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  1. #1
    SAL IACONO's Avatar
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    Default Insurance said this was EIFS

    I visited a friends house whos insurance was declined because they determined the exterior was EIFS. I went by and took a few pics which indicate traditional stucco. The house was built in the 40's block construction and was probably remodeled in the 80's. It appears they added some plywood over the block and attached lathing for the stucco. I was going to contact the insurance company and let them know what I found, but not sure how to word this appropriately. I would appreciate any help offered. Thanks

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  2. #2
    SAL IACONO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    sorry,
    the pics didnt upoad.....


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by SAL IACONO View Post
    The house was built in the 40's block construction and was probably remodeled in the 80's. It appears they added some plywood over the block and attached lathing for the stucco. I was going to contact the insurance company and let them know what I found, but not sure how to word this appropriately. I would appreciate any help offered. Thanks
    "It appears they added some plywood over the block and attached lathing for the stucco"

    "not sure how to word this"

    Stupid.

    Does that help?

    Before you contact them and tell them the above, you really need to verify that the plywood was installed over block - which makes no sense at all.

    Sounds like you have traditional three-coat stucco over frame, so I'm guessing the 'original house was block', but the 'remodeling and addition are frame'.

    Regardless, from your description it is not EIFS, it is, plain and simply, "stucco on block" combined with "stucco on frame". Nothing wrong with either *when done properly* (referring to stucco on frame with the "properly" part, it is a lot harder to do stucco on block where it creates a problem other than loose stucco areas), which, of course, you will not know.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
    SAL IACONO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Ok here"s what I have....would this be called traditional stucco?

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  5. #5
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by SAL IACONO View Post
    I visited a friends house whos insurance was declined because they determined the exterior was EIFS. I went by and took a few pics which indicate traditional stucco. The house was built in the 40's block construction and was probably remodeled in the 80's. It appears they added some plywood over the block and attached lathing for the stucco. I was going to contact the insurance company and let them know what I found, but not sure how to word this appropriately. I would appreciate any help offered. Thanks
    Sal: It is indeed EIFS. Eternal Insurance Fraud Syndrome.


  6. #6
    SAL IACONO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    funny!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Looks like stucco over frame to me.

    See that metal lath in the photo looking from the foundation up?

    The concrete you are seeing is the foundation, the metal lath is overlapped on to it, and the stucco does not look applied properly (but the photo is a bit fuzzy).

    I've not heard of EIFS having metal lath like that behind it.

    The close up of the cable penetrating through it looks like thick stucco with paper behind it.

    The photo with the walls overhanging the foundation like that, though, that looks like EIFS as typically stucco does not overhang that much.

    Not sure what the first photo with the yellowed expanding foam is showing unless that is a rusted/rusting out bottom track from metal stud base plate?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    SAL IACONO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    I believe you are correct on all accounts...Thanks Jerry


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    I think a photography lesson is in order, The only thing you can be certain on from these pictures is that there is a house.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Looks like stucco of some type... Knocking on it should have confirmed it's not EIFS. 'Course you can't expect the insurance man to knock on it while he's sitting in his car driving by.


  11. #11
    Mike Homann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    It looks like stucco to me...


  12. #12
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    From looking at a distance, there is no real way to determine the difference between stucco and EIFS.

    One of your photos (be they blurry) shows wire lath which leads me to believe it is indeed stucco.

    EIFS does not consist of wire lath. Here's what it does consist of:
    1. EPS (Styrofoam) insulation, mechanically fastened to the outer wall
    2. a fabric-like mesh attached to the EPS (used to allow the outer layer to adhere to the EPS
    3. the outer layer (an acrylic resin). - NO WIRE LATH (mesh)
    The 'knock' test works well most of the time, but really isn't the best way (if it sounds hollow it is likely EIFS, but stucco that has 'pulled away' from the wall may also sound hollow - same with stucco that is not applied directly to the wall behind it). What do I mean by "not applied directly to the wall behind it" - well, since I do not know the technical term, I'll attach a photo that shows what I mean (see the fifth / last photo from my 12:59am post).

    The best way to tell is to take a good close look for Styrofoam and fabric mesh (dead give-a-way that it's EIFS). If on the other hand you find wire lath or you can see underneath and discover that there is a gap between the building and the outer covering, the 'covering' is definately stucco.

    Last edited by Ian Currie; 03-28-2009 at 12:17 AM.

  13. #13
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Further to my last post, I've added text to some photos that I have of EIFS and Stucco walls.

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    Last edited by Ian Currie; 03-28-2009 at 12:18 AM.

  14. #14
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    I have two more photos (they didn't upload the first time - were just a bit too large - had to compress them).

    Note: All three photos showing stucco (one on this post, two on my last post) are from the same building; and other than the fact that the building in my photos is a retail / commercial facility, it sure does appear to be similar to what your photos look like.

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  15. #15
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Is that lettering actually on the building? Did they get tired of getting turned down for insurance?

    Hmmm...maybe there's a market for large "It's Not EIFS Stupid!" stencils for homeowners.

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  16. #16
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Back to the original question...
    Quote Originally Posted by SAL IACONO View Post
    ...I was going to contact the insurance company and let them know what I found, but not sure how to word this appropriately. I would appreciate any help offered. Thanks
    Sal, I'm not sure the insurance company would know what to do with any info coming directly from you. I'd suggest that if your friend wants to stick with that particular insurer, you leave it up to him to contact them with the news that their inspector is an idiot. Finding a new insurer might be easier, although I'd be sure to point out to that new company that the siding has been mis-identified once before and would they please make sure to send someone who knows the difference.


  17. #17
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Richard,

    You put a smile on my face . . .

    I was getting fancy with my Corel Photo-Paint software. . . "the writing's not on the wall . . ."

    Good point on the insurance question - most of us failed to answer his actual question

    If I were the homeowner I'd get much satisfaction from calling up the insurance company and telling them to stuff it, after first finding another insurer that knows what they're looking at.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Ian,

    Your photo which says "Stucco Applied Over Concrete Block Wall on Steel Frame System" is incorrectly labeled.

    The stucco *is not* "applied over concrete block wall".

    That is nothing but a 'stucco on frame' system with metal framing instead of wood framing and it looks like the stucco was not properly keyed into the metal lath.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Jerry,

    Thank you for correcting my wording.

    I work for an insurance broker as a risk control consultant and one of my roles is to provide building construction details. I've found that the underwriters are not concerned with 'exact' wording. i.e. 'stucco applied over concrete block wall on metal frame' vs. stucco on frame over concrete block wall'. Either way, they get the point.

    All they want to know that it is a concrete block structural wall that has stucco on metal frame over top and that there is no wood or EIFS to burn or rot.

    Nonetheless, I appreciate your correction. I look forward to learning much on this forum.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Ian,
    Your last two photos partially addressed a question about the first set of pics. Namely, be careful about blanket statements like Fabric mesh=EIFS, and Foam=EIFS. Many repairs are done to regular plaster with base coat, mesh & finish, but that doesn't majically turn a stucco or plaster system into EIFS. You would be doing your clients a disservice by calling such a repair EIFS.
    Secondly, the photo of stucco o/cmu seems like it overhangs the block by at least 2" especially at the door recess. Did the mason overset the block that far?
    Other than that I want to say your photography skills far exceed what normally passes for "pictures" on this forum. Keep up the nice work.

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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Other than that I want to say your photography skills far exceed what normally passes for "pictures" on this forum. Keep up the nice work.
    In an otherwise good and informative, but out of character, post, you bring it back into character with your last comment.

    Knew we could count on you for those derogatory comments.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    John,

    To answer your question, yes, the stucco was offset from the concrete block by about 2 inches. Good observation, it made it easy for me to get a good picture of the backside of the stucco to show the metal lath. I believe that there were a few courses of 'decorative' block offset from the wall which required the stucco to be placed out as far as it was (the stucco was added years after original construction during a building upgrade to 'enhance' the appearance).

    To respond to your comment about many repairs to stucco using fabric mesh; that also answered another question I 'posted' (directly within the photo of the damaged stucco). Thank you, once again - I was not aware that fabric mesh was used for repairing stucco - I've again learned something new.

    FYI: I do not assume that a wall system is EIFS or stucco on just one observation - I take a look at many sections and peek under several nooks and cranny's to form an opinion (as anyone should). For the sake of keeping my past posts short and to the point I did not explain that my conclusions were based on several 'findings' and not just one single observation.

    I carefully picked the photos that I did because they clearly show the difference between stucco and EIFS and they depict very common applications and were relevant to the original post.

    One of the best ways to determine which system you're looking at, IMO, is to look for damage. EIFS is far too 'fragile' and 9 times out of 10, when it is EIFS, I'll find a nice hole that exposes the foam insulation (which is never used with stucco, as far as I know).



    I think that anyone who didn't previously know what to look for has a far better understanding because of everyone's input to this thread.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Cheers.



  23. #23
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    By the way,

    Taking good pictures is simple . . . anyone who wants to be a better photographer only needs to know these two simple rules:
    1. When taking close-up shots - use the macro feature (it works really well) and in most cases (when using macro) - turn the flash off if the camera doesn't do so automatically (the flash can overexpose the image when it's placed a mere 2 or 3 inches from the object your photographing).
    2. Take LOTS of pictures of the same thing. Digital cameras are great! You aren't wasting film, and you're bound to get one good clear shot if you've got 3 or 4 (or more) to pick from.



  24. #24
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    JP-LOL, you're a pistol.

    Ian, thanks, but it the system really stucco on CMU, or is it stucco on frame furring over CMU?
    Down here, stucco o/CMU is actually applied directly to the block, not furred with iron & lath. We would call what you described as furred plaster.
    It's a lot drier climate here, so there is less concern with a dead space between the plaster and the CMU, it's still done, just not common.
    Sometimes the Architect specifies lath over the CMU for it's reinforcement value, but a lot is done without lath, just trims and CJ's to help screed.
    I saw a research paper about the water resistance performance of unpainted stucco directly applied to CMU vs. painted CMU. It was quite enlightening to see how waterproof plain stucco is. Even after several days worth of simulated wind driven rain, the stucco covered wall panels showed minimal water penetration.

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

  25. #25
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    John,

    The stucco wall system in the photos I posted is stucco on metal frame furring over concrete block. I've learned my lesson - I will never call this type of system "Stucco Applied Over Concrete Block Wall on Steel Frame" . . . I promise.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Insurance said this was EIFS

    Sal,

    Have your friend contact/hire a qualified inspector to verify exterior wall system type. Their report would classify the cladding once and for all.

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