Our professional and objective visual examination of over 400 items in a home educates and informs our clients of a home's features or any areas requiring future attention. Our reports are 40-60 pages in narrative style with explanatory photos and details. At the beginning of every report, a break-out summary of items recommended for repair or attention is listed.
Have a synthetic stucco home or EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finished System) home or building considering for purchase? We offer skilled synthetic stucco moisture intrusion inspections with expert restoration or maintenance protocols detailed and/or accomplished under our oversight.
Considering or in the process of having a new home built? We offer inspections for every phase of construction or for only a final inspection of the new dwelling.
Have a home with a stone veneer, technically known as ACMV (Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer) and are concerned about its installation or current condition? We can help with inspecting and diagnosing any issues and recommending or overseeing any restoration procedures.
Roof leaking or ongoing foundation leak that has confounded contractors for years? Call Finegan Inspection Services and get answers with our expert moisture intrusion inspections and analyses.
A whole home inspection is a professional, objective visual examination of the condition of a home . The inspection will educate and inform the client regarding a home's positive features as well as any areas recommended for future attention. We also explain how to best correct any possible defects that are discovered.
The home inspection is designed to reduce the risk of a home purchase by providing valuable information to a prospective buyer, thus aiding in the purchase decision as well as offering peace of mind with that decision.
The inspection report is limited to the condition of the home at the time of the inspection. Compliance with local codes is commonly excluded, except for safety items. While there is no absolute standard definition of a 'major' defect, many consider this to mean $500-$1000 or more to correct the item. The term 'defect' is most often used to describe an item that is not functioning or is not serving its useful purpose as intended.
Pricing is offered after looking at a home online. Fees for whole home inspections, such as and including condominiums, begin at $300. Termite inspections, radon testing, or mold testing are additional services which can be added to any home inspection.
A complete home inspection includes:
Exterior Insulated Finished System, or EIFS, was developed in Europe after World War II as an efficient and beautiful means of cladding the exterior of homes and buildings. Also commonly referred to as 'synthetic stucco', this unique and lovely finish entered the American commercial market market during the 1970's before its introduction into residential construction.
Synthetic stucco, when applied and installed correctly, presents a beautiful exterior finish while providing ample interior insulative dividends. The stucco itself is comprised of three layers; insulation board, base coat, and finish coat.
Essentially, an EIFS inspection is a detailed and documented inspection of the synthetic stucco exterior cladding. Following EDI (Exterior Design Institute, or www.exterior-design-inst.com) protocols, moisture readings are taken under all doors and windows, wall penetrations, and any decking. All results are documented and photographed for compilation into an easy-to-read report. Initially, moisture readings are taken using a surface meter, called a Tramex meter. If an area is found to consistently register with a high moisture reading, then it is probed, using a Delmhorst probe. The minute holes created by this probe are immediately patched with a matching or clear caulk making the probe insertion points undetectable.
Because the EIFS inspection is a 'hands-on' inspection, our time onsite is normally from 2-4 hours. Generating the report, which will incorporate recommendations and estimates for any suggested repair and restoration protocols, normally requires an equal amount of time.
All homes are quoted individually. Fees begin at $250 for an onsite visit and inspection. We are happy to offer a quote after looking at the home online or if specific details, such as square footage and how much of the home is clad in synthetic stucco, can be provided.
There are several terms that are most often used when discussing an EIFS system. The term EIFS, for example, is an acronym for Exterior Insulating and Finishing System. The system’s material is often referred to as Dryvit because one of the largest manufacturers of this type of exterior system is Dryvit Inc. However, there are dozens of other manufacturers of EIFS systems and dozens more who manufacture other related components used in the application of the various EIFS systems. Please find below a glossary of the most often used terms when discussing an EIFS system.
AESTHETIC JOINT: This is a joint in the surface of the EIFS that is installed for appearance reasons. It is not intended as an expansion point in the EIFS surface.
ATTACHMENT SYSTEM: The materials used to secure the EPS boards to the substrate. These can be either an adhesive type or mechanical fasteners. They serve to resist gravity, and wind suction and shearing effects due to EIFS thermal movements; thus keeping the boards secured to the walls.
BACKER ROD: Around virtually all windows, doors, and other wall penetrations, there must be a gap of approximately ½” in which a flexible closed-cell type of foam plastic rod is inserted into the joint cavity at a specific distance from the outside face of the joint. This is accomplished prior to the application of the caulking so as to provide proper expansion and contraction and limit the depth of the sealant application.
BACK WRAP: This is the process of bonding the base coat to the face of the substrate at the ends of the EPS boards. All EPS boards need to be sealed with a base coat at the ends where they are exposed or interface with another surface.
BASE COAT: This is a cementitious coating that is applied to the expanded polystyrene board exterior surfaces. The EPS boards are secured to the substrate on the walls/ceilings prior to base coat application. The base coat adhesive is mixed with Portland Cement and is applied in a thin, continuous layer to the EPS board. While the base coat is still wet, reinforcing mesh is embedded into the base coat.
BASE FLASHING: At the bottoms of some window systems and doors as well as at deck and awning installations, there are flashing systems that are recommended by some manufacturers of some EIFS systems. These may also be referred to as PAN FLASHINGS.
DIVERTER FLASHING: At locations where lower roofs intersect the vertical plane of a wall surface at the eave line, there must be a specific type of flashing installed at the intersection location of the eave and the wall. This flashing looks like a bent “L” on its side. It is installed prior to the EPS board installation. The intent is to push roof water away from the wall surface and into the gutter. Because this area is a significant water entry point behind the EIFS systems, the diverter must be accomplished properly so as to direct water away from the EIFS surfaces.
EIFS: The entire “system” of expanded polystyrene boards, attachment systems, fiberglass mesh, base and finish acrylic co-polymer coatings, and all flashings associated with the application of the products is known as Exterior Insulating and Finishing System.
EIMA: An acronym for the EIFS Industry Members Association. The companies that produce and install the various products in the EIFS industry created this association. The association establishes uniform minimum standards relative to the product installation specifications of the various components that compose the EIFS system. EIMA standards are recognized industry-wide by all professional installation contractors and suppliers.
EPS BOARD: Expanded Polystyrene boards that are secured to the substrate of the building either mechanically or with an adhesive, which are then covered with a fiberglass mesh. The foam boards form the base of the EIFS “system”. They should be properly sanded and the joints have specific allowable tolerance. There should be no exposed edges or surfaces on any EPS board in the EIFS system.
EXPANSION JOINT: Because of expansion and contraction cycles as well as thermal and wind sheer characteristics on the EIFS system, there must be specific expansion and contraction relief joints in the EIFS system. The location, size, and profile of the various joints is critical to the overall performance of the EIFS system. The lack of an expansion joint, or an expansion joint that is improper in terms of width or depth, can damage the EIFS system and make it vulnerable to leakage.
HEAD FLASHING: Above windows and doors there are “head” flashings required in some EIFS systems. The specific manufacturer of the EIFS system will detail the need for and the type of as well as the installation of the head flashing needed. It is not required in all applications, but recommended.
LAMINA: The exterior “coating” of an acrylic co-polymer that is troweled to a specific texture and color which is intended as the outside “shell” of the entire EIFS system. The lamina expands and contracts with the specific heat and wind and other “stresses” placed on its surface. It is intended as a weather-tight barrier system in most EIFS installations. Cracks or holes in the lamina are water infiltration access points and must be professionally repaired.
PB SYSTEM: The PB system stands for Polymer-Based system. There are several other types of EIFS systems such as Polymer-Modified and Direct -Applied systems. Type PB are the most common place and consist of adhesively-attached, expanded polystyrene insulation and glass-reinforced synthetic surface coatings.
REINFORCING MESH: This is the woven fiberglass that is applied over the EPS board in a specific methodology so as to provide stability and strength to the EPS board/lamina interface and to the EIFS system as a whole. It is embedded into the base coat adhesive and the joints are overlapped. It should not be exposed at any location.
SUBSTRATE: This is the exterior building surface to which the EIFS is applied. It could be oriented strand boards, plywood, cement board, or other approved materials. The substrate is the surface to which the EIFS adhesive bonds, not the wall structure itself. This is an important distinction.
SEALANT: The caulking applied to the various gaps in the EIFS systems caused by wall penetrations such as, but not limited to, windows, doors, vents, and expansion joints. Most are wet applied and must be carefully installed. These are the areas of highest EIFS system failures. The products are often silicone-based with one or two parts urethanes and some with polysulfides. Many sealants require a bonding primer applied to the joint cavity prior the application of the sealant.
While a new construction inspection can be conducted at any point during the home construction process, we recommend inspections be conducted before backfill of the foundation, before the drywall is installed, and immediately before closing on the home. Other inspections, such as an inspection of how the brick is being installed on the home, can be added.
The foundation, footings, the drain tile and bottom plumbing are inspected. These areas are scrutinized for workmanlike installation practices and general construction techniques. Concrete core sampling or slump testing is not a part of this foundation inspection process, nor will a site evaluation or soil compaction be attempted. Site conditions that are applicable to the water drainage and the conditions of the sump pump drainage and footing drainage are a part of the inspection parameters. Additionally, general site conditions and surface water drainage will be observed and reported.
The predrywall inspection includes the framing systems, and the mechanical rough-ins for the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems. It also includes a floor joist inspection for types of materials, material conditions, installation techniques, and any cuts or holes in the materials or span/spacings. All framing conditions for construction and installation in all wall areas are inspected.
The final inspection, conducted ideally one week at least before closing, includes:
Prices are quoted on an individual basis for all the various construction inspections offered. Fees for a final inspection begin at $350.
ACMV stands for Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer. This material is a man made “stone” that is applied to the exterior walls using a wire mesh and cement-based adhesive. This “faux stone” has become a very popular exterior façade on many homes in the southwestern part of Ohio in recent years. While the material and related components are safe to apply to residential and commercial building exterior facades, there are critical installation requirements that must be followed to insure that no moisture can access behind the ACMV material and/or the drainage system that is incorporated into the ACMV system. There have been many ACMV systems that Finegan Inspection Services, Inc. has inspected over the past 26 years. While many of these ACMV systems are functioning properly, there are also many that have been installed incorrectly and/or have caused moisture damage to windows, doors, or exterior wall assemblies.
The ACMV inspection is an inspection of the installation as well as a moisture inspection of the stone veneer. As with EIFS, both the Tramex surface moisture meter as well as the Delmhorst probe are used in the inspection. All results are documented and photographed, and all findings compiled into a detailed and easy-to-read report. If an area is found to be recommended for improvement, suggestions and estimates for the accomplishment of this work can be listed in the report.
All fees are quoted individually. Pricing is dependent upon how much stone is to be inspected.
ACMV: The entire Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer “system” of a man-made stone material made from concrete. The attachment systems are a wire mesh that is secured through felt paper against the substrate. There is a base coating of a cement based concrete over the mesh. Once the base coating has dried, the stone is adhered to the base coating using a modified cement material. Things like caulking and flashing systems associated with the application of these systems are defined in the installation instructions by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers draw a line at these related components as to their responsibility for the correct or incorrect installation of those components.
ATTACHMENT SYSTEM: The materials used to secure the stone to the substrate. These could be mechanical fasteners such as staples that are designed for this material. Stainless steel is the most common type of staple used. Staples resist gravity, wind suction, and the shearing effects of thermal movement so as to keep the mesh secure to the walls.
BACKER ROD: Around virtually all windows, doors, and other wall penetrations, there must be a gap of approximately ½” in which a flexible closed-cell type of foam plastic rod is inserted into the joint cavity at a specific distance from the outside face of the joint. This is accomplished prior to application of the caulking so as to provide proper expansion and contraction and limit the depth of the sealant application.
BASE COAT: This is a cementitious coating that is applied to the expanded wire mesh surfaces. The wire mesh is secured to the substrate on the walls prior to base coat application. The base coat adhesive is mixed with Portland cement that is modified with specific polymers and is applied in a thin, continuous layer to the mesh. When the base coat is cured, (24 hours is normal time), the ACMV stone has a thin layer of cement applied to the back side of the stones and these are then pressed into place on the base coat surfaces.
BASE FLASHING: At the bottoms of some window systems and doors as well as at deck and awning installations, there are flashing systems that are recommended by some manufacturers of some ACMVsystems. These may also be referred to as APRON FLASHINGS.
DIFFERENTIAL EXPANSION: All exterior walls have some type of covering, (called the building envelope), to keep water and weather away from the interior of the wall structure. Often times the exterior components vary and are made of different materials. These different materials have physical properties that allow them to expand and contract with the heat and cold temperatures at different rates. Where two different materials intersect, (i.e., brick and ACMV), the expansion and contraction differential of the building components must be taken into account when installation of the ACMV is considered. There must be some type of allowance built into the installation of the various materials at their interesections in order to compensate for the different expansion rates, while simultaneously keeping water and weather out of the wall assemblies.
DIVERTER FLASHING: At locations where lower roofs intersect the vertical plane of a wall surface at the eave line, there must be a specific type of flashing installed at the intersection location of the eave and the wall. This flashing looks like a bent “L” on its side. It is installed prior to the ACMV installation. The diverter, (also known as a kick out” flashing), design is to push roof water away from the wall surface and into the gutter. Because this area is a significant water entry point behind many wall envelope surfaces such as ACMV and EIFS systems, the diverter must be installed properly so that it can successfully direct water away from the wall surfaces and into the gutters.
DRAINAGE SYSTEM: There is intended to be a drainage gap between the back of the ACMV and the face of the substrate. These systems were designed to allow water to “drain” behind the ACMV system and not be trapped against the substrate. If the felt paper is not backed up with a house warp of if there are gaps in the felt paper, water access can occur.
END DAM FLASHING: Where there is an opening in the ACMV material to allow a horizontal flashing installation, there should be a vertical termination at the ends of the horizontal flashings. This is done to contain any horizontal water flow behind the ACMV at these terminations that may be caused by wind-driven rain. An end dam is mostly discussed when referring to a roof system or deck ledger flashing system.
EXPANSION JOINT: Because of expansion and contraction cycles as well as thermal and wind shear characteristics on all building envelope systems, there must be specific expansion and contraction relief joints. The location, size and profile of the various joints are critical to the overall performance of the ACMV system. The lack of an expansion joint at the intersections of the ACMV with other materials will make the system vulnerable to leakage.
HEAD FLASHING: Above windows and doors there are “head” flashings as often required in modern ACMV systems. It is not required in all applications, but recommended. At the ends of any head flashings, an end dam is usually a modern requirement
LEDGER FLASHING: At most locations where a deck is attached to an exterior wall that has an ACMV system, there always should be an L-shaped flashing installed at the location where the ledger board attaches to the house wall. The ledger flashing must be installed prior to the ACMV installation. It is installed above the ledger board and is intended to capture any water that may get behind the ACMV and to drain it safely way from the wall. This ledger flashing often needs an END DAM at the horizontal termination points.
PAN FLASHING: Under all doors a drain pan system should be installed between the top of the sub floor and the bottom of the door threshold. This is generally known as a pan flashing. It can take multiple forms---from a membrane that is formed into a proper shape to a metal-soldered profile. The exterior door is set into the rough opening of the wall and is set into this “pan”. This pan that has upturned sides and the interior side is also turned upward so that the pan can capture any moisture that may drain around or below the door and direct that moisture out of the door threshold area to the exterior.
SUBSTRATE: This is the exterior building surface to which the ACMV is applied. It could be oriented strand boards, plywood, cement board, or other approved materials. The substrate is the surface to which the steel mesh is secured to the wall structure.
SEALANT: The caulking applied to the various gaps in the systems caused by wall penetrations such as, but not limited to, windows, doors, vents, and expansion joints. Most are wet applied and must be carefully installed. These are one of the areas of highest system failures. The products are often silicone-based with one or two parts urethane and some with polysulfide. Many sealants require a bonding primer applied to the joint cavity prior the application of the sealant.
SILL DRAIN: In recent years, the development of components to aid in the restoration of the ACMV has been developed by various companies. It has been proven that most windows and doors leak water at the bottoms of the units. This is called the sill. Because many systems do not have a drainage system behind the surfaces, the water that leaks from the windows or doors, often times becomes trapped between the back of the felt paper and the wall substrate. The way to prevent this from occurring was the development of a hard plastic material that is approximately 1” thick and is slightly wider than the window opening. The walls below the windows or doors are cut open and the framing is notched so that this component can be set into the area below the window. The door, on the other hand, must be pulled out and then re-set. When the drain is installed under a door, it is called a pan flashing. It captures water under the door and drains it out of the wall. It works on the same principle as the SILL FLASHING that is placed under windows.
Weep Screed: A weep screed is a horizontal water drainage collector located at the bottom of the ACMV. It is installed prior to the installation of the ACMV. It is normally vinyl or aluminum and is secured to the bottom of the wall framing into the sill plate of the exterior wall. The purpose is to collect water that may have gotten behind the exterior surface of the ACMV material and to drain it safely out of the wall assembly. It is required by all companies that manufacture ACMV.
We conduct roof inspections of all different sizes and styles of roofing materials, from shingles to tile or slate.The inspection focuses upon:
Roof inspection fees begin at $150
Finegan Inspection Services has over 25 years of experience in diagnosing the how and why of recurrent leaks and in detailing the procedures necessary to fix most any moisture intrusion issue, even those that have previously evaded repair.
Moisture intrusion inspections begin at $150 and include an onsite visit as well as a short report listing our findings and recommendations for repair.
Commercial inspections cover a variety of issues, from the parking facilities and the condition/composition of the pavements and walkways to the overall structure of the building or multi-family apartment units. Items inspected are:
Reports are detailed in 'punchout' style with photos and explanations of numerically listed items recommended for repair or improvement.
Terry Finegan is a graduate of Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, and has a Master's Degree in Administration from the University of Dayton. He has excellent hands-on experience from his years as a custom builder and remodeler, and is very conversant with area building codes and regulations. Having originally trained as a teacher, he is always happy to educate future buyers as to the features found on their prospective residential purchase.
Finegan Inspection Services was founded in 1992 and subscribes fully to the codes and ethics recommended by the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI is an organization whose home inspection protocols are nationally recognized and accredited. Terry has been a full member of ASHI since 1994. www.homeinspector.org
Finegan Management and Consulting (FMC) was established to oversee, coordinate, and warranty (our MP2 warranty) repairs and restoration of EIFS. FMC repairs follow the Exterior Design Institute (EDI) protocols and standards. EDI www.exterior-design-inst.com is the premier national authority for coordinating and disseminating synthetic stucco information, as well as for setting standards for application and repair methodologies of real or synthetic stucco. Terry is certified by EDI as a Level II inspector.
Both Finegan Inspection Services and FMC work to partner with home or building owners or prospective owners in protecting the future of their investment decisions through thorough inspections, communicated knowledge, and detailed reporting.