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  1. #1
    Scott Dana's Avatar
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    Default Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    What have you guys found are the best ways to tell the difference between hardcoat stucco and EIFS? I have heard that you can find an inconspicuous corner and try and see what is behind the stucco (wire mesh, etc,). There must be a better way and would appreciate your input. Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Take a screwdriver and poke the siding. If the screwdriver pokes a hole in the siding, it's EIFS.
    No really.
    Tap on siding with the handle,
    sounds hollow- EIFS
    sounds solid- hardcoat
    There are probable beter ways to determine.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Dana View Post
    What have you guys found are the best ways to tell the difference between hardcoat stucco and EIFS? I have heard that you can find an inconspicuous corner and try and see what is behind the stucco (wire mesh, etc,). There must be a better way and would appreciate your input. Thanks.
    EIFS can be dented and not hurt to badly (your knuckle, that is).

    Trying to dent hard coat stucco is going to be rough, real rough, on your knuckle.

    If you use a screw driver instead, with hard coat stucco you will just grind away at it, with EIFS the screw driver will poke right in.

    Is that a good way to describe the difference (for you guys and gals who find EIFS)?

    Also, with stucco, you can rap the wall and find the studs, with EIFS, I doubt you can.

    Talking about hard coat stucco as being 'stucco on frame '.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Some one in the past mentioned try to poke a hole with an awl. If it works they carry a tube of caulking and seal her up.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    What color of caulk do they carry?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    I do not remember the post exactly but it is an awl hole. Not a shotgun blast.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Banks View Post
    I do not remember the post exactly but it is an awl hole. Not a shotgun blast.
    Still, though, you would be creating a hole in the surface of the structure, not something HIs should go around doing.

    I used the screw driver to illustrate 'what the difference would feel like', not 'as something to go around doing'.

    Sure, when we probe for rotted (decayed) wood, our probe goes into it, but it *was already* rotted (decayed), meaning that we (the HI) did not damage it. Poking holes in the EIFS of a house will only make an already bad situation worse.

    I can just see the complaint come in: "My EIFS inspector told me my house walls were rotted out, and that it looks like some HI went around poking holes in the EIFS with a screw driver or an awl. The damage inside the walls *WOULD NOT BE AS BAD* if not for those holes."

    Can you spell 'l-i-a-b-i-l-i-t-y', followed by 'b-i-g t-i-m-e'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Jerry. What can I say your a master of exaggeration.
    My comment mentioned one whole. Where did you get the HI going around poking holes? I would think the Liability would be a lot more if Scott failed to identify the EIFS than one tiny caulked hole. I actually posted the awl thing to get some feedback as around here I have only run across EIFS twice and wondering if this is an option. Obviously you say no.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    David
    Not coming down on you, but why make a hole at all. If there was no other way except to probe with an awl then OK, but it's just not needed.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  10. #10
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Not needed by you or Jerry who live in Stucco land. But not for people in other parts of the country. Scott asked for a reason. He is not always sure.
    EIFS is not something you want to miss identify.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    I typically just press on the material in question with the rounded handle end of a screw driver. As a general rule if its spongy when pressed its an EIFs. If the surface does not give at all then its hardcoat. (A very slight "give" may be an acrylic topcoat over hardcoat stucco.)

    I've never damaged an EIFs or a hardcoat system using this method and have never mis identified the type of wall...that I know of .

    Watch out though for the hybrid wall systems that use both hardcoat and EIFs in selected areas! Those that I have encountered had hardcoat stucco in the field of the walls but used EIFs for accents around windows & doors and for other architectural embellishments such as ribbons and crowns.



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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    "Jerry. What can I say your a master of exaggeration.
    My comment mentioned one whole. Where did you get the HI going around poking holes?"

    Hmmmm ... did you read *MY* post above?

    This is what I said "If you use a screw driver instead, with hard coat stucco you will just grind away at it, with EIFS the screw driver will poke right in."

    I did not want, in any way, shape or form, to "imply" that one should go around jabbing a screw driver in to see if it was EIFS - that would NOT BE GOOD.

    Got it now? *I* am the one who said what could be taken the wrong way.

    "I would think the Liability would be a lot more if Scott failed to identify the EIFS than one tiny caulked hole. I actually posted the awl thing to get some feedback as around here I have only run across EIFS twice and wondering if this is an option. Obviously you say no."

    Obviously.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Banks View Post
    Not needed by you or Jerry who live in Stucco land. But not for people in other parts of the country. Scott asked for a reason. He is not always sure.
    EIFS is not something you want to miss identify.
    I think that if you went around tapping on it and everyplace sounded 'hollow' and was somewhat 'soft' (as Phillip described), you would recognize EIFS.

    If you went around tapping on it and it sounded not-quite-solid, you could tap on it where you know there would be, should be, a back up stud - aligned with a door or a window. There, the not-quite-solid sound would change to a more-like-solid sound. Like tapping on drywall to find a stud. You can typically get close.

    If the entire thing sounds solid, then you would have stucco on masonry or concrete.

    Another way would be (I think, I have not seen much EIFS at all) to check the bottom edge along the foundation - stucco would end in a weep screed (should anyway) or you would see plywood or OSB (if they did not install the weep screed - the total thickness might be 1/2" for the sheathing and 1/2" for the stucco (I know, it is supposed to be minimum 7/8" for the stucco, but who does that?), whereas EIFS would be much thicker, and soft, and may even have the foam core exposed - EIFS would be that same first 1/2" sheathing, then maybe an inch or more for the foam core insulation, then a thin finish.

    Anyone with EIFS experience want to comment on my descriptions, and make them better and more accurate as needed?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    I've only seen EIFS on hospitals. As already stated, push on it with your finger/back of pen and it will give. Also tap on it and it has a hallow sound, as already stated..

    In the hospital, the EIFS are in large sections that have *control joints* (for lack of a proper term) that are caulked in between which also is a dead giveaway in my opinion.

    HTH


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Thanks guys, this turned out to be a very interesting discussion, and a big help. Now if I can just find my hammer drill to check the siding...


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    My first choice is to look at the drip (bottom) edge - A mirror works well for this. Like Jerry said, you can often see the polystyrene (white foam board) and often you will see some plastic mesh ( the color of the mesh may also identify the EIFS system manufacturer) Those are indicative of EIFS. I also may remove the cover from an exterior receptacle. Tapping on the wall surface may give you a clue - I like to make sure. Another clue is that you may find buckets of material (stucco mix) somewhere on the property (garage). The material is usually left to perform repairs when required. The drip edge view usually works for me. Make sure you are looking at the main section of the wall - not the accents/trim areas.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Richard has told Y'all the best way to trying to discover if it is EIFS or Stucco.

    Once you see the difference and inspect a few systems it is fairly easy to spot EIFS from the street driving by at 45 mph!

    I have been preaching for years that home inspectors should not be scared of EIFS clad homes. If you are inspecting residential construction you should know how to inspect EIFS. It does not take special equipment to see that it is installed improperly. Yes, it does take a good moisture meter to see if you have moisture in the wall. It is no different than inspecting for moisture in the wall of a house that is clad with brick, vinyl, wood, etc. Y'all do check for moisture in all homes under the windows and other penetrations, don't you? I'm dumbfounded at the number of folks who do not check for unseen moisture problems in homes. Moisture problems are the #1 reason that home inspectors are sued.

    With a normal home inspection (for a buyer) on a home that has EIFS, you are not performing an in depth EIFS inspection. You will not be probing the walls. You are looking for installation problems. Lack of sealants at penetrations. Lack of or improper flashing (same as any other cladding), and just improper installation. Once you learn what it is suppose to be like, it is no different than inspecting a home with Brick. Brick and Stucco clad homes can have many problems that you can not see, just like EIFS.

    IMO, all home inspectors should have a moisture meter like the Tramex Moisture Encounter to scan walls, floors, etc. You will be amazed at what you have been missing once you start using one.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  18. #18
    William Brady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Remember stucco installed over wood can sound hollow. Look down at the bottom of the wall to see the mesh, EPS panels and draingage if it has one. Take off an outside light and look in to see the same as above. If your not sure drop me a line and will be happy to talk it over. One other thing look for silicone sealant around the windows you should have a half inch joint all around the window. That's EIFS.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Hybrid?

    Jim Luttrall
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    As stucco inspector If attempting to identify stucco. Remove exterior outlet or light fixture.

    Now as HI I choose not to I.D. as EIFS or hardcoat just sate stucco, being I have seen several types of systems.

    IE what would you call EPS attached to poured concrete?

    Or OCS one coat system. Direct parge to CMU

    And as to spoting EIFS from the road good luck must be some poor finishes.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip O'Brian View Post
    As stucco inspector If attempting to identify stucco. Remove exterior outlet or light fixture.

    Now as HI I choose not to I.D. as EIFS or hardcoat just sate stucco, being I have seen several types of systems. EIFS is not stucco

    IE what would you call EPS attached to poured concrete? EIFS ON POURED CONCRETE

    Or OCS one coat system. Direct parge to CMU ONE COAT ON CMU

    And as to spoting EIFS from the road good luck must be some poor finishes. Some of us are just real good at DRIVE BYS
    Report what we see and what we don't see!

    Mirror works well

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Hey Fritz here is what I know about your question. Here in the northeast I have not seen a home or commercial application where hard coat has an installed over an EIFS system. Not a bad idea however, and it does provide a good drainage plane behind. As a home inspector I would not identify it except to say it's stucco period. As an EIFS inspector however I would tell the home homeowner it's an EIFS system installed over stucco just as you said. I would inspect it as if it was EIFS. A visual would include looking at the sealants, backwrapping, drainage, ect just as you would do for any siding. But that's as far as I would go as a HI. EIFS is another inspection. Another price, another report, another insurance question in case you make a mistake. Some would disagree with this I suppose but think it through before you make any comments in your HI report concerning EIFS.

    Bill B


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Pardon me if any or all of this has been said.

    Take off an exterior outlet plate and look at the edge of the sheathing material. If you see expanded or extruded polystyrene or insulation board, it is some form of EIFS. You can also ususally see the type of substrate or sheathing to which it has been applied.

    Look at the bottom of the system. You will either see a weep screed or not. If not, it is likely EIFS. If EIFS, and back-wrapped, the bottom edge may look like the face of the system. If not back-wrapped, it will be exposed insulation board.

    Here's where it gets a might sticky for the untrained. Drainage-type EIFS will have a perforated bottom channel that resembles the weep screed in a hard coat system. The difference will be that the EIFS channel is plastic and the weep screed is metal. Usually.

    Add to this the fact that there are literally hundreds of legitimate and illegitimate systems out there to help confuse you. So, call for an expert. You cannot and should not try to know it all. Defer, defer, defer.

    Aaron


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    The difference will be that the EIFS channel is plastic and the weep screed is metal. Usually.
    I usually see plastic screeds, weeps, and control joints used for hardcoat stucco.

    A few jobs still use metal, but the galvanized coating scratches from the trowels, leaving the metal to show rust as soon as it gets damp and starts to oxidize (which does not take very long).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    They say a pictue is worth a thousand words..... anyone got a picture of each to show the difference?


  26. #26
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    Talking Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I usually see plastic screeds, weeps, and control joints used for hardcoat stucco.

    A few jobs still use metal, but the galvanized coating scratches from the trowels, leaving the metal to show rust as soon as it gets damp and starts to oxidize (which does not take very long).
    Jerry:

    That's why I said "usually". In Florida I'm certain that galvanized anything doesn't remain so for long in your humid, briney air. The only salt concentrations we have in North Central Texas are on the rims of our margarita glasses.

    Aaron


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    The only salt concentrations we have in North Central Texas are on the rims of our margarita glasses.
    So ... that's why Russell was in Texas?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Charlie,

    Here are a few examples.

    There are installation defects and or damage in all of these.

    Drainage EIFS
    Exposed sto mesh
    Heavy Monterey stucco w/surface caulked counter flashing
    Stucco absent weep screed

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    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  29. #29
    William Brady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Good photos Barry. If I were reporting I would say that in the third photo to have a kickout installed. I just got back from a trip to Southern New Mexico and at this point I am tired of looking at stucco. It's all over the place down their. Mostly hard coat but now some of the builders are advertizing EIFS homes as a selling point.


  30. #30
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    So ... that's why Russell was in Texas?
    Jerry:

    After living her for 55 years I feel I can safely say that margaritas and TexMex are the only really good reasons for anyone to be in Texas.

    Aaron


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Fritz,
    There has been an ongoing discussion, even within the industry, on the proper nomenclature used to describe stucco/EIFS/plaster systems. In my opinion, the term Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is used improperly to describe many stucco and hybrid systems. Suffice to say we won't settle it here. But I do have a rule of thumb I try to adhere to.

    Stucco = any exterior thin coat(3/8" to 1/2") cementitious coating applied over framing, metal or wood on a lath and foam base that doesn't exceed 1-1/2" total system thickness(VB, foam, lath, base coat & finish coat), or applied to a CMU or PIP concrete wall where the system thickness does not exceed 1/2-5/8". Trims would typically be zinc or galvalized sheet steel. All corners must have metal lath, metal corneraid or cornerbeads. The foam and lath base is always mechanically fastened to the substrate. A cementitious finish coat, sometimes tinted with color paks is then applied in a variety of patterns. Typical finish patterns associated with both stucco and plaster are Lace, Skip trowel, Sand float, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Smooth, and Dash. There are others but these would be most typically seen.

    Plaster = 3/4" to 1-1/4" thick cement, lime & sand mixtures installed over VB, & lath in separate scratch, brown and texture coats and may also, but not commonly, have a foam insulation base over framing, metal or wood. Interior applications can be installed over drywall(old),rock lath(older) or wood lath strips(ancient). Trims used would typically be zinc or galvanized sheet steel. Metal corner accessories would be used as with Stucco above. Finishes would include all the ones listed above, as well as veneer interior Italian style finishes such as Marmorino and Venetian.

    EIFS = A thin veneer coat(1/8"-3/16" thick) of an acrylic/polymer modified base coat, sometimes mixed with cement, installed over fiberglas mesh tape and netting over varying thicknesses of aged foam board, usually 2' X 4' in size and ranging from 3/4" to 6" in thickness. Trims would typically be plastic, or zinc veneer .093 drywall control joints(usually seen only in ceiling assemblies). Corner reinforcement is usually only the fiberglas netting, but can be plastic cornerbeads. Rustication lines or other designs may be cut into the foam before the netting and base coat is applied. In any case, there is usually no metal trim left exposed. The foam may or may not be mechanically fastened to the substrate. All exposed foam must be completely encapsulated with base coat. (The picture posted above with the mesh and foam exposed at the bottom would be a red flag.) The VB/drainage system may or may not be present, depending on the age and type of system used. The finish coat usually consists of a polymer modified acrylic or elastomeric emulsion mixed with varying sizes of artificial aggregate, and tinted to the desired color. It is always supplied in buckets and applied directly out of the pail with a small amount of water added to help with workability. They are always applied with a hard steel or plastic trowel, never sponge floated. All penetrations through the system would require a caulk compatable with the manufacturer of the system.

    There are other items and conditions applicable to each system but I'm just going for the big picture here.


    Now to the hybrids...

    Stucco with acrylic or elastomeric finish = Base coat system as described under Stucco above, with the finish described under EIFS above. This should NOT be described as an EIFS system.

    Plaster with acrylic or elastomeric finish = Base system as described in Plaster above, with the finish described under EIFS above. This also is NOT an EIFS system.

    Direct Applied Finish Systems(DAFS) = Base coat described under EIFS above directly applied to Fiberglas faced or regular drywall withfiberglas mesh and an EIFS type finish. No foam is used in this type of system. This usually is seen only in ceiling applications. It is not recommended where direct rainfall would occur.

    Most EIFS in the SW is installed in commercial market applications, but there are a few residential applications out there. Stucco comprises the majority of production and custom homebuilding, at least in the Phoenix & Tucson markets. Residential plaster is still very common in California and Nevada, but mostly in the commercial market here in Phoenix. The custom residential market is where there is a lot of Stucco with acrylic or elastomeric finish used. Most supply centers will have sample panels of the various systems available to see and touch, you might stop by a few of them to get a better feel of what they would look like in the field.

    Some will never accept these definitions as listed here, and I really don't care, the fact remains they are out there and we need to have a common language and terminology to describe them. How's this for a start?


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Stucco = any exterior thin coat(3/8" to 1/2") cementitious coating applied over framing, metal or wood on a lath
    "Stucco" has a required MINIMUM THICKNESS of 7/8" over non-solid substrate (framing) and a required minimum thickness of 1/2" over solid substrate (masonry or concrete).

    EIFS (Exterior Insulation ... (remember that part) ... Finish System) has the "insulation" on the "exterior", and is a "finish system".

    The idea behind EIFS is that you move the dew point (at the inside the insulation or somewhere within the insulation) *outside* the building, thus any condensation formed is not *in* the wall but *outside* the wall.

    Once you insulate the stud cavity, with the correct temperatures inside, outside, and within the wall, and with the correct RH inside the wall, you will get the dew point *IN* the wall, that's not a 'good thing', that a bad thing. When that happens, the insulation in the wall (example of fiber glass batts) will be will become saturated with moisture.

    Sorry if I got sidetracked, but EIFS is, plain and simply, an "insulation system" applied to the exterior of a structure on which the finish is applied. Without insulation, it is not an EIFS system. It may have a decorative cementitious coating similar to that used on an EIFS system, but that does not make it an EIFS system.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Wow, that's it? You must be under the weather again...I was expecting a diatribe. You may be losing it.


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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "Stucco" has a required MINIMUM THICKNESS of 7/8" over non-solid substrate (framing) and a required minimum thickness of 1/2" over solid substrate (masonry or concrete).

    So are all "one coat stucco" products mislabeled?? Get up to speed, this is a clear way to delineate these two products. If all inspectors call all hardcoat systems stucco, then there is no way to actually describe each very different system. We think in language, and having specific meanings tied to specific words is part of that. Years ago, there was no stucco, it was all called plaster. An simple way to define the product is needed.

    EIFS (Exterior Insulation ... (remember that part) ... Finish System) has the "insulation" on the "exterior", and is a "finish system".

    The idea behind EIFS is that you move the dew point (at the inside the insulation or somewhere within the insulation) *outside* the building, thus any condensation formed is not *in* the wall but *outside* the wall.

    Once you insulate the stud cavity, with the correct temperatures inside, outside, and within the wall, and with the correct RH inside the wall, you will get the dew point *IN* the wall, that's not a 'good thing', that a bad thing. When that happens, the insulation in the wall (example of fiber glass batts) will be will become saturated with moisture.

    Sorry if I got sidetracked, but EIFS is, plain and simply, an "insulation system" applied to the exterior of a structure on which the finish is applied. Without insulation, it is not an EIFS system. It may have a decorative cementitious coating similar to that used on an EIFS system,
    I'm not sure you have the theory about "moving the dewpoint" correct. In any cladding system water vapor must be allowed to migrate through the wall. EIFS allows this migration, as does all properly installed stucco. The key is to design the system so that any condensation appears on the outside face of the vapor barrier where it can be managed, either through the drainage plane or transpiring through the stucco system.
    Also "decorative cementitious coating" should not be used to describe an EIFS type of finish, as there is no cement in the finish coat. Some EIFS base coats do not contain cement either, but they are specialty use products...


  35. #35
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    For those of you who have not seen or do not see much EIFS it is also important to note tha the "barrier" application of this system is inherently defective. Not my words (though I certainly agree), but NAHB:

    http://www.aaronsinspections.com/NAHB%20on%20EIFS.pdf

    Of course, they are not the only ones, but think of it. NAHB goes out of their way to protect the builders. If the product does not have a huge body count, they will stand behind it. Speaks volumes about barreri EIFS.

    Aaron


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Aaron,

    Do you have a list of any local EIFS/stucco repair contractors you are willing to share?

    adairinspex@adairinspection.com

    Thanks in advance!

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  37. #37
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    Aaron,

    Do you have a list of any local EIFS/stucco repair contractors you are willing to share?

    adairinspex@adairinspection.com

    Thanks in advance!
    Barry:

    Of course, the repair contractors are the ones responsible for incorrectly installing the stuff in the first place. Judging from what I have seen - never one installed properly and always moisture intrusion - none of them are any good without v-e-r-y close supervision (picture: double-barreled 12 ga. to head of contractor, finger on trigger).

    The only outfit that I would even consider (with supervision) is:

    Synthetic Systems
    Mike Pittman or Sony Martinez
    P.O. Box 8
    403 S. Clark
    Rockwall, TX 75087

    Sorry, I don't have a number for them, have never talked to them, but have seen some of their repair work on homes I've inspected. Not too bad, they just need some direction when it comes to back-wrapping and termination at windows, et al.

    Aaron


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Nice link, Aaron, Everyone should have a copy of that.

    As a certified installer in the driest area of the country, outside of Death Valley, I have seen more than my share of poorly installed barrier systems. I believe the manufacturers were shortsighted in recommending a system without a VB and drainage system behind it when installed over wood frame substructures.
    The thing is, tho, these barrier systems need constant monitoring and upkeep of all penetration locations to prevent intrusion. It's easier to get that kind of attention in the commercial market than in residential applications. The average homeowner has neither the time or inclination to provide such monitoring, not to mention the expertise to determine if what he sees is even a problem in the making.
    Inspectors therefore, must be expert in determining first, the system in place(very difficult, without a lot of experience) and the level of maintenence that has been performed thus far on the structure. Most of the sealants approved for use with EIFS are typically not available at ACE hardware. The method of removing, cleaning, priming surfaces, installing backer rod, and properly reinstalling the sealants are far beyond the capabilities of the average homeowner. I would recommend that if any doubt arises as to the type of system present in a residential inspection, an expert be called in, the stakes are simply too high.


  39. #39
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    John:

    We are agreed on all you say. Some other points: ALL manufacturers require ANNUAL inspection by a professional inspector. None of the sealants are available at the box or hardware stores. None of the sealants will persist more than 7-8 years. None of the sealants should be applied by other than certified waterproofing contractors.

    The whole EIFS thing is a big copulation story. Of course STO never intended for it to be installed over wood products. Then, it was initially misrepresented as a "maintenance-free cladding" and under-documented by the U.S. manufacturers to the contractors and builders. Early installation instructions are both brief and specious and (now) almost impossible to locate.

    Even today, because installers work almost exclusively in the commercial sector where installations are not over wood frame construction, the systems are being installed as if there were no concern for moisture intrusion. It is not quite as critical to install everything according to Hoyle when you are installing the crap over concrete block or steel studs. So, they just slap it up like everything else nowadays.

    I'm not certain about other parts of the country, but here in the Great State of Texas (all rise) it is installed by (and this is a word coined by the current President of the U.S., so it must be alright to use it, right?) Hispanically.

    Those of you who are now sharpening your knives while looking up my address, don't bother, this was a shot at the little monkey who coined the phrase, not at those who resemble it.

    Adios,

    Aaron


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    In any cladding system water vapor must be allowed to migrate through the wall.
    You think I said otherwise? Where?

    Here, yet again, you seem to be responding to what you want and not to what was said.

    EIFS allows this migration, as does all properly installed stucco.
    I repeat the above - you think I said otherwise?

    The key is to design the system so that any condensation appears on the outside face of the vapor barrier where it can be managed, either through the drainage plane or transpiring through the stucco system.
    Yep, like I said, controlling the DEW POINT is critical. I don't recall saying anything about stopping water or water vapor.

    Where the water vapor turns into water ("condenses") is critical. Move the dew point as far to the exterior as possible moves that "condensation point" (the "dew point") as far to the exterior as possible, meaning that the condensation is no longer "within the wall".

    I just don't understand why you try to respond to posts without reading them first.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    EXCUUUUSE ME for trying to clarify the "dew point" issue with clearer language for those reading that may not be familiar with it.

    Anything else?


  42. #42
    Bruce Lunsford's Avatar
    Bruce Lunsford Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    "EIFS is not stucco"
    "[COLOR=#000000]EIFS is another inspection. Another price, another report, another insurance question in case you make a mistake.
    That is a very important statement. If you have not taken the EIFS course from EDI or other, you really have no business reporting on the condition. The liability is potentially outrageous on these. Many tens of thousands of dollars, possibly 100K or more.

    If you see EIFS, or suspect it is EIFS you really should recommend an EIFS inspection by a specialist, unless you are one of course.

    I could tell you of quite a few EIFS disasters I've inspected. They can get very very bad, mega disasters.


  43. #43
    Bruce Lunsford's Avatar
    Bruce Lunsford Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quote:
    EIFS allows this (moisture) migration, as does all properly installed stucco.
    I repeat the above - you think I said otherwise?

    No it doesn't. That is the main problem with EIFS, it traps water inside and does not let it migrate out.

    I very specifically remember this being strongly emphasized in the EDI course I took on EIFS inspections. Based on the many issues I've seen with it I can confirm that's true.


  44. #44
    Joseph Syracuse's Avatar
    Joseph Syracuse Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Trying to differentiate eifs from stucco is quite simple and very reliable, from one who grew up applying both finishes....father being a plasterer who also by the way ruined many weekends by making me work with him and thats why i became a carpenter as opposed to a plasterer. But the best way to differentiate is the tap on the product... distinct hollow sound vs stucco, Also you might want to look throughout the neighborhood and talk to some of the neighbors with like exterior similarities. You want to make sure that the corners and @ edges and bottom if there is no j-bead applied that there is no exposed foam that all edges are back-wrapped with the fiberglass mesh and there is nothing loose. Just look for good craftsmanship. Tim Moreilra mentioning control joints that are caulked are indicative of eifs??, Control joints are basically what they say they are... control joints when your applying base and finish coat you don't what the product to get away from you, meaning setting up from being a really hot day and basically completing 1 section at a time if your short handed. The only place there should be caulk is around doors,windows. WHEWW!! hope all that helped you. Oh 1 more thing it shouldn't be spongy....


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Bruce,
    I'm not quoting you here because I don't want to repeat something quite so uninformed. All EIFS systems cannot be lumped under that statement. Many systems have moisture drainage components that do not trap water. Please refrain from such "catch-all" descriptions. You do a disservice to the industry, not to mention showing your ignorance of the subject.
    Just because you took a course does not qualify you to expound on something that is beyond your experience or first hand knowelege.

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

  46. #46
    Rob Santana's Avatar
    Rob Santana Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Wow, this is truly amazing. Aaron you say that the contractors are the culprits? What exactly are you smoking? Don't you know that the specs are written by the manufacturers. The distributors supposedly train the mechanics in the ins and outs of the system in accordance with manufacturer specs? The builder hires the company to put the stuff on. builders probably get their list from the same folks that sell the stuff and who offer certification training. Incidentally, did you also know that the same folks training mechanics today were the same folks training people in the 90's when all hell broke loose in the EIFS industry. You know, EDI. AWCI, EIMA? If I were to take shots at someone I would start with the manufacturers and their lack of training initiatives offered by them. The Distributors are also to blame because, quite frankly all they are worried about is the bottom line. Lastly I would blame EDI, AWCI, and EIMA for knowingly putting out bad info and sitting idly by as EIFS was and continues to be slapped on wood all over the country.

    Bruce, leave the EIFS inspections to the professionals. It is people like you that I speak out against all over the net. Why? Well because you seriously think you are qualified to have an opinion, scientific or otherwise on EIFS. News Flash, 40 hours of classroom training does not make you a scholar. Listen, not to beat a dead horse but everyone in the industry knows that EDI, AWCI and EIMA are in it for the money. Trust me. I have close to two decades in the industry and I can name names, but I won't.

    Finally, anyone who thinks certification is needed to purchase EIFS is obviously out of touch with reality. The fact is a primate can buy EIFS.


  47. #47
    Blaine Illingworth's Avatar
    Blaine Illingworth Guest

    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    An EIFS topcoat is often used by lazy contractors who don't want to mix a consistant topcoat for hardcoat stucco. It is NOT approved by any major manufacturer for such use and will create huge problems with condensation and deterioration of the base coats. I have seen this too many times and the only repair is to strip off the system and do it right.
    Blaine


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    You might have a hard time convincing the EIFS topcoat manufacturers of that, since they all have their own hardcoat base product, and will warranty their topcoat over other base coat products, provided it is installed properly...

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

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Identifying hardcoat stucco & EIFS

    Quite an ignorant post, I must say. All EIFS topcoats are vapor permeable, that is they breath, and do not trap anything that a good quality paint would not also "trap".

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

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