FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: 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?
A: Principled Contractors will insist on a third party inspection prior to commencing work on a prospective stucco home. This keeps everyone honest and prevents serious conflict of interest situations that can really burn an unsuspecting client. Would you, as a Contractor, say your own work was inadequate if a moisture problem occurred after repairs had been made? 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 undoubtedly 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." Conversely, I have seen these guys try to rack up profits by suggestion a total tear off or other widespread and expensive unnecessary alternatives to localized repairs. 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.
Q: What are some of the signs that I have moisture intrusion?
A: Usually, there are very few or no visible signs that moisture intrusion is occurring 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 structural components. The occurrence usually goes undetected, especially behind stucco, EIFS, brick, and vinyl, until the devastation 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.
Q: I heard you have to probe into my home to check for moisture. Will the probe holes be noticeable?
A: 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.
Q: Should I have a moisture inspection conducted before I list my home? What's in it for me?
A: 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 occurring in buildings were due to improper installation, poor workmanship from contractors, and an inherent 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 a lot of questions, and some 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 receiving price, as well as reduce the time your home stays on the market! And, if you do have damage, you don't want an exposed rotted wall spoiling the deal days before closing. We only refer to qualified, certified contractors, familiar with Moisture Warranty standards that have a proven customer service and workmanship record, so you are sure your maintenance or repairs are accomplished in an effective and long-lasting method. All repairs meet the Moisture Warranty standard.
Q: I know Home & Stucco Inspections specializes in STUCCO & MOISTURE INTRUSION, but are you certified to complete my home inspection as well?
A: 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 commercial inspections for our commercial clients. We have been inspecting residential and commercial properties since 2001 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 25 years, so we bring a "hands-on" practical approach to our inspections, which translates into real-world recommendations which are easily received by other contractors, agents, and sellers.
Q: Can I tag along while you do my stucco inspection, so I can ask questions and learn all about stucco?
A: While we invite our clients to accompany us during their home inspection, we prefer to conduct our stucco and moisture intrusion inspections without the client accompanying the inspector. The reason is that moisture intrusion testing and investigations including stucco and mold inspections require a great deal of testing, intuition, 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. We simply have to concentrate on the task at hand. Also, our meters are very sensitive and "beep" a lot 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, in an easy-to-read format so you will get ALL the facts without a nervous breakdown, and you will receive the most accurate report possible.
Q: How long does a stucco inspection lasts?
A: Typically 2-4 hours on most homes. The report can add an additional 2-8 hours more to the job, depending on the home. If a client insists on following up during the inspection, this can double the time it takes to inspect the home and can affect the accuracy of the inspection since distractions can cause an oversight to occur.
Q: 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?
A: Elevated moisture readings are only a symptom that some degree of moisture intrusion may be occurring, but do not mean that damage is present. A window may leak on occasion, which might give the inspector a high reading; however, not all leaks cause damage. If leaks are suspected, and more information is needed, we can take your inspection one step farther (upon request) 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 assessment on repairs can be made. We can make a temporary or permanent patch, depending on the needs of the client.
Q: I've heard of stucco bond companies. Do you sell bonds?
A: Let us answer this by explaining the difference between a stucco bond and a stucco warranty. A stucco bond company is comprised of Company Owners, Stucco Inspectors, Stucco Contractors, Sales Reps, and Bond Administrators or Salespersons. These companies are all-inclusive with no checks-and-balances and lots of fine print. Generally, they will have their Inspector pick the home apart, finding every minute detail which will justify having there guys make the "necessary" repairs before selling a Bond or "guarantee" on their work. Shouldn't these companies back up their work anyway? The conflict of interest doesn't stop there though. Should anything go wrong, they will send one of their Inspectors to do a follow-up inspection (which you pay for) and decide if the repair falls under their bond or your lack of required maintenance. We aren't saying these companies don't help people repair and sell their stucco homes, because they do. We are simply saying they may not be the best choice. There is only one stucco warranty company recognized by the Georgia insurance commission: Moisture Warranty Corporation. This company operates on strict third party principles insisting that checks-and-balances exist between the Inspector, Contractor, and Warranty Company. What this means to you is that the Inspector has no vested interest in finding anything wrong with your home and if he does, will present his findings in a way that the warranty company and approved Contractor will understand. If repairs or maintenance are recommended, you can be confident that the repairs will be done properly and to warranty standards. Typically, this is as far as most people go. However, if you still desire a warranty be placed on the home, we will assist you in the warranty purchasing process and you can then be confident you have an actual stucco warranty on the home, not just a guarantee by the company who did the repairs. Find out more about warranties at MoistureWarranty.com.