Do you identify stucco types in your reports?

Hi all, new student here. I’m reading the section on Stucco and EIFS, and it states the following:

When the siding appears to be stucco, it may not be enough for many inspectors to simply identify the covering as “stucco.” You may decide that it is in the best interests of your client to know what type (or types) of stucco is installed on the house, and to correctly identify whether the cladding is EIFS.

I’m wondering, how do you determine the type of stucco without doing a destructive inspection? How is it possible to detail the installed layers without destroying a portion of the wall covering? Do you see a demand/need to actually identify the type of stucco?

I believe the article just wants you to be able to differentiate a hard (cementitious) stucco from its synthetic/fake cousin (EIFS) stucco. There are a number of ways to tell the difference between the two without an invasive inspection. The article you are reading explains it. And yes, you should know how and identify it in the report.

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Simon, thanks for the info. I guess I need to read up on this topic more. I’m having trouble differentiating between cementitious stucco from EIFS stucco.

You have to experience it in the field. There are varies hard stucco and varies EIFS systems. You need to know what is most common in your area and how they install it to be able to identify it correctly. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. For example, you can even have a hard stucco over rigid foam. And then there is directly applied synthetic stucco (DEFS) which can be mistaken for hard stucco.

I agree with Simon.

if you don’t know how to determine what type cladding is present
call me to discuss some of the methods i use

It would be worth a lot for you to talk to this guy above;
Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS/Stucco-Infrared Thermography
TREC # 4563

I use the tap test and check the bottom edge, If it is EIFS I recommend an EIFS certified inspector inspect the entire system.

It is useful to recognize different types of stucco, BUT if you are going to start identifying them in your report, then you damn sure better be an expert in identifying them. Some years ago, I counted 17-19 variations on synthetic stucco applications. Add to that, that some house may have more than one type of stucco. Earlier this year, I saw a house with three different types of stucco. Do you want to identify the three types and where on the structure those different types are located? I don’t.
And why does it matter? Just a couple of years ago, a seller here sued a home inspector for identifying EIFS on his house when in fact, it was not any version of EIFS. The HI’s label of the stucco system killed the deal and p–oed the heck out of the seller. The HI had assumed that having foam insulation meant it was EIFS. A case of a little knowledge can kill you.

My two cents: stick with reporting what you see wrong and stay away from labelling the system or systems when it comes to stucco.


Evening, Saman.
Hope this post finds you well.

There are 2 types of Stucco. Traditional and Synthetic.

Sound: Try tapping on the surface of the wall.
Tapping your knuckles or a hard surfaced object like a screw driver will deliver soundwaves that project back to the surface and to your ear.
Low Thuds indicate hollowness. EIFS, Synthetic Stucco.
High fast returning sounds/fidelities indicate Traditional stucco concrete.

Visual Identification: Look and measure under the bottom edge or width of the veneer.
Get on your knees or use a mirror.
Weep screed indicates EIFS drainage plane for Synthetic Stucco.
Continuous cementitious width would indicate Traditional Stucco.

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In my area we see … Hardcoat Stucco, EIFS and a Hybrid System

You best at least be able to tell if its EIFS or Hardcoat. We’ve had SEVERAL lawsuits against inspectors who called it EIFS and killed the deal when it was NOT.

AND worse yet we’ve had SEVERAL high dollar lawsuits when the inspector called it regular stucco, buyer closed AND later found out it was EIFS

Pull an outlet cover to see a cross section of the wall / put your inspection mirror under thye wall looking for foam / look for vertical control joints (EIFS does not use V-joints). There are a bunch of clues that do NOT include destructive / intrusive testing.

As a NON-stucco specialist limit your description to words like Hardcoat Stucco OR EIFS

Dan, what do you call a hardcoat stucco over foam? have you ever seen it in your area?

See it frequently … HC but bldr put regular pink or blue insulation foam under it

I call it a hybrid

Hard coat but with some EIFS tendency