Thursday, September 13, 2007

EIFS Pros or cons.

What are the pros and cons of an exterior insulation and finish system? 
Cladding a building with an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) offers many benefits. For starters, it updates the appearance of a tired looking building, which entices renters to want to live there. It also reduces heating requirements, increasing the potential for profitability for the owner. Installing insulation on the exterior of masonry buildings leverages the thermal benefits of the massive masonry walls. This dampens the temperature fluctuations seen by the masonry and leads to energy-saving costs over time.
The main drawbacks are the need to recoat and maintain the system, and installation problems that result in leakage. However, installation problems can be avoided. A proper EIFS installation will shed water and be sealed at the windows and other wall penetrations so that leakage doesn’t occur. When an EIFS is applied over top of a solid masonry wall, the durability of the masonry system can usually deal with minor leakage, particularly with today’s drained EIFS cladding installations. But, as with any large repair or renovation, it is worth the cost to have a seasoned consultant specify and design with proven products, and then then to have the cladding installation reviewed by an experienced contractor. Quality products, used in a good design and expertly installed, will minimize the risk of future performance issues.
Contact Modern Wall Systems for your next EIFS or stucco project.


Phil said...

This could possibly be the most misinformed piece of rubbish I have ever read.

If anyone is interested in facts, do yourself a favor and visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology web site ( and look into the BEES version 4.0 software. It is a free download from a well-respected government source. If you bother to look into the facts, you'll find that EIFS is actually far more environmentally-friendly than stucco over the full 50-year life cycle of the product. In fact, when you look at carbon emissions (the thing that creates so-called global warming) over the full life cycle of the products EIFS emits about 6 times less CO2 than stucco. By any measure in the NIST life cycle analysis EIFS is a better environmental product than stucco over the full life cycle of the product.

I won't even get into the moisture issue. There are more wood-framed stucco buildings suffering from catastrophic moisture and mold damage than another cladding out there. The system inherently cracks and moisture easily gets trapped and rots the sheathing and framing.

Anyone who thinks stucco is a better cladding alternative than EIFS is on drugs.

Modern Wall Systems said...

National Institute of blah, blah, blah,blah...carbon this, government that. The last thing property owners need is more bureaucratic crap. Besides, stucco is the oldest wall cladding system in the history of mankind.

As to the .gov site, who gives a shit? What people want is a home with exceptional curb appeal that won't deteriorate in a couple of years.

You too are very biased and fail to look at the issues realistically.

EIFS is great and is far better than hard-coat stucco in some areas, but the fact of the matter is that if applied directly to wood, your building would eventually rot.

The main thing you are missing in your spiel is that although traditional stucco inherently cracks,(as you put it) the structural integrity of the building is not compromised because of secondary moisture barriers, ie. tar paper, Tyvek and the like.

EIFS as we all know was slapped directly onto wood framed buildings with some glue crap, and rarely had moisture barriers.

With the advent of waterproofed substrates such as Durock and Densglass EIFS became an improved product almost overnight.

Stucco said...

Modern drainage EIFS systems can be installed without any problems over wood sheating/framing with a proper trowel-applied weather barrier.

People seem to be either "EIFS SUCKS" or "EIFS IS THE BEST" but rarely differentiate between the different types. Does barrier EIFS have it's issues? Yes. Has Dual-Barrier/drainage EIFS solved those problems? Yes. Whoever wrote the original article made no such differentiation and is on a holy crusade to instill fear into whoever he can convince to listen to him. There's no need for this. Instead, people should be educated as to proper installation procedures for EIFS and the differences they make.

EIFS is really a great cladding, there is just so much misinformation and people who know nothing about it crying wolf, and presenting their confused knowledge as facts.