One of Georgia's First & Most Experienced Stucco & EIFS Inspectors
How We Test for Moisture
Probe Testing vs. Infra Red Thermal Imaging

When we started inspecting and testing stucco back in 2002 due to the class-action lawsuit against Dryvit Systems, the only court approved method for testing was (and still is) a combination of moisture scanning and moisture probing. These effective methods were the culmonation of thousands of laboratory hours testing under extreme moisture conditions for which a 5 year moisture warranty could be placed on the stucco home, once certified MoistureFree.

We are certified by the administrator and certifying company which handled the implementation of the settlement, and consider this methology to be the most effective and proven techniques to date, including thermal imaging.

Probe testing has many advantages, including being able to "feel" the wood framing behind the stucco while taking the actual moisture content of the wood tested. We are experts at probing in inconspicuous areas and hiding the small (<1/4 in.) holes left from the probe sites. Thermal imaging is used to test the temperature differences in a building, as an effective tool during energy audits. Only recently have some roofers and stucco inspectors began to modify the intended use for moisture intrusion identification purposes. Although the device can be used for this purpose in limited ways, weather conditions and building temperature have to be ideal and even then, I challenge you to find a thermographer that will guarantee their findings and certify a building is free of moisture based solely on thermal imaging results.

We also use a Tramex wet wall moisture detector which is a surface scanning device which helps us initally identifiy areas with possible moisture intrusion, as well as to map out the entent of affected area(s). However, we never rely solely on this device since like thermal imaging, it can give inaccurate information. The only proven-to-be-accurate device for moisture testing is a moisture probe meter and a Delmhorst BD2100 is the "approved" tool accepted by the Moisture Warranty Corporation for accuracy with regards to placing a MoistureFree Stucco Warranty on a home. We always back up any positive moisture readings from the Tramex by probing to confirm and document the actual moisture content and condition of the substrate.

Read what others are saying about thermal imaging vs. probe testing.....
Alternatives to Invasive Testing
Infrared Scans on Stucco
Reprint of Reubin's Home Inspection Blog
Structure Tech  •  4205 Raleigh Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416 

"Some companies in Minnesota offer infrared
scans on stucco houses as an attractive non-
invasive alternative to traditional moisture test-
ing. These companies claim to have had good
luck using infrared cameras to find moisture
behind stucco walls, but I say they don’t know
what they’re missing.

All three testing companies that I interviewed said the same thing about infrared inspections on stucco homes: they’re unreliable.  Each company shared the exact same experience with me.  They were excited when infrared cameras came on to the market, they purchased $10k – $15k infrared cameras, they went through extensive training on the use of IR cameras, and then they began using IR cameras on houses before performing invasive testing.

After comparing the results over and over again, they all said that IR cameras are a completely unreliable way of finding moisture behind stucco.  Wayne Shellabarger’s web site says they use infrared cameras as a starting point before performing invasive testing, but he told me they no longer even offer that service because it has proven to be a waste of time.

I have yet to hear from a single home inspector, anywhere in the country, who has performed infrared scans on houses, compared those results to an invasive moisture test performed at the same time, and can still claim that infrared scans on stucco houses are reliable.  Infrared cameras can only identify differences in temperature; they don’t identify the presence of moisture.  We offer infrared inspections, but not as a way to find moisture in stucco buildings.

The bottom line is that infrared scans on stucco buildings will give unreliable results and should not be considered an alternative to invasive moisture testing.  I’m a firm believer in invasive moisture testing on stucco homes, and I say this as someone with no financial interest in the matter.  My company doesn’t perform invasive moisture testing on stucco homes; we refer this work out to the people who specialize in it."
Reprint from
Preferred Home Inspections
26406 Pine Canyon Drive, Spring Texas 77380

"DON'T BE FOOLED BY INSPECTORS WHO SAY THEY CAN USE AN INFRA-RED CAMERA ON STUCCO! If only it were that easy!  We own a professional quality Flir infra-camera.  Infra red technology  CANNOT see through stucco walls (only interior walls and not  every time as many inspectors claim.)  The circumstances have to be just right to for the camera to actually detect moisture within a stucco wall - in all our inspections, there was only one time it worked - just after a heavy rain and with the a/c turned very low for a huge temperature differential.  There is no shortcut for a real invasive inspection."
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Call us: 706-248-3596 or 229-269-0946
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Home & Stucco Inspections
of Georgia
4255 Old Danielsville Rd.
Athens, Georgia 30601
Home & Stucco Inspections
More than 20 years experience!
We do own and utilize a FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera, but only as a secondary-NEVER PRIMARY- tool for testing for moisture. We rely primarily on time tested and proven scientific methods coupled with the intuition that only comes from personally inspecting 1,500 stucco properties with a high level of accuracy.
of Georgia
"Preserving the Value of Stucco Homes Across Georgia"
Call 706-248-3596