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A hip roof design with gabled front sections is currently a very popular architectural style. The exterior finish of this home is synthetic stucco, a product that is raising some serious concerns. When installed properly, it is very durable and offers added insulation. However, some homes covered with this type of material are experiencing major framing failures due to the build-up of moisture between the sheathing and the back side of this non-porous finish. Be sure to check with your builder or contractor and follow all manufacturers installation instructions when using exterior insulation systems. You should also be aware that some jurisdictions have banned or otherwise limited the use of certain types of EIFS systems. So, be sure to check with the office of your local building inspector as well.

You can read more about the problems some homeowners are experiencing with synthetic stucco installations in this ‘Dateline’ investigative report. However, some of the "facts" reported in the story are simply incorrect. For instance, synthetic stucco systems use a fiberglass mesh not wire mesh as reported and their description of a "traditional stucco home" is incorrect.

While there is genuine disagreement as to the actual source of the problem, it is clear that an improperly installed and/or maintained EIFS system, which allows moisture to collect between the sheathing and the insulation board is likely to cause damage to your home. The bottom line; do some investigating of your own before you build or buy a home with a synthetic stucco exterior insulation finish system.

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