Posts Tagged ‘EIMA’

EIFS Insulates and Controls Moisture Better Than Hardiboard, Brick, Stucco

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

The results of a Phase II U.S Depart of Energy study on EIFS (synthetic stucco) have been provided, and confirm what building professionals have known for years: EIFS insulates walls and manages moisture better than alternative building products including hardiboard, brick and (traditional) stucco. The study was done over the course of 3 years in the worst climate possibly — a mixed, coastal, Zone 3 (hot and humid) climate.

This puts EIFS as the front-runner for U.S President Obama’s stimulus package, which includes provisions to re-clad buildings with a more energy efficient siding. Add to these results the fact that EIFS is typically less expensive than alternative cladding products and has the widest range of design options (you can match ANY colour, there are multiple varieties of textures, and an unlimited possible designs via architectural mouldings), you have a clear winner among the siding options available for buildings today.

View EIMA’s executive summary of the study at:

EIFS Sales in Positive Trend (Chart)

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Ever since EIFS’ introduction into the US and Canadian market, it has been on an upward trend. Even with it’s problems through the 90’s it has countinued to climb in popularity due to it’s insulating value and vast range of design options. With the moisture issues formerly plaguing it now solved (and new research indicating it’s actually superior to alternative products), it’s reasonable to expect the trend will countinue and even intensify.

As an additional consideration, U.S President Obama’s plan to re-clad buildings to be more energy efficient as a part of the economic stimulus package will produce a spike in sales over the next decade.

A bar graph showing the positive trend in EIFS Sales over the years

A bar graph showing the positive trend in EIFS Sales over the years

EIFS Formally Approved for Inclusion in 2009 Building Codes

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) have been approved for inclusion in the 2009 International Building Code and International Residential Code (IBC/IRC). This news, announced during the recent International Code Council Annual Meeting and Final Action Hearings, follows results of a recent exterior cladding study by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Read the DOE summary here)

The findings demonstrate that EIFS (including EIFS with drainage) perform better than brick, stucco and cement fiber siding for achieving the key building performance goals of energy efficiency, temperature control and moisture control in mixed, coastal, Zone 3 climates.

For information, see the EIFS Industry Members Association Web site at


Renovating House Siding With Stucco: Substrate Considerations

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

On renovations and other non-new construction, the potential for hidden problems (read: costs) is always there. This holds particularly true in renovating your siding, where you never know what condition your substrate is in. Does this mean you should avoid the issue altogether? No. As they say: Kill the monster while it’s small, before it has the chance to become a full grown problem.

Replacing old Siding
You may be looking at EIFS for a multitude of reasons; saving money on your heating bill, damaged siding, or you may just be looking for a more modern look. A good portion of homes built in the 70s, 80s and even 90s used unattractive and incorrectly installed vinyl or board and batten siding. These days, not only is the siding considered retro and shows signs of aging, but in most cases it wasn’t properly sealed and may be covering serious rot and mold. The fact is you don’t know if the subdivision builder slapped the walls together as quickly and cheaply as possible, at a time comparable to medieval age in terms of knowledge about weather resistance.

Stucco Substrate Condition
In replacing your siding with stucco, you will be forced to take a good look at your substrate and it’s suitability for synthetic stucco siding. Any instance of mold or rot will need to be replaced before the trowel-applied weather barrier can be applied. The substrate is required to be free of surface contamination, including (not not limited to); dirt, form release agents, efflorescence, oil, chalkiness, and cracks greater than 1mm. Even in situations where the substrate is fine, it may not be approved to have EIFS applied over it. EIMA defines a suitable substrate as: “gypsum sheathing in compliance with ASTM C 1396 (formerly C 79), glass-mat gypsum sheating in compliance with ASTM C 1177 (Dens-Glass Gold® or BPB GlassRoc), and gypsum fiber panels in compliance with ASTM C1278 (Fiberock® Brand, Aqua Tough™)” and certain manufacturers such as Durabond have products for exterior grade plywood (which also acts as lateral bracing). Felt paper or building wrap is no longer recommended because it requires mechanical attachment, which penetrates the weather barrier, allowing moisture in. Certain substrates such as exterior-grade drywall (gypsum sheating) may also require lateral bracing between studs. Lateral bracing is used to prevent excessive horizontal movement and assist in absorbing wind loads transferred to it from the stucco wall. When in doubt, you may want to have an engineer look at your walls so as to avoid having your siding crack down the road. A final note is that most EIFS manufacturers require less than 1/4″ deflection per 60″ span (L/240) — a feat that a good portion of construction projects wouldn’t meet if measured.

Retrofiting Stucco with Brick and CMU
With brick and CMU (concrete masonry units), your sheating and cladding may not need to be touched at all. Brick contains an air gap between itself and the substrate — usually covered in a building wrap. This means that while you may need to level the brick face with basecoat to properly adhere the styrofoam, you need not worry about replacing the substrate, adding a drainage layer or the stucco causing moisture problems. Along the same lines, CMU construction can not rot or support mold growth and usually acts as a partial weather barrier (note: they usually have poly installed between the masonry and interior drywall.) In this case, the styrofoam may be applied directly to the CMU. Even on brick and masonry, it is a good idea to to have the drainage channel to prevent water from becoming trapped behind the EIFS cladding; and they still need to comply with sheating requirements (free of dirt, form release agents, efflorescence, oil, chalkiness, and cracks greater than 1mm.)

It’s important to realize that whatever is currently on your house will have an impact on how any siding replacement proceeds, and stucco is no exception. It is a good idea to have some extra money budgeted and an agreement with you stucco contractor as to what will happen in the event you run into unsuitable substrate. Stucco Contractors rarely do sheating replacement and you will likely need to find a general renovation contractor to do this before they can proceed. You will also need to have a large bin on site to dispose of your old sheating and substrate, or specify this as part of your general contractor’s job. In the case of applying stucco directly over brick or masonry, you may even be able to save some money because there’s one less layer to be applied.