Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are multi-layered exterior wall systems that are used on both commercial buildings and homes. They provide superior energy efficiency and offer much greater design flexibility than other cladding products.

Developed in Europe in the 1950s, EIFS were introduced in the U.S. almost 40 years ago. They were first used on commercial buildings, and later, on homes. Today, EIFS account for nearly 30% of the U.S. commercial exterior wall market.

The growing popularity of EIFS is due to the fact that few, if any, competitive materials offer such a wide range of desirable product benefits. Chief among these are superior energy efficiency and virtually unlimited design flexibility.

Energy Efficiency

EIFS literally wrap the exterior in an energy-efficient thermal blanket. By insulating outside the structure, EIFS reduce air infiltration, stabilize the interior environment and reduce energy consumption.

Flexibility of Design

The rich appearance of EIFS bears a resemblance to stucco or stone, but the systems are far more versatile than these and other materials. Not only do EIFS come in virtually limitless colors and a wide variety of textures, but they also can be fashioned into virtually any shape or design.

Some Concerns

In the mid-90s concerns arose over the performance and reliability of EIFS. As many EIFS homes were inspected, moisture intrusion and resulting damage to sub-sheathing and framing was frequently discovered. Many theories have been given regarding this issue, ranging from misapplication of the EIFS materials, improper joining of EIFS with other components (such as windows, doors, and flashing), and defective construction materials-- to an all out condemnation of EIFS.  Because EIFS is easier to inspect it has naturally come under more scrutiny than most other exterior finishes.  In most cases, our experience has been that the failure of EIFS systems is due to improper construction techniques and not of the material itself.  A Certified Moisture Warranty Contractor can work from an EIFS inspection report to assure your home or building is free from vulnerabilities to moisture intrusion and the resulting damage.  See our Links page for recommended EIFS inspectors in our area.

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