Yes, Home Buyers in Murfreesboro TN and surrounding areas should have their antennas raised when considering homes built with Synthetic Stucco Siding. This product is more aptly described as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS, pronounced “effs”).
Rigid foam insulation board is attached to the walls and covered with a reinforced mesh and several coats of polymer-based material. The final coat is textured to simulate the look of stucco. EIFS is currently and has been used in commercial construction since the late 60′s.
“So What’s the Problem?”
On the one hand, Synthetic Stucco is a very effective vapor barrier (water vapor will not pass through it). That strong point becomes a problem in residential construction when water is the culprit because Synthetic Stucco DOES NOT BREATHE. Moisture cannot exit the cavity and is absorbed into the wood framing. Overtime, this will cause damage to the wall structure.
Problems relating to the use of synthetic stucco in Residential Construction have occurred primarily in the south and eastern coastal states like North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Virgina and Florida where high humidity and heavy annual rainfall generally occur. However, Home Buyers in ares like Murfreesboro, Nashville, ect., should also take extras care before purchasing such homes. A visual inspection for water stains on interior drywall, softening or rot damage of window and door frames, moisture or fungus growth on the interior of wall sheathing or framing visible in the crawl space are just a few indicators of water penetration issues (ie. due to missed caulk seals, uncaulked settlement cracks and nails penetrating stucco).
Only in the most severe cases, however, would structural damage be apparent from a visual inspection. Home Buyers in Middle Tennessee are strongly urged to seek out trained professionals to inspect these properties (home inspector and/or engineer). Tests may be performed which includes invasion inspection methods which measure moisture levels in the sheathing and framing underneath the stucco and insulation board siding.
If the seller had, had previous work done to the EIFS (check the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure), determine who did the work, what was done and if there is a warranty that transfers to a new owner and for how long. The good news, newer EIFS constructed today include a drainage arrangement to help keep moisture from being trapped.
As your Buyer Agent, I can help guide you to the experts within the Synthetic Stucco field in Middle Tennessee so that your interest are protected.