Hardcoat Stucco Inspection Guide


The International Standards of Practice for inspecting the Exterior is located at www.nachi.org/sop.


Hardcoat stucco installation over wood:

  • Wood wall sheathing
  • Moisture barrier
  • Metal lath
  • Scratch coat
  • Brown coat
  • Color coat

Hardcoat stucco installation over masonry:

Operations 1-3 are omitted. The scratch coat is installed directly on masonry. Brown and color coat are then applied.

Around windows:

  • Casing is installed leaving a ¼” gap between casing and window;
  • Scratch and brown coats stop at casing;
  • Gap is filled with backer rod and then caulked;
  • Color coat is installed to window (covering casing and caulk line).

Generally, conditions are correct on the right side and incorrect on the left side.


Improper conditions at window opening:

  • No backer rod
  • No caulking

Lath is oriented with long axis vertical instead of horizontal.


Strands on the long axis of the expanded metal lath are tilted slightly so that they provide support for the stucco. This benefit is lost when the long axis is oriented vertically.

  • Missing drainage plane;
  • No weep screed at lower terminations (above or below roof);

Stucco should have weep screed installed that will allow any moisture that finds its way behind the stucco to drain, and that will help prevent pest entry into the area behind the stucco.

  • No window head flashing;
  • Improper transition to stone (vertical and horizontal);


Flashing should be installed to separate stone from stucco.

Dryer vent trapped by stucco.

Replacement will require stucco repair.

Inadequate clearance from grade.

Stucco should terminate a minimum of 4” above grade. This said, in many, many places, it is installed to- or beneath grade with no problems visible. If you mention inadequate clearance from grade in your report, you will have to back up your report with manufacturer’s recommendations- which alone is difficult- and the seller and both agents will have powerful arguments contradicting your report, and it will probably cost you work with no gain to you.


  • Poor termination at soffit;
  • Inadequate clearance from shingles.

A minimum 1.5” gap should be left between stucco and roof–covering materials.


  • No kickout flashing.