What is EIFS?
EIFS or Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems are systems that are said to provide continuous insulation. Acting as an exterior wall-cladding system, an EIFS is non load-bearing and involves attaching a foam insulation board either mechanically or
through the use of adhesives to the underlying layer of a building; in addition to applying a base coat that is reinforced and then applying a protective finish coat that is textured. In layman’s terms, an EIFS is an exterior finish that is multi-layered.
Another term for an Exterior Insulation Finish System is “synthetic stucco.” It differs from traditional stucco because EIFS is, essentially, a surface finish that is simply applied to an insulation board, which is then attached to sheathing of some sort. Its use began in Europe following World War II when there were a significant amount of buildings that were damaged during wartime. It worked well for buildings in Europe that were typically constructed using stone, brick, concrete, or similar materials; this translated to builders in North America using the same kind of system on wood-framed houses.
While Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems worked for buildings made of stone or concrete, wood-framed homes require additional steps in order to manage moisture. The foam insulation board used in an EIFS will trap moisture behind its various layers; this then attacks any wood sheathing or framing. This inability to rid the area of moisture results in toxic mold or dry rot; two problems no homeowner wants on his or her hands.
If your home has an Exterior Insulation and Finish System, it is important to watch for signs that it may be malfunctioning. Seeing mold or mildew on your home’s interior or exterior, seeing wood that is “swollen” around any window or door frames, and/or experiencing paint that is bubbled or peeling are all indications that you may be experiencing a problem with your EIFS.
There are newer and more up-to-date EIFS that include a drainage system as a way to keep any moisture from becoming trapped. Making sure that your EIFS has a secondary drainage system is crucial if you want to avoid any problems down the line. The good news is that an EIFS can be replaced or updated. If you suspect that you have an EIFS problem on your hands, contact Lifetime Remodeling Systems to set up a time for us to come inspect your home and to receive a bid regarding replacing your current EIFS.
This client wanted to update their 1970's Lake Oswego home opening up the spaces, and modernizing the main living area.