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  1. #1
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    Question Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Today's inspection was new construction with stucco siding. I don't inspect that many new homes with modern stucco siding. This stucco has foam insulation board behind it and metal flashing at bottom edges. The stucco has expansion joints in some areas and above some windows. It does not sound as hollow as some of the older EIFS that I have seen in the past. But it's not solid concrete stucco, at least that's not what I would call it. I know that there has been many improvements with EIFS and other synthetic stucco systems.

    Just wanting to know how to best describe this to my client. I plan on calling it "Synthetic Stucco" and just leaving it at that, but I want to make sure I am describing the siding correctly.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Was the metal flashing solid? Some installtions employed a gutter or drainage system with venting across the bottom to wick out any moisture.
    The product and idea has always been good. It was the execution that was the problem.
    But depending on who you talk to, no stucco is good stucco.
    I disclaim it every time.

    JLMathis


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Hard to tell from your photos, but from your description, I think it may be stucco on frame with applied foam trims (in essence EIFS trim).

    I would not call it "Synthetic Stucco" as that puts a name to it, like saying "One Coat Stucco" would.

    You stated: "This stucco has foam insulation board behind it and metal flashing at bottom edges.", does that mean there is insulation board behind *all of it* or are you just referring to that trim around the bottom?

    Scott Patterson has seen a lot of EIFS, maybe Scott can add some additional (or different) information.

    The overall look is almost too smooth and flat for "stucco", looks more like an EIFS finish.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Hard to tell from your photos, but from your description, I think it may be stucco on frame with applied foam trims (in essence EIFS trim).

    I would not call it "Synthetic Stucco" as that puts a name to it, like saying "One Coat Stucco" would.

    You stated: "This stucco has foam insulation board behind it and metal flashing at bottom edges.", does that mean there is insulation board behind *all of it* or are you just referring to that trim around the bottom?
    Yes I could see foam insulation at the bottom edges of walls not just on the foam trim. This looks like a real nice installation and flashings and details look good. Should I just call it Stucco and not bring up the typical EIFS disclaimers.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Should I just call it Stucco and not bring up the typical EIFS disclaimers.

    No, from your description it could be either.

    I would refer to it as stucco/EIFS and point out the things you found which indicate each, point out what you found wrong for each, then write it up for a stucco/EIFS contractor to verify the installation and address the items you have listed.

    I'm not sure which it is from your description, and your photos do not clearly show it either, so cover both bases and let the stucco/EIFS contractor determine which items you have written up are okay and which are not.

    I would not want to 'not' call it EIFS if it is, likewise, I would 'not' want to call it EIFS if it is not.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    How about this, get qualified to identify the various stucco/ Plaster/EIFS system out there, or don't inspect them at all. You are doing your clients, not to mention the installers in your area a disservice in guessing. Admit it, posting 3 pictures to a website(and crummy ones at that) and asking "what do you guys think?", doesn't lend your "business" much credibility now, does it?
    The finish is definitely a synthetic product. You can't get a worm finish like that in regular cement based mixes. That does not mean the system is EIFS, only that the finish coat is an acrylic product. The base could be hardcoat plaster, but more likely, a thin-coat stucco product, since there is foam visible under the weep screed. It still could be plaster, but installing 3-coat over foam is not common around here, but might be where you're at since they get a lot more rainfall in the NW.
    Here is an idea, at the control joint locations, slip a razor knife blade between the edges of the screed, and measure the depth of the screed, if it's greater than 1/2", you probably are looking at 3-coat plaster, 1/2" or less. thin coat stucco.
    Does this help? No, because you obviously don't have enough knowledge about it to make a reliable determination. Please do us all a favor and get educated, or get a professional to confirm what you are looking at.
    Your turn JP.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    John, I may not be the most experienced when it comes to all of the different types of stucco systems and installation techniques on the market, but I do know that it's a synthetic EIFS type of stucco. Keep in mind that many improvements have been made with synthetic stucco EIFS etc. This home is brand new and there are no visible problems with the stucco and all installation details look very good. All I was asking for was for a little more information about modern stucco methods.


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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Your turn JP.

    John,

    My turn?

    Okay.

    Posts such as yours just shows arrogance and chest puffing with no intent to be helpful.

    If your intent is not to be helpful, why bother posting ... oh, right, so you can show your arrogance and chest puffing ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Really hard to tell what it is just from the pictures. If it does not have that typical hollow sound like you find with EIFS, it could be a DEFS cladding or even a proprietary system that was designed by the contractor that put it up.

    With the distance that it is standing off from the foundation, it looks like it could be built with a concrete backer board type product (DEFS). I have been seeing more and more of that lately. This along with the metal screed along the bottom, I'm thinking that this might be this type of install.

    Next time you come across something like this try and remove an electrical outlet cover, an intercom cover or anything that might allow you to see the makeup of the wall.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 03-28-2009 at 09:40 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Yes I could see foam insulation at the bottom edges of walls not just on the foam trim. This looks like a real nice installation and flashings and details look good. Should I just call it Stucco and not bring up the typical EIFS disclaimers.
    I missed this post that talks about seeing the insulation board.

    If you can see insulation foam, then the system is not installed properly.

    It sounds like this might be a drainage system EIFS. The foam should be backwrapped with the fiberglass and then covered with the basecoat. This is why you should not see the foam, if it is installed properly.

    Try to findout what type/brand system was installed. Look around for product buckets, containers, etc. What color foam and mesh color can help to ID a product. Look at other homes that are being built.

    Every single manufacturer will have detailed installation guidelines for their products. They do not differ very much if at all from manufacturer to manufacturer and can be used with just about anything you find.

    If it has foam insulation under the base and finish lamina is it is technically EIFS.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    JP-
    Thanks for taking the bait, I was beginning to think you didn't care...


    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post

    If it has foam insulation under the base and finish lamina is it is technically EIFS.
    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
    Scott, get a grip. Technically, DAEFS is EIFS, no foam there! Just because there is a substrate that is insular in performance does not mean the system is EIFS.
    I have done 3-coat plaster over 1" foamboard because the owner wanted the extra R-Value, Does that mean the wall system is EIFS??
    NO! You can also see the foam with a mirror looking up thru the weep screed. Does that mean it was installed incorrectly? You might have a few manufacturers lawyers after you on that statement in a report.
    You usually stay above the fray, but on this one, you are wrong.
    Sign me disappointed.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    JP-
    Thanks for taking the bait, I was beginning to think you didn't care...
    Similar to me hoping ... hoping ... you would actually give a good and creditable answer so we could learn from you and what you say you know, but, alas ... 'twas not to be.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
    Scott, get a grip. Technically, DAEFS is EIFS, no foam there! Just because there is a substrate that is insular in performance does not mean the system is EIFS.
    Funny, I have never heard of DAEFS. DEFS is the proper term that is used in the profession for Direct Applied Exterior Finish System. I would have thought that you would known that. DAEFS is usually used by folks who do not know any better.

    I have done 3-coat plaster over 1" foamboard because the owner wanted the extra R-Value, Does that mean the wall system is EIFS??
    No, what you did is not EIFS it is a proprietary system. EIFS by definition has insulation board, mesh, base, and finish coat. You should know this.


    NO! You can also see the foam with a mirror looking up thru the weep screed. Does that mean it was installed incorrectly?
    Possibly and most likely. The backwrap should go around a good inch or two. But, as you and I both know the bottom backwrap is usually the least of the problems with a system.

    You might have a few manufacturers lawyers after you on that statement in a report.
    You usually stay above the fray, but on this one, you are wrong.
    Sign me disappointed.
    That is the beauty of free speech, opines and manufacturers specifications. It is very difficult to get into trouble when you present factual information in a logical manner that is backed by the folks who make the product.

    John, I deal in written specifications, facts, experience, knowledge of viewed systems, performance statistics and not based on what I have done as an installer; or my emotions about the product or the profession that makes or installs it.

    For years EIFS has been used as a catch all for any system that is not stucco. One good reason that I recommend using the term "artificial stucco" if it is not the real stuff.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 04-01-2009 at 08:11 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    I give up, you guys are hopeless.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Trent,

    I do not post much, I enjoy reading most posts. I am a EIFS inspector in South Texas., and a HI as well. Do more EIFS than anything. Type V, R1-R4 construction. Jerry and Scott hit on some similar ideas that are correct.
    The building code in your area....should specific the type of system. 2003 started addressing EIFS systems and then 2006 took it further.
    Looks like foam shapes near the columns, but then again, could be wood. many different patterns can be done.

    If you feel there are more in your area, go to the manufacturer websites for the various systems. All residential construction is "supposed" to have a water managed system. You then get into the installation of the water-resistive barrier.

    The EIFS systems have not changed much in 40+ years, only the install method. EPS board, mesh, cementious base coat and acrylic top coat. The improvements have been in the fenestrations, pentrations, flashing installation. The expansion joint is not typical in EIFS. Looks more like a reveal. Expansion joint, as well as all openings should have a backer rod and sealant. Yours looks like a reveal, which is only a cut grove, partial in the board, yet covered with all components. Drainage systems are to have weep screeds at bottom of boards, no backwrapping. The EIMA website has some good documents.

    Steve


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Funny, I have never heard of DAEFS. DEFS is the proper term that is used in the profession for Direct Applied Exterior Finish System. I would have thought that you would known that. DAEFS is usually used by folks who do not know any better.
    Funny, I have never heard of DAEFS, Only Direct-Applied-Finish-Systems (DAFS). Potato vs. po-tah-toh my friend. Different manufacturers call their crap different things. Don't get so high handed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    No, what you did is not EIFS it is a proprietary system. EIFS by definition has insulation board, mesh, base, and finish coat. You should know this.
    The man was making the same point you are making, in case you missed his rhetoric.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    That is the beauty of free speech, opines and manufacturers specifications. It is very difficult to get into trouble when you present factual information in a logical manner that is backed by the folks who make the product.

    John, I deal in written specifications, facts, experience, knowledge of viewed systems, performance statistics and not based on what I have done as an installer; or my emotions about the product or the profession that makes or installs it.

    For years EIFS has been used as a catch all for any system that is not stucco. One good reason that I recommend using the term "artificial stucco" if it is not the real stuff.
    Agreed on that last part. It's not EIFS if it can't be warranted as EIFS by the manufacturer. Actually, I refuse to really call anything EIFS that hasn't been certified/warranted by the manufacturer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Meyer View Post
    If you feel there are more in your area, go to the manufacturer websites for the various systems. All residential construction is "supposed" to have a water managed system. You then get into the installation of the water-resistive barrier.
    This is correct. Actually, all new EIFS installations SHOULD be DB (dual-barrier), which includes the stucco applicator taking responsibility for the weather barrier. Barrier-EIFS is a thing of the past, and unfortunately some people are still applying it because it is cheaper and easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Meyer View Post
    The EIFS systems have not changed much in 40+ years, only the install method. EPS board, mesh, cementious base coat and acrylic top coat. The improvements have been in the fenestrations, pentrations, flashing installation. The expansion joint is not typical in EIFS. Looks more like a reveal. Expansion joint, as well as all openings should have a backer rod and sealant. Yours looks like a reveal, which is only a cut grove, partial in the board, yet covered with all components. Drainage systems are to have weep screeds at bottom of boards, no backwrapping. The EIMA website has some good documents.

    Steve
    Close. The products have changed a lot. New science behind the finish coat, base coat, etc but you're right the biggest change is in installation practices with regards to penetrations. Expansion joints are require by ALL EIFS manufacturers, and it is impossible to tell by that last picture whether it is just a reveal as Steve said, or if it's a properly done expansion joint. Drainage systems ARE to be backwrapped so as to cover the insulation and mesh with basecoat, but it doesn't mean it is to be tied into the substrate. Weep screeds and flashing can still be used if the product is backwrapped.

    What I would do is track who the installers and manufacturer was, and find out if the contractor bought the proper materials to do the job, as well as what their reputation is with the manufacturer. If the system sounds less hollow when you tap on it, it may just be thinner styrofoam.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    JIM,

    A couple of notes

    In Canada, do you follow the IBC? EIFS in the US falls under that. EIFS can be applied to buildings that do not have an applied weather barrier. The eifs becomes the weather barrier. This can be found on the ICC ES reports section. The new 2009 code has some additional notes in section 1704 as to the eifs that it did not have before. Too early to tell what the local reviewers will decide.

    sm


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Jim,

    Are you a HI or a certified EIFS inspector.

    sm


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Stucco/EIFS Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Meyer View Post
    JIM,

    A couple of notes

    In Canada, do you follow the IBC? EIFS in the US falls under that. EIFS can be applied to buildings that do not have an applied weather barrier. The eifs becomes the weather barrier. This can be found on the ICC ES reports section. The new 2009 code has some additional notes in section 1704 as to the eifs that it did not have before. Too early to tell what the local reviewers will decide.

    sm
    Nope, Canada has it's own National Building Code (NBC): National Building Code of Canada 2005 - NRC-IRC
    However, each province and even city has their own version of it. I am not aware of EIFS being consider "the weather barrier" however most architects up here would balk at the idea.

    I have heard much about the inclusion of EIFS and further detailing in your IBC, and would be interested in a link to these additions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Meyer View Post
    Jim,

    Are you a HI or a certified EIFS inspector.

    sm
    Neither my friend. Not yet anyways. I've personally project managed 30+ commercial and residential EIFS projects (just the EIFS aspect), from providing recommendations to architects on system design to inspections to getting the warranty. All my knowledge comes from working alongside the sales reps for the manufacturer, and ensuring their requirements are met for the warranty to be provided. I don't do it any more (I'm a sales rep for the detail/moulding supplier now), but the manufacturer's reps are the go-to guys for architects, city inspectors, etc, and it was a great learning experience

    It seems some people here go bananas over little residential projects, try not just inspecting, but managing the quality assurance on 20,000 square foot commercial projects EVERYTHING has to be spot on for them to pass, because on EIFS projects that size, a small detail missed everywhere can cause the entire cladding to have to be ripped off and replaced.

    One thing to look into is the QAP (quality assurance program) being implemented by EIFS manufacturers in Canada (eifscouncil.org is the Canadian equivalent of EIMA).


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