WHAT IS EIFS?
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.
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.
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.