Further testing can be done by qualified inspector's non-invasive scanning meters that read changes in density behind foam. That won't tell the exact moisture content either, but it will identify areas in which some water may have seeped. There, inspectors can use a pin-probe meter that drills through cladding and sheathing. How deep the probe moves through the surface without resistance will tell how far the damage has progressed. It also has a water-content sensor. The Exterior Design Institute, a non-profit agency advocating integrity in EIFS installations, offers an online directory of qualified inspectors that can conduct such tests.

The inspectors also can examine the work throughout a new installation process to ensure that the EIFS is being applied in accordance with manufacturer's requirements during each phase of installation. Unfortunately, some homeowners with older EIFS cladding will find costly water damage. For those people, there are two remedies: Replace the entire exterior or do patch replacements of the affected areas. Full replacements are more expensive, but they may be easier. Patch replacements can create problems as builders try to create an exact visual match between older and repaired areas. For the most part, EIFS manufacturers have done well in alleviating the water damage issues found in older systems, and builders once again have confidence in the finish. Yet the psychological impact of water-damaged homes may linger in some communities, says Kenney. If local sentiment runs against the cladding, the value of homes with EIFS might suffer, even if Water managed EIFS are installed. Before having it installed, ask local Realtors what the general perception of the finish is in the area. Even so, the benefit of EIFS in terms of cost, aesthetic value and energy efficiency may outweigh any potential resistance from future home buyers.

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