Exterior insulation and finish systems, or EIFS, are proprietary wall cladding assemblies that combine rigid insulation board with a water-resistant exterior coating. EIFS are popular chiefly for their low cost and high insulating values, and they are used in a range of construction types, from hotels to office parks to multifamily housing.
Unlike traditional stucco, which is composed of inorganic cement-bonded sand and water, EIFS uses organic polymeric finishes reinforced with glass mesh. As an energy-efficient, economical wall covering, EIFS can be effective for both new construction and recladding applications.
However, successful use of EIFS is highly dependent on proper design and sound construction practices. Without correct design and detailing, EIFS wall systems have been known to fail dramatically.
This course discusses the six elements of an EIFS wall assembly; common EIFS failures and how to prevent them; and EIFS and sustainability.
After reading this article, you should be able to:
• Describe the components of a typical Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) and differentiate among the classes of EIFS in terms of materials, properties, and usage, so as to evaluate existing systems and specify EIFS for new construction.
• Identify signs of distress in EIFS wall systems and associated sealant joints, flashings, and accessories, applying principles of EIFS construction to deducing the underlying causes of premature failure.
• Apply green building codes and standards to the design and specification of EIFS, implementing updated energy code requirements for continuous exterior insulation, so as to meet or exceed standards for building envelope thermal regulation and moisture control.
• Implement maintenance and repair practices to address staining, impact damage, punctures, cracks, and other signs of injury, using appropriate strategies that comply with industry standards, manufacturers’ requirements, aesthetic goals, and the client’s restoration objectives.