The traditional exterior treatment known as stucco is applied wet and dries into a hardened surface. The most commonly used mixture is made up of water, sand, and cement. EIFS stucco is a synthetic stucco that came to the US in the 1960s. EIFS uses materials such as foam insulation and other synthetic coatings. The materials used in EIFS create a barrier and if installed incorrectly can trap water behind it. Water trapped behind EIFS can cause rot damage and moisture can encourage mold growth which can eat away at load bearing studs. Walls may buckle and collapse due to the damage caused by moisture intrusion and mold infestation. Entire communities are currently dealing with remediation of incorrectly applied EIFS stucco due to shortcuts being taken during the building boom of the early 2000’s.
Visual signs of problems rarely exist, but the most obvious are bulging EIFS on the exterior and water stains around windows on the interior. Problems often exist that can only be detected by an experienced inspector. Thousands of dollars could be saved by having the structure inspected prior to purchase.