EIFS (exterior insulated finish system) is a wall finishing system that has the appearance of stucco. It was developed in Europe over 40 years ago as an efficient way to insulate buildings from the exterior rather than from the interior.
While having the appearance of stucco, EIFS is actually a multi-layered system. The outer layer is an acrylic finish coat that acts as a water barrier, shedding moisture and protecting the inner layers. Behind this layer is a base coat with a fiberglass mesh embedded in it. This layer adds impact strength to the finish. The innermost layer is a one to four inch thick layer of insulation, usually expanded polystyrene. This layer adds the insulating factor, and it allows aesthetic joints and features to be added which adds depth to the siding.
You should be concerned if any of the following signs of problems are noted:
- Streaks on the exterior below the windows
- Mold or mildew on the exterior or interior walls
- Buckling in the surface of the cladding, wrinkled surfaces, and bulging
- Cracks or gaps in the surface of the cladding at the corners of windows, or horizontal and vertical lines anywhere on the surface
- Gaps around windows and door openings
It is highly recommended that you have a Sherlock Certified E.I.F.S. inspection to determine where the problem areas are and what maintenance or repairs may be needed. Lowell is certified by EDI ( Exterior Design Institute) to do EIFS Inspections. Check out Exterior Design Institute under our Links page for more information.
The problems with this type of siding occur when water enters behind the siding, causing hidden deterioration to the framing members. There may be hidden damage that is not visible on the surface. Moisture accumulates from the following:
- Improper installation methods—All manufacturers have product installation and specifications guides.
- Incorrect sealing at joints, around doors, windows, and wall penetrations
- Incorrectly sloped horizontal surfaces
- Inadequate flashing at rooflines, dormers, decks, fireplace chases, window frames, etc.
A Sherlock inspection identifies problems and offers solutions. Special non-invasive moisture meters are used to determine the locations of moisture behind the E.I.F.S. Then a second moisture meter is used to probe the substrate in the suspected areas to determine just how wet the area is and if there is need for concern.
Walls that have been continually subjected to moisture entrapment will continue to rot until the water entry problems are solved and the wall is allowed to dry out.
Delay can be very expensive due to hidden problems. Schedule your E.I.F.S. inspection before hidden problems become major structural problems.