Important Stucco Inspections Have Made A Huge Difference For Sun City Residents
When installed properly, stucco is almost maintenance-free (excluding periodic painting/caulking). Unfortunately, when it is not done properly, even small oversights can lead to a much larger issue over time.
As anyone who has spent a lot of time in Sun City will understand, the latter part of that last comment is, unfortunately, the more likely to be true.
We thoroughly review all areas on both interior and exterior. While some think moisture only enters through random cracks in stucco, it is more than likely entering around doors/windows, wall penetrations, or flashings.
While exterior scans are helpful, false readings are routinely found due to weather conditions and/or shadowing from landscaping. Interior scans are much more accurate as most of these variables have been removed. In cases where elevated and/or inconclusive results are found, a “core-sample” will need to be performed to verify no moisture is present.
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Stucco Inspections - Tools Used
Deep Penetrating Wall Meter
Meter penetrates up to 4 inches into the wall surface. If any source of moisture is present, this will find it! The purpose of this particular tool is to try to find moisture without disturbing walls or having to drill through the stucco.
Readings can be difficult to determine as false readings can be calculated due to items buried beneath the stucco. Stacked 2x4s, metal items such as nails and/or metal lathe that is used during stucco application can, unfortunately, give false readings. In addition, readings can also be inaccurate if we have been through an extended dry period where areas of moisture have since dried.
In addition, readings can be inaccurate if we have been through an extended dry period where areas of moisture have since dried.
This tool literally lets you see through walls…well, sort of. It should be stated at first that Thermal Cameras do not detect moisture, but differences in temperature. This tool is highly effective in seeing items that are hidden and/or not accessible. When moisture is present, findings are clearly visible without the need of disturbing wall(s).
The unit is highly sensitive to outside conditions. If proper Delta-T (temperature difference between outside/inside) is not a minimum of 10 degrees, the camera is basically “blind”. Shadows from outside landscaping will appear to show moisture, where in fact, it is only seeing the difference of temperature from the sun that is on the siding, versus a cooler area that is in the shade.
In addition, the type of material being tested needs to be accounted for as some items, glossy hardwood flooring being an example, reflects the temperature of surrounding items. When in use, the inspector needs to make sure that ALL of these outside influences have been taken into consideration to ensure readings are as accurate as possible.
Delmhorst Moisture Meter
Hands down, this is the most effective tool in actually detecting moisture. Even if an area is relatively dry due to extended periods without rain, this tool can detect moisture based on the condition of sheathing hidden behind drywall.
If used on the exterior, (2) 3/8 inch holes need to be drilled through the exterior to access sheathing. When used on the interior, (2) much smaller holes are created to access wood behind sheathing. Either way, the structure will need to be penetrated using invasive methods.
Stucco Inspections - The Blue Water Professional Method
Ideally, using the Delmhorst meter around ALL areas of home would be the only way to truly identify ALL areas of possible moisture intrusion.
Unfortunately, this would leave a perforated mess in all areas of the home. While holes located on the interior of the home are relatively unnoticeable, the holes on the exterior are quite large and will need to be re-sealed periodically as the caulk used to seal will dry over time.
By combining all three tools, I can thoroughly review all areas and only perform “invasive” methods when needed. In addition to cracks, all areas that are more prone to water entry (doors/windows/dormers) are scanned, and readings are reported accordingly.