EIFS Inspection Services

History of EIFS Inspections

Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is a wall cladding that has gained traction in the residential markets since the 1980s and continues in multiple varieties to be installed today.  It was introduced in Europe following World War II and was used on stone or masonry buildings mainly.  The main idea is to add insulation to the exterior of the building, and finish it with a thin mesh and cementious finish which also provides an attractive stucco appearance.

EIFS was introduced to the American market in the 1960s and had relatively little use until the 1980s when it became more popular on higher end homes.  In the American residential sector, it is mainly installed over wood framed homes and has a variety of methods or types.  The first main iterations were barrier systems and did not include drainage planes behind the EIFS system, and there have been many failures of these systems resulting in much damage to homes due to rot, mold, and pest damage.  There are multiple manufacturers, installation methods, and types of EIFS, however they have all had failures and resulting damage due mainly to incorrect installation detailing allowing water to penetrate into the wall system.

EIFS sealant failure photo
EIFS sealant failure at window

EIFS Inspection Process

We inspect the EIFS system, associated components such as windows and flashing, and provide a written reports on the system including any deficiencies noted such as failed sealant, cracking, clearance issues, improperly installed EIFS materials, missing or improper flashing, improperly sealed penetrations, and more.  Concentration is focused on areas surrounding windows, at and below diverter roof / wall flashings, at all penetrations through the EIFS system, and anywhere the system is too close to or buried in the ground cover.  Windows are also inspected to look for possible water entry points such as gapping leaky miter joints and blocked weep holes.  We attempt to provide as much information about the system as possible so you can be educated about the system to make informed decisions. We can do a visual inspection of the EIFS system in any weather, as it is not dependent on dry weather for accurate results.

EIFS inspection moisture scanning
Scanning EIFS with Tramex moisture meter

Following a visual inspection, we continue with a Tramex roof and wall scanner moisture meter, specifically designed for EIFS inspections, which is used to search for elevated moisture levels below the surface.  The Tramex meter is calibrated to a known dry area, then used to scan other areas around the home. The EIFS areas of the structure are scanned at common suspect areas such as below windows, below roof / wall diverter flashings (commonly called kickout flashing), around any cracking, and around any penetration of the EIFS system such as at lights, hose bibs, etc.  Areas found to be elevated in moisture compared to the known dry areas or display visual indications of potential water intrusion are marked for follow-on moisture probing.

Prior to performing an EIFS inspection, we require a minimum of 24 hours of dry weather to avoid the potential of interference with accurate readings due to recent rain and water.


Probing EIFS for moisture in the substrate
Probing EIFS for moisture in substrate

EIFS Moisture Testing and Probing

If elevated moisture levels are suspected or damage is suspected AND we have written permission to do so, we then follow with inserting probes through the EIFS surface and insulation back to the wall sheathing and checking the moisture level of the sheathing.**  The firmness of the sheathing is also checked using a probe to attempt to determine if rot or decay has occurred.  The holes are then sealed with silicone matched to color as closely as possible to prevent water entry. In some cases the sheathing could be dry at the time of the inspection, but contain decay.  Using these methods, we inspect all areas of EIFS and attempt to determine the condition of the wall sheathing.  Our findings are detailed in a written report following the inspection. Moisture probe locations, moisture content readings, and whether any damage was detected will be included in the report.

Here is the sequence showing the process of holes drilled, moisture probing, and holes filled with sealant. We carry many kinds and colors of sealant and try to match the color of the EIFS as closely as possible.  When possible, we also try and go up in under ledges further hiding the probe holes.  Once the holes are filled, the holes are usually not able to easily be found again and only noticeable to the person that did the probing.

1/4 inch holes drilled in EIFS
Small 1/4 inch holes drilled in EIFS

EIFS moisture probing
Probes inserted and moisture reading taken

EIFS holes filled with sealant
EIFS holes filled with sealant

EIFS holes filled highlighted
Holes highlighted in case you didn't notice them in the last photo

** Written permission from the home owner is always required prior to any invasive probing of the EIFS system.  If written permission is not provided, we simply stop at the non-invasive moisture meter scanning and provide a written report of our findings.  It is then up to the customer to take it further if any invasive investigation techniques are desired in the future.

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Sample Home Inspection Report