EIFS Inspection ProtocolToll Free: (866) 435-4985
EIFS Inspection Protocol
The purpose of this section is to provide home owners with an understanding of the testing methodology for the home inspection required by the Settlement Agreement. The inspection protocol below is contingent upon the class member’s EIFS clad structure being covered by the Settlement. All owners of covered Property will receive a copy of the Inspection Report. The Inspection Report will be used by the Claims Administrator in making Recovery Program determinations, including the determination of whether the Property qualifies for a cash out option.
This Inspection Protocol may be modified by counsel for the Parties, subject to Court approval, or by order of the Court.
Each Property shall be inspected by an Independent Inspector. The Independent Inspector shall document through field notes, photographs and/or drawing(s), the results of the inspection conducted consistent with this Protocol and shall record such results in a standardized form Inspection Report. The Inspection Report will present factual information regarding the physical make-up and construction features of the Property as well as present results from moisture testing and visual observations. The Report will be submitted to the Claims Administrator for analysis and the dissemination of the information contained therein.
The Independent Inspector can make minor repairs to the Property during the inspection. Such repairs shall not constitute a Repair for recovery purposes.
The Inspection Report shall contain the following information, when available, for each Claimant’s Property.
A. General Information
- Name(s) of the Claimant.
- Street address of the Property.
- Date of the inspection.
- Date of last precipitation.
- Weather conditions at the time of the inspection:
- Temperature: ambient dry bulb air temperature in degrees Fahrenheit at the time that the moisture readings are taken.
- Relative Humidity: relative humidity (percent) at the time moisture readings are taken.
- Meteorological Conditions: climatic conditions or events which the Independent Inspector believes may impact the condition of the Property.
- Other Observations:
- List other observations of items which may impact moisture readings such as: exposure to lawn sprinkler or other watering device; proximity to body of water; salt spray; existence of pressure treated wood; ground water conditions; etc.
- The dimensions and critical details of the Property, including:
- Square feet of EIFS on each wall plane.
- Number of stories.
- Sheathing material
- Number, type, and material of each window and door (e.g., type: single, double, triple, palladian, fixed, double hung, casement; and material: wood, vinyl, aluminum, aluminum clad or vinyl clad), and the window and door manufacturers, if determined or recognized.
- Number and type of each roof flashing interfacing with EIFS (e.g., large roof rake, standard chimney, gable-end chimney, small roof return, special).
- Linear footage at deck/EIFS wall interface and number of deck doors; and (only required if EIFS installed below).
- Perimeter details around windows interfacing with EIFS (e.g., sealant type (if determined), no sealant, pre-compressed closed cell sealant tape, fillet bead of sealant, backer rod with sealant (state width of joint), and location and type of aesthetic EIFS bands at each window. (none, head only, sill only, head and sill, or completely around window)
B. Physical Documentation
The Independent Inspector shall make specific observations of physical evidence related to product identification on all Building Sides of the Property and shall record these observations on the Inspection Report. For product identification purposes, the Independent Inspector shall only gather physical evidence (such as mesh color and finish coat texture); however, EIFS samples for product identification testing shall not be obtained by the Independent Inspector, except as requested by the Claims Administrator, unless physical samples are available without the need to make destructive openings specifically for that purpose. If there is a question as to product identification, that question shall be resolved prior to conducting a complete inspection.
The Independent Inspector shall photograph (and make photocopy enlargements thereof) all wall planes and Building Sides of the Property. Included with this documentation the Independent Inspector shall record the square feet of EIFS and the location of the moisture content readings upon these graphic depictions of the wall planes or Building Sides. The Independent Inspector shall include full views of each Building Side, as well as corner views, and shall document through close-up photos or sketches any special or unusual conditions including construction conditions which must be remedied prior to issuance of a repair warranty or which may limit warranty coverage. These documents shall be included in and/or attached to the Inspection Report.
The Independent Inspector shall visually examine the exterior of the Property and record the presence and location of any of the following: indications of possible substrate damage (provide written notation and photograph, e.g., staining, delamination,, or cracking); impact to, or deterioration of the EIFS lamina (e.g., punctures for cracks); and deterioration of other materials or wall components, including deterioration of windows, door sealants, flashing and/or mesh exposure. In addition to written notations, photographs shall be taken of any such conditions and included with Claims Administration’s copy of the Inspection Report.
The Independent Inspector shall identify and memorialize in the Inspection Report any and all building components or characteristics which are impacting or may impact the water tightness of the exterior envelope of the Property. The Claimant may elect to repair such building components or characteristics prior to any repair or, alternatively, have excluded from warranty coverage any damage resulting from such building components or characteristics. These building components or characteristics include without limitation the following:
- Existing or potential roof leakage, (crickets, saddles, membranes, ice dams, etc.).
- Roof flashing deficiencies, (excluding termination details with EIFS).
- Rotted or deteriorated fenestration components, (windows, doors, louvers, trim).
- Structural problems, (foundation or slab settlement, frame movement).
- Ground water under Property.
- Inadequate ventilation of crawl spaces and /or attics.
- Impact damage to EIFS.
- Intentional or negligent damage to EIFS.
C. Moisture Test Results
The Inspection Report shall include the results of the moisture testing performed on the Property. Only the moisture content readings and annotation of the condition of the wood sheathing or framing will be reported. The relative readings from the scanning type moisture devise will not be reported. All locations of sheathing with loss of structural integrity or confirmed moisture content readings of 25%MC or greater will be depicted on the photographs and/or sketches in the report. In addition, the probable source(s) of water intrusion causing the elevated reading will be identified for each probe location.
II. Testing of Wood Sheathing and/or Framing to Determine Moisture Content
Moisture testing of each Property will be performed using both a scanning capacitance type meter (Tramex Wet-wall-Meter or equal) and a pin probe resistance type meter (Delmhorst, Lignom at Meter or equal). Scanning meters have the advantage of providing a means of surveying large areas of EIFS wall cladding and identify potential locations of sheathing that have elevated moisture. This test method is also advantageous in that it is non-invasive. Probe type meters provide readings verifying moisture content as well as determining the soundness or density of wood sheathing or framing at a given location. Only confirmed readings using the probe type meter will be recorded. Advancements in technology and diagnostic methodologies, consistent with the use of a scanning meter and probe meter as described above, shall not be prohibited from future consideration.
A. Scanning Meters
Currently, the most commonly used non-destructive scanning type meter is made by Tramex. The Tramex Wet Wall Detector meter is an impedance meter which uses low frequency electronic signal to detect moisture. This type of meter does not require contact with the sheathing or framing allowing an Independent Inspector to take a moisture reading without puncturing the EIFS.
The meter is used by placing it against the lamina and moving it along the surface. The meter gives continuous and instant readings. This allows the Independent Inspector to cover large areas of wall plane quickly. Scanning with this type of device, identifies locations of potential elevated moisture which require verification using the probe type meter.
Although the type of substrate does not affect the readings of the scanning meter, many other components can. Since the meter works on electronic impedance, conductive materials in the system can produce false positive readings. Metal fasteners or flashings, and board joints are examples of concealed materials that can lead to false positive readings. After scanning the wall surface, a resistance probe type meter is used in the moisture testing survey to give actual moisture content readings to any locations detected as having potential elevated moisture
B. Resistance Probe Meters
Several companies, including Delmhorst Instrument Company and Lignom at USA, LTD., make a wide variety of probe type moisture meters. For testing behind EIFS cladding, meters using two needles will be used. The needles are insulated with a coating except at the tip which is where the device measures the electrical resistance between the two points. The meters display moisture content as a percentage by weight for wood and percent of scale for gypsum. Probing using this device allows the Independent Inspector to identify any wood substrate material that has little or no tactile resistance which is an indicator of possible degradation of the material.
Moisture readings in areas with wood sheathing products (OSB and plywood) shall be taken at a depth of approximately 1/4 inch into the sheathing. Moisture readings in areas with non-wood based sheathing products (for example paper-faced or fiberglass faced gypsum sheathing or rigid insulation boards) shall not be taken in the sheathing but shall be taken at a depth of approximately 1/4 inch into the wood framing.
C. Moisture Testing Procedures
No moisture testing shall be conducted at times where the Independent Inspector determines the test result may be unreliable such as during periods of precipitation, when wall surfaces are wet or during prolong periods of little precipitation and high temperatures. Moisture testing shall be conducted in accordance with moisture meter manufacturer’s instructions for the particular model used.
There are three basic steps that are to be followed in performing moisture testing. The first step is to determine the acclimated moisture content of the sheathing and/or framing on each wall exposure. The next step is to use the scanning meter to identify any potential elevated moisture location. The final step is to use the pin probe meter to verify moisture contents and sheathing conditions at a) all locations determined by the scanning meter to be potential elevated moisture locations; and, b) at all mandatory locations. All holes punched in the lamina for the moisture probe readings shall be sealed using an approved method.
The acclimated moisture content on each Building Side exposure will be determined by taking moisture readings using both the pin probe meter and the scanning meter at a location with little or no exposure to precipitation such as under a protective eave. Before proceeding with the survey, the scanning meter will be calibrated at such an area on each Building Side. The acclimated moisture readings provide a baseline for which the Independent Inspector will compare other relative readings from the scanning meter on a given wall plane with similar exposure.
After calibrating the scanning meter, all EIFS clad wall surfaces will be surveyed. The meter shall be moved over the wall area, with emphasis to areas such as fenestrations, penetrations, decks, stoops, chimneys, cracks, delaminations, expansion/ aesthetic joints and flashings areas. Locations of potential elevated moisture shall be accurately marked and identified.
Following the scanning procedure, a resistance-type moisture meter with insulated probes shall be used to determine wood moisture content and soundness in all likely areas of water intrusion. Moisture readings of 25% MC or greater shall, at the discretion of the Independent Inspector, be confirmed as sustained moisture by taking (2) additional probes immediately adjacent to the initial probe location. For locations of moisture readings of 30% MC or greater, or where probes readily penetrate the wood sheathing, the Independent Inspector shall determine the general limits of the affected area. For all areas of moisture content greater than 25% MC or sheathing with loss of structural integrity, the Independent Inspector will annotate the limits of affected area and the probable source(s) of intrusion on the photographs or on a separate sketch. Where there is more than one probable source of water intrusion, the Independent Inspector shall list all probable sources.
Locations where mandatory probe readings are required include:
- Fenestrations (windows, doors and louvers).
- Roof Rake Flashing Terminations (kick out flashing locations).
- Wood Decks.
- Mechanical / Electrical Penetrations.
Mandatory probe readings shall be taken at the following locations:
The number and location of probe readings taken at fenestrations will vary depending on the size, location and type of the unit. For windows, typically, three such readings shall be taken below each corner of each single window: a) one 2″ below the corner, b) one at the nearest floor line (sub floor) below the entry point, and c) one at the midpoint between (1) and (2). If the first and second probe locations are less than 36″ apart, the mid-point probe is not required. Thus, at a single window or louver a minimum of four readings shall be taken. Ganged or mulled windows will be tested in a similar manner with additional readings taken below each mullion or where two or more windows are joined. For second floor windows with opening located below, readings shall be taken at the head of the lower opening in addition to the other required readings. For swing doors and sliding glass doors moisture test probes shall be taken a) 2″ below each jamb, and b) 3″ to either side of each jamb at the joist line.
Roof Rake Flashing Terminations (Kick Out)
Three readings shall be taken below every major kick out, including those at chimneys: (a) one 6″ below the roof rake termination (the suspected point of entry); (b) one 2′ below the roof rake termination; and (c) one at the nearest floor line below the roof rake termination. Additional probe readings shall be taken between the rim joist and the flashing termination and along the rim joist location if elevated moisture or sheathing or framing degradation is detected.
On wood framed chimney chases, readings shall be taken on each side 6″ the cap flashing below the cap flashing and at 36″ centers at the rim joist area. If potential elevated moisture levels are detected using the scanning meter then additional probe reading shall be taken at 36″ centers in those regions.
Wood Deck Flashings
For attached wood decks with EIFS cladding below, readings shall be taken 2″ below the ledger board at all terminations, corners, transitions in elevation, and at lap joints. If flashing has been omitted, in addition to the other required readings, test probes shall be taken 2″ beneath the ledger board at every 36″ horizontally.
Mechanical / Electrical Penetrations
Penetrations such as hose bibs, air conditioner lines, electrical boxes, dryer vents, light fixtures, telephone and cable penetrations, railing attachments and other miscellaneous penetrations will be tested if potential moisture areas are detected using the scanning meter. Spot checks of at least one penetration per wall plane will be mandatory.
SPECIALTY BUILDING CONSULTANTS
Call: 205-683-6484 (Birmingham)
Call: 334-539-8304 (Auburn)
Call: 256-384-3358 (Huntsville)
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We perform inspections in the following areas. If you don't see your area listed, give us a call as we service most of central Alabama.
Jefferson County Adamsville, Argo, Bessemer, Birmingham, Brighton, Brookside, Cardiff, Center Point, Clay, Fairfield, Fultondale, Gardendale, Graysville, Homewood, Hoover, Hueytown, Irondale, Kimberly, Leeds, Lipscomb, Maytown, Midfield, Morris, Mountain Brook, Mulga, North Johns, Pinson, Pleasant Grove, Sylvan Springs, Trafford, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Warrior, West Jefferson, and surrounding areas.
Montgomery, Pike Road, and surrounding areas.
Gurley, Huntsville, Madison, New Hope, Owens Cross Roads,Triana, and surrounding areas.
Brookwood, Coaling, Coker, Lakeview, Northport, Tuscaloosa, Vance, and surrounding areas.