Of the 74 homes currently for sale in the Washington Corridor/Rice Military area in Houston almost 70% of those homes are stucco. There are special considerations when buying a home constructed with stucco in a humid climate.
· Is the home synthetic stucco (referred to as EIFS but pronounced EFIS)? Synthetic stucco proved problematic and has fallen out of favor, but you should get confirmation from the inspector that the stucco is concrete and not synthetic. If you are relocated through your work, be aware that some companies won’t extend relocation benefits to homes built with EIFS.
· Should you get a stucco inspection? I believe a stucco inspection is always in order. There are several types of stucco inspections: visual, air quality and invasive.
o A visual inspection will only tell you if there are cracks, visible mold/mildew or efflorescence – not what is behind the stucco.
o Air quality testing can tell you if there are elevated levels of mold or moisture in the structure but again not exactly what is behind the stucco.
o An invasive stucco inspection is the most complete, and requires the sellers to sign a release before the buyers’ inspector can proceed. It involves drilling small holes about the size of an ice pick into the stucco all the way to the substrate. It will determine moisture levels of the substrate and if the wood is rotting. If it’s determined there is rotting wood behind the stucco, the repair isn’t inexpensive and it’s an expense most buyers want the sellers to absorb prior to closing.
· Will you keep up with the ongoing maintenance required for stucco? If you want a home with minimal upkeep a stucco home might not be the right choice for you. You will need to do your own visual inspections a couple of times a year and take proper measures to insure there is no visible mold and mildew or efflorescence. If you find even hairline cracks you will need to have further professional investigation.There are a number of websites that have great information on stucco upkeep, so Google away. If you are buying new construction, the recommended upkeep should be a part of the information you get from the builder.
Click here if you are interested in buying a home near Memorial Park – stucco or not.