manufacturer would have a say.
In the humid South, the peel-and-stick membrane products used on roofs as a roofing underlayment (UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS on ROOFS) might work acceptably under stucco in that any fasteners driven into the wall to support whatever method is being used to support the stucco itself (wire mesh? foam?) will be sealed where driven through the sticky membrane.
And some products such as shown in our photo (of a not so hot installation on a low slope roof) include grooves that might assist drainage.
Peel and stick foundation wall & specialty water barriers
The peel-and-stick vertical surface or "wall" waterproofing membranes on the market usually indicate that they are designed for use below grade level as an improvement in foundation waterproofing.
None of these that we reviewed described the use of the product under above-ground stucco-covered walls. Some examples:
A principal difference I've observed between the two peel-and-stick roof vs vertical wall products (by eye, not any chemical test) is that roof-use peel and stick membranes are thicker (more than 1mm) and include a roughened surface principally to help prevent workers from slipping and sliding down off of the roof during installation. That coating may also provide some durability during temporary weather exposure as on some projects roofers dry-in the building with peel-and-stick over the whole roof while waiting for specialty roofing products to arrive at the jobsite, sometimes weeks later.
Both product types, roof and wall, are intended to be absolutely waterproof if installed as directed.
More Housewrap Details & Choices are at
You did not indicate what type nor product brand of stucco is being installed on your home (STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION), nor whether local building permits and code compliance inspections are being applied.
If I were the builder or onsite investigator, I'd find out what stucco system and product was being installed, and then I would both review the stucco's installation instructions and their specifications for the housewrap or weather barrier called-for beneath their product. Usually these specifications are very extensive, detailed, and sometimes not fully followed, and I would contact the stucco product manufacturer directly to ask their advice.
To approach this topic from the top, see WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR.
Questions & answers or comments about stucco wall coatings: types, installation, cracks, diagnosis, & repair .
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.