My Realtor told me about a company (or guy) who can inspect my stucco and do any needed repairs. And does cheap inspections! What's wrong with this?
There are unscrupulous and/or unqualified contractors who call themselves Inspectors and give cheap or free inspections just to get the lucrative repair work they will undoubtably find needs to be done. They know stucco has a stigma and use this fear to take advantage of unknowing homeowners or potential purchasers. I have personally inspected behind these guys and found thousands of dollars in hidden damage and moisture-prone areas these guys missed on their "inspection." I pesonally witnessed one of these "contractor-inspectors" attempting to "repair" some beyond-repair windows on a stucco house they had otherwise cleared on their inspection the day before as being okay, only to discover $15,000 worth of hidden damage and active hidden leaks on my inspection. On another occasion, a local and well-known contractor here in Athens insisted on resurfacing an entire 4000 square foot home to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, instead of sealing a few cracks settlement as I recommended on an otherwise serviceable stucco home. The moral of these two stories is: Do your research and use a 3rd party, qualified and certified Inspection company like Home & Stucco Inspections of Georgia or you may end up the victim of one of these unscrupulous individuals.
What are some of the signs that I have moisture intrusion?
Usually, there are very few or no visible signs that moisture intrusion is occuring to the untrained eye or even to home inspectors. This is because moisture intrusion usually affects the exterior wall just behind the siding, rotting away at the sheathing and studs or even supporting beams, columns, and other strutural components. The occurance usually goes undetected, especially behind stucco, EIFS, brick, and vinyl, until the devestation reveals itself through mold contamination, health problems of the building occupants, or structural cracks or failure. This is why moisture testing is so important, to detect intrusion and/or damage before it results in major repairs or health issues.
I heard you have to probe into my home to check for moisture. Will the probe holes be noticeable?
Usually not. Probe holes are very small, about the size of a chopstick point (-1/8"). Every effort is made to place the holes in inconspicuous areas where they will not be detected, such as under window accents, creases in the building contours, or close to gutter terminations. They are placed only in areas where moisture is suspected or statistically high moisture prone areas. The probe holes are then sealed with sealant. Unless one knows exactly where to look, the sealed holes are difficult to find.
Should I have a moisture inspection conducted before I list my home? What's in it for me?
Unfortunately, stucco has been demonized in the media due to a class-action lawsuit which occurred in 2003. Actually, Dryvit, a major manufacturer of EIFS systems tried to defend itself in asserting that the moisture problems which were occuring in buildings were due to improper installation, poor workmanship from contractors, and an inherant window manufacturing defect, and not the consequence of the stucco product itself. The courts did not see it this way, and Dryvit lost the suit, being ordered to pay millions in damages. Well, thanks to a media explosion, Sellers now know about the judgement and automatically assume the fault is indeed the stucco product. So Buyers are already looking at your stucco home with preconceived notions and alot of questions, and Realtors are now insisting they get a moisture intrusion inspection done before going through with the purchase. It is in your best interest, therefore, as a stucco homeowner, to ensure there are no moisture issues which can upset last-minute negotiations. A Moisture Inspection Report which shows your stucco is properly installed and free of moisture can go a long ways in sealing the deal, and can actually maximize your asking and recieving price, as well as reduce the time your home stays on the market!
I know Home & Stucco Inspections specializes in STUCCO & MOISTURE INTRUSION, but are you certified to complete my home inspection as well?
Yes! While we do specialize in Stucco, and Moisture Intrusion, we are fully certified, qualified, and very experienced in home inspections, and can even complete commerical inspections for our commerical clients. We have been inspecting residential and commercial properties since 2003 and have one of the most comprehensive reporting systems in the industry. As an experienced General Contractor, David Smith has built multiple homes and completed thousands of home repairs over the past 20 years, so we bring a "hands-on" practical approach to our inspections, which translates into real-world recommendations which are easily recieved by other other contractors, agents, and sellers.
Can I tag along while you do my stucco inspection, so I can ask questions and learn all about stucco?
While we invite our clients to accompany us during thier home inspection, we prefer to conduct our stucco and moisture intrusion inspections without client accompanying the inspector. The reason is that moisture intrusion testing and investigations including stucco and mold inspections requires a great deal of testing, intutition, and educated "guesswork". Our accuracy depends largely on our ability to figure out where the moisture, if any, is coming from, and what, if any damage has been done. Also, our meters are very sensitive and "beep" alot during our testing, even on normal or acceptable moisture levels, which can drive an already nervous seller or purchaser over the edge. Don't worry though, we will go over every aspect and detail of the stucco including any moisture or mold issues which may be present. We document our findings using dozens of photos, so you will get ALL the facts without a nervous breakdown, and you will recieve the most accurate report possible.
How long does a stucco inspection lasts?
Typically 2-4 hours on most homes. The report can add an additional 2-8 hours more to the job, depending on the home.
Your inspection report shows that I have several areas with elevated moisture levels detected within the wood structure. How do I know if and how bad the damage is?
Elevated moisture readings are only a symptom that some degree of moisture intrusion may be occuring, but do not mean that damage is present. A window may leak on occasion, which might give the inspector a high reading; however, no all leaks cause damage. If leaks are suspected, and more information is needed, we can take your inspectioin one step farther and conduct one or more test cuts (4 inches or less in diameter) so we can view the substrate, test and observe the actually wood components' conditions, and document our findings. This puts into perspective our findings and gives the contractor more information so that an accurate accessment on repairs can be made.