Posted by Admin on January 26, 2011
One of the primary reasons that EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems) has been targeted by insurance companies and cities is because of “failures” it has experienced around window and door openings. The problem lies primarily with improperly installed caulking failing (i.e. the wrong type being used), an integral part of all projects that no one specific sub-trade seems to want to take responsibility for. The result of failed caulking was water intrusion, leading to mould growth – which is harmful to occupant health and can lead to further damage to the building structure. The failures that resulted were not worse than other sidings like hardie board, vinyl, T-111 – but because of the drastic increase in the use of EIFS in new construction and renovations and lack of proper installation procedures, certain projects have received widespread attention.
What can be done to help prevent this moisture entrapment issue? The best ways to ensure that new construction and renovation projects avoid trapping moisture is to ensure that the modern EIFS installation procedures from the manufacturer are followed – that is; proper drainage using vertically channeled adhesive and grooved insulation boards. On older installations, home owners should be checking their caulking every couple of years to ensure that cracks and delamination is not occurring. By ensuring that the caulking is sealed between two points, you are eliminating any chance of moisture getting in behind the EIFS and causing rot, mold or decaying situations.
Caulking will ideally need to be replaced roughly every 10 years. This seems to be the time period between the new installation of low-modulus sealant (caulking) and when it tends to crack or delaminate to the point where moisture has the opportunity to enter and cause problems. If the caulking reaches the end of it’s life before the 10 year mark, it should be removed and fresh caulking reinstalled in it’s place. While caulking is not specifically the role of the stucco trade, ensuring that it is in good condition will help prolong the life of your stucco cladding.
There aren’t an unlimited number of caulking colours, but you can usually find one to match your stucco wall colour closely. For additional information or help on your new construction or renovation project, contact us.
Posted by Admin on January 29, 2009
Sources of Heat Loss: 35% Walls, 25% Windows, 25% Attic, 15% Basement
Heat is lost or gained in various ways from a home, and every home is different. Generally, on unrenovated homes, 35% of a home’s heat dissipates through walls, 25% through windows and doors, another 25% through the attic and finally 15% through the basement. It is for this reason that money is best spent on insulating your walls before other renovations.
An 80%-90% reduction in heat lost through walls (which isn’t at all uncommon with EIFS) results in 25-30% overall energy savings, more than 100% of windows/doors or the attic! Compare this to a 70-80% reduction you might see in replacing your windows and it’s obvious where your money is going to make the most difference.
Posted by Admin on November 4, 2008
When planning other renovations alongside EIFS, a few things need to be taken into consideration. Some renovations are directly affected by the stucco, such as windows and soffits, while others such as landscaping may be directly in the way of the stucco application. Knowing this in advance can help you avoid costly delays and more particularly, costly fixes down the road.
Many homeowners will look at replacing their current windows with “Energy Star Qualified” windows simultaneously with EIFS when bitten by the “Green Bug.” This is actually the perfect time to do so. Once your wall is coated with a thermal barrier, your windows may become the source of greatest heat loss on your home. Window replacements NEED to be done BEFORE replacing your siding. In order to properly maintain a countinuous weather barrier, the EIFS applicator will need to tie their transition membrane directly from the trowel-applied weather barrier onto the window frame itself. Once the stucco is applied, this is no longer a possibility without removing a section of EIFS from around the window and patching it. This would require refinishing of the whole section of the wall surrounding the window so that the patch is not noticeable – which can be quite expensive.
Soffits should be removed prior to EIFS installation. The new wall cladding should extend up, beyond the soffit, and the soffit should be re-attached directly into the EIFS. You can tell when the homeowner was too lazy to do this because the raised portion of the accordion-fold soffit contains no EIFS behind it. Aside from this aesthetic disturbance, it may also potentially allow rain to penetrate up and behind the wall with a gust of wind. Some homeowners have opted to fill this gap with backer rod and caulking, which although still not technically correct will cover up the problem.
Landscaping should be completed AFTER your cladding replacement. The applicators need to place scaffold around the walls they are working on, and the scaffolding will need to rest on planks (per WSIB regulations.) This means anything under the planks is being effectively “squished” for a few days; however, there is some flexibility on where the scaffold (and planks) sit with the use of scaffolding outriggers. Let’s not forget the mess rasping insulation leaves — any previously planted vegetation will receive a light dusting of styrofoam, whereas anything planted afterwards can cover the styrofoam. This isn’t so bad — loose styrofoam is a great soil fill material as it is hydrophobic and allows for better drainage.
The Bottom Line
You may want to save a little more so as to proceed with all the renovations together, in the correct order as they compliment one another well. By replacing your windows BEFORE EIFS you’ll double your “Green” efforts and ensure your windows may be properly tied into your new weather barrier (just don’t forget to cover them when installing EIFS!). Replacing or atleast temporarily removing your soffit will allow for a countinuuous cladding and help keep rain out of your wall. Lastly, nothing goes with a new cladding like landscaping to drastically change the look of your home and make it really stand out. All your neighbours will wonder how you a built a new house so fast and professionally.