Are there any particular truths about identifying EIFS for a novice inspector?

What is the likely hood A stucco/ framed 2 story home. Built in 1999 in North Florida having EIFS Cladding. Are there any constants that your sure to find with EIFS. Thank you everyone

Once you know how EIFS siding is constructed, it’s easy to develop an ear, eye, and feel for it. For me, all three come into play. Constants: EIFS gives a little bit when pushed, it has a certain sound when you drum your finger nails on it or wrap it with your knuckle. The visual clues are found at the boundaries, be it at the bottom screeds (or lack there of) or at underneath the trim for sconces, where you’ll likely see a little frayed fiberglass mesh or some insulation board.

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Hi Darren. Sounds like great advice from an expert. Really appreciate your knowledge. You mentioned lack of screed on the bottom. This cladding system Had went well below grade. Have you heard of that??

The image I just sent isn’t in reference to the cladding in dirt well below grade. I mentioned a minute ago. Just wanted you to get a visual to see if it could be ruled out as EIFS??

This otherwise beautiful home had its cladding tight to the roof AND buried in the dirt on complete 1st level?

You cannot tell 100% from that pic alone… The identification should take place at the location of the house, in the field, not from the pics at home. There is a good course about EIFS/hard stucco in the members section of NACHI. I recommend you take/retake it.

Buried in dirt would lead one to think stucco. Age of home? Landscaping done recently?

I see EIFS that goes below grade occasionally. Poor installations on 90’s homes are pretty common in my area.


Same here, not an indication of hard stucco. It would just be a guess. Putting guesses into report should not be done.

A better view of the bottom termination metal would have been a great help.

That would be a Retake. I’m researching it all now. Did you see what I said previously about it being in the dirt and tight to the roof… I know tight to roof is defect. But I’ve never seen stucco terminate in the dirt below grade like this. And be OK! Have you??

Both are installed to/below grade because homeowners don’t like seeing “ugly” gap. Whether it will cause issues depends… for example, is it a masonry wall or wood framed, what type of WRB, is there a rain screen, etc, etc… This is not a yes or no question… you should have a deep understanding of the building science involved before you dwell into commenting on if it’s going to be okay or not. Is it ideal? definitely not. In fact, general guidelines call for clearance between grade and stucco/EIFS. And yes, there is good chance that down the road there could be issues, some very very costly. EIFS (more so than hard stucco, IMO) is dangerous because if not installed correctly it can lead to hidden issues that won’t be identified until they turn into very costly issues.

Built in 1999. Are you saying there are stucco cladding systems that would be ok if buried 7/8 inches below grade?? New inspector so not surprised I’ve never noticed it…I always remember it terminating well above grade when I worked in const… Thanks for sharing your experience.

why would I ever guess when I can just as easily recommend. This education is educating me so I can educate my client. Thank you teacher. This student is sure to return with more dum questions. This lesson is as good if not better than any book. Sincerely grasshopper inspector.

It’s sitting tight to the roof… how would I get a shot underneath it. All the headwall terminate tight to the roof… All the 1st floor terminations go well below grade. How do I get a better shot. Edge of roof maybe but what can you see. Honest question, I don’t know what I’d see.

You already stated it terminated 7/8 inch below grade, so dig down and expose the edge. You can use a mirror to see the weep screed, if there is one, or the foam/mesh backing or the wire lathe, etc.

You put your camera where the tip of your arrow is. Shoot it at an angle, profiles are different. Did you put your hand under it at the shingles? More could have been on site to determine. Just sayin’.

In NM it is common for the stucco to terminate below grade. So common that people think it is the correct way for it to be installed. Newer construction, done correctly, is slowly changing that mindset. Not as critical in a desert climate, but it could be an entry point for termites.