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  1. #1
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    Default EIFS over Hardcoat?

    This has come up for me twice now on the last couple weeks. Both were on million+ dollar houses. The first time I just assumed the seller was misinformed/lying and just said it was EIFS.

    Today, the seller of the house (built in 2005) talked to me at length about this installation and it's nothing I'd ever heard of. Basically, they install hard coat stucco and then use the finish 'foam goo' from EIFS to obtain the desired finished look.

    I'm inclined to believe what the seller told me today for a couple reasons. Mainly, he's a fairly reputible builder (who's not going bankrupt) and seemed to really know what he was talking about. Secondly, by 2005 the problems with EIFS were well known (at least in my area) and you'd be crazy to install the stuff in it's previous form. My state actually outlawed residential installations around 05/06.

    Anyway, I've never heard of EIFS over hard coat. I didn't bother to take any pictures because it just looks life EIFS.

    I poked around edges and seams and it just looks like EIFS to me.

    Has anyone run across this? Again, it's only on very high end houses that I've seen it.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Basically, they install hard coat stucco and then use the finish 'foam goo' from EIFS to obtain the desired finished look.

    Anyway, I've never heard of EIFS over hard coat.

    I've run across it quite often on commercial structures and their accessory structures (such as where the garbage containers are kept).

    It is a misuse of the term EIFS in that they are referring to the top coating for EIFS systems, and which they apply as a top coating over two coat stucco on masonry (which could also be used as a top coating on three coat stucco over frame).

    They, meaning architects/owners/developers/etc., seem to have picked the term EIFS up as meaning the top coating.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    I agree with Jerry. Products like Dryvit are often applied as a finish/top coat over standard stucco. I do not know if this is approved for this use, but the finish coat will flex somewhat and there tends to be less cracking.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Thanks guys.... So, from an inspection standpoint it seems to be a bit of tough call. Without knowing what's underneath you have to sound the "EIFS Alarm" but it might not be a problem?

    What would you guys say?

    Also, I just realized I put this in the wrong catagory.... anyone know how to move it?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Unless I suspect it is EIFS, probably nothing.

    You could notify Brian and ask him to move it. Not sure that it really matters.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Thanks guys.... So, from an inspection standpoint it seems to be a bit of tough call. Without knowing what's underneath you have to sound the "EIFS Alarm" but it might not be a problem?

    What would you guys say?

    Also, I just realized I put this in the wrong catagory.... anyone know how to move it?
    Before you say much you should really know what it is. What brand finish coat was used? Then you could make a few calls and find out if it is approved for use on a masonry system. My bet is that it is OK, but that is just my opine. You have many synthetic finish coat products so it would be hard to make a blanket judgement call.

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

  7. #7
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Matt,
    What exactly was over the hard coat?
    Just the top coat, or the whole system, foam and all?

    I got the impression it was the whole system.....

    'foam goo'
    I poked around edges and seams and it just looks like EIFS to me.
    But after reading the post by Jerry, Gunnar, and Scott, I get the impression that it is the "eifs" top coat directly over the hard coat.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    I appreciate all the responses....

    The problem is from looking at it.... it looks like EIFS, sounds (as in, when you thump it) like EIFS. From all visible signs that I know of, there is no way to tell the difference. This is the heart of the problem. If I know what it is I know what to recommend.

    I guess my question should really be, How do you tell the difference between EIFS over hard coat vs. straight EIFS?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I appreciate all the responses....

    The problem is from looking at it.... it looks like EIFS, sounds (as in, when you thump it) like EIFS. From all visible signs that I know of, there is no way to tell the difference. This is the heart of the problem. If I know what it is I know what to recommend.

    I guess my question should really be, How do you tell the difference between EIFS over hard coat vs. straight EIFS?
    Matt,

    One more thing, I see regular stucco with foam trim details at windows and doors that can be mistaken for EIFS. Tapping on the trim details may not give accurate information. It would be necessary to tap on the wall.

    If you feel that it is EIFS, then go with your feeling. If you are unsure, then I would state that I am unsure, state the potential problems with EIFS and recommend further evaluation by a qualified plaster contractor or a qualified IR inspector.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  10. #10
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I appreciate all the responses....

    The problem is from looking at it.... it looks like EIFS, sounds (as in, when you thump it) like EIFS. From all visible signs that I know of, there is no way to tell the difference. This is the heart of the problem. If I know what it is I know what to recommend.

    I guess my question should really be, How do you tell the difference between EIFS over hard coat vs. straight EIFS?
    MF: Remove exterior receptacle or switch plates to reveal edges of system. If you see expanded or extruded polystyrene, it is most likely EIFS (unless the receptacle or switch is located in a trim band). If you see Portland cement, it is the real thing.

    This may be what you are seeing:

    http://www.stocorp.com/webfiles.nsf/...le/4.01ESL.jpg

    OR

    Dryvit Systems Inc - Dryvit TAFS (DS253)

    OR

    any number of other systems or over-coatings. You will need to either ascertain from the builder or contractor the exact system or defer to them in your report for further information and to the manufacturer for further evaluation.

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 12-03-2009 at 07:25 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    My recommendation would be to have the installing contractor give a full description in writing as well as copies of their certifications for installation of these materials. And any warranties that may be in affect.The owner should have the names right?.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The problem is from looking at it.... it looks like EIFS, sounds (as in, when you thump it) like EIFS.

    When they apply that EIFS top coat to hard coat stucco it does not sound like EIFS when "thumped" or tapped on.

    If it sounds "hollow" like EIFS does, then it most likely is not EIFS over hard coat, it is simply most likely EIFS and no hard coat.

    Yes, if it sounds that way in some place where trim is installed, then it may well be hard coat stucco with EIFS trim applied, but I suspect you are not referring to small areas where trim pieces were applied but to the entire surface. It is quite common to apply EIFS quoins and bands to an otherwise hard coat stucco surface for "decoratively applied trim".

    Note that EIFS with exposed top horizontal surfaces are to be sloped 2:1 run/fall (as I recall, maybe even steeper), and that includes EIFS trim applied to hard coat. Yep, never see the top sloped, do you?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  13. #13
    Jim Schwarz's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Thats done here quite a bit these days. It seems to be a great system, much less prone to cracks and water infiltration. I call it a "hybrid stucco system" in my reports. I dont say EIFS because it isn't. It's concrete stucco with a synthetic stucco finish coat. If I were building a house it is what I would use.
    Right on. If it's not EIFS, don't call it such. If the builder is describing to you HOW HE INSTALLED IT and is saying "hardcoat", "foam goo" (there is no such thing as "foam goo" in EIFS systems) - it's a hybrid system.

    Again, it's NOT EIFS. It doesn't matter how it sounds when you tap on it. It doesn't matter if it contains foam. It doesn't matter if it uses an EIFS-manufacturer acrylic finish coat. The builder has clearly described what it is, and it's not EIFS.

    Note from the link to the Sto website - nowhere does that say it is EIFS. It's "StoPowerwall" which is essentially a 2-coat stucco by Sto.

    If you're dead set on proving it is EIFS - find out from the builder who's products he used - call the local rep and have him come out. Tell him you have what seems to be a "hybrid system" using his products and someone is calling it "EIFS". I wouldn't doubt that he could come to the site and inspect it himself.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    It doesn't matter if it contains foam.
    JS: On this point we will have to disagree. If the system is fully insulated with expanded/extruded polystyrene or any other type of insulation board it then constitutes an Exterior Insulation and Finishing System.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    If you can not tell the difference between EIFS and a one coat or a 3 coat or DEIFS and any other stucco system I tell my students to use the statement below
    FYI - 
    You have a stucco / EIFS type cladding on the exterior of the home. If installed properly with the proper architectural details, this is a sturdy material. If however, proper architectural details or flashings, etc are absent, installed incorrectly, or features (such as windows, joints, flashings, etc.) are sealed incorrectly, or if there are cracks or gaps in the stucco or at wall penetrations like windows or trim, etc it can create conditions that are conducive to moisture intrusion inside the wall cavities. If this happens, moisture has the potential to be trapped on the walls interior cavities, and cause hidden damages, mold or other long term problems.
    To determine the full condition of this type of stucco system would require moisture probing and intrusive testing of wall cavities, etc. This type of inspection CAN NOT be done by a visual examination alone, and is beyond the scope of the visual home inspection process we are now performing. We DID NOT not perform any moisture probing or intrusive testing of the wall cavities. We recommend further testing and moisture analysis of the Stucco System by a qualified and competent contractor.

    EIFS IS NOT THE ONLY STUCCO SYSTEM WITH MOISUTE INTRUSION

    Every area will differ but in Kansaas City 98% of EIFS has a reportable amout of moisture intrusion on coats 60% and 3 coat less than 5%




  16. #16
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Schwarz View Post
    If it's not EIFS, don't call it such.
    Note from the link to the Sto website - nowhere does that say it is EIFS. It's "StoPowerwall" which is essentially a 2-coat stucco by Sto.
    Do any EIFS manufacturers actually call their products EIFS? I have not done the research, but I would think their marketing departments (and maybe their lawyers) would have a fit if company personnel were using EIFS or any thing similar to describe their products.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
    archivoyeur's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    EIFS = Exterior Insulation Finish System

    The top coat oh EIFS is very similar to stucco, and has not been the real source of problem with EIFS.

    The problem has been the insulation, and its breathing and bonding abilities or more accurately lack thereof. When it's not mechanically anchored (most installations), and/or properly flashed and sealed, the system fails in a number of ways due to moisture infiltration, and entrapment. Either the water leaches back into the structure, or the added weight of water migrating through the insulation by way of capillary action strains and breaks the adhesive bond and pulls the whole mess down off the wall. My employer is frequently called as a professional witness in structure failures. We have investigated more than a few such failures.

    Anyway - no insulation -no EIFS- no worries. How do you tell if there is insulation under the stucco? Poke it . (discreetly of course)


  18. #18
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    FYI Synthetics are used often over a scratch and brown system (3 coat). Synthetics are somewhat waterproof but not as vapor permeable as traditional stucco finish which is sand cement lime and pigment.
    Less permeablility adds to moisture problems not allowing the wall to breathe. Moisture tests are important.
    Check out
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wZ4taJt-rU


  19. #19
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Do any EIFS manufacturers actually call their products EIFS?
    JL: Yes, they do.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Long View Post
    FYI Synthetics are used often over a scratch and brown system (3 coat). Synthetics are somewhat waterproof but not as vapor permeable as traditional stucco finish which is sand cement lime and pigment.
    Less permeablility adds to moisture problems not allowing the wall to breathe. Moisture tests are important.
    Check out
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wZ4taJt-rU
    SL: Good point, and one I have been arguing with a client about for a week or so. She had the EIFS removed from her house following my inspection only to hire a contractor for re-cladding who insists on using the vinyl top coat over 3-coat Portland stucco (plaster for you Yankees). I have told her repeatedly about the issues involved in impeding the self-draining properties of real stucco, to no avail.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    The Acrylic top coat is a proven and tested produt for one coat systems. Many of you still don't get EIFS is not the problem Insulation is not the problem ( you can install one coat and 3coat over foam insulation) Installation of the stucco system is almost always the problem. Thats not to say that new drainage system is better than a old barrier systme But new drainage systems fail,\. I inspected one last Fri. 7 years old. Appears to be a one coat system. The client had mold growing in the back of the master BR closet. The drip screeds were missing at a second floor cantiliver with a cedar trim board at the bottom of the wall. A z-flashing was on top of the cedar 2x6 and caluked at the top. This blocked the drainage path.

    Installation details and leaking windows are the real problem 98% of the time with stucco of any type.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    The Acrylic top coat is a proven and tested produt for one coat systems.
    SVH: All of the barrier versions were "proven and tested" and sold to the builders as "proven and tested". What is your point?

    Your problem is that you seem not to understand that any cladding system that is so critically dependent upon painstaking, myopically- detailed, proper installation, is simply not one that should never be employed in the US residential building market.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    As I have stated before, A lack of understanding of the various issues of moisture intrusion appears to be the issue. Yes there was a labor/design/ instllation problem. Thank goodness that those in the code bussiness bade some changes (all cladding systems are now drainage and all windows and doors have pan flashings) As with any new product there is a learning curve. Untill the 1990's there were no companys that were wood rot speciliast or rot doctors or what ever they call themselves in your area. Wood rot is epidemic in most areas in the US, With window being a leading cause. Should we stop the sale of all windows due to the lack or undersanding of where the drainage plane moved when we quit using storms. Product that are inherently bad (polybutlene) should be removed from the market By your logic we should remove Csst. It takes special knowldge to install. But the manafactues require a trained installer. SO instead of riding the market of this bad Csst we train pepole. The EIFS installtalions that i see today exceed the past by leaps and bound. There are still issues but as i described in my last post there always will be.

    I am not going to change a closed mind. I just hope that others reading will gain 2 things from this post. 1 if you are asking a EIFS/stucco as a home inspector than that means you lack the knowledge you need for your client and the knowledge to stay out of court. Call out for a EIFS -stucco expert, shift libility 2 EIFS and hardcoat stucco BOTH have issues and all wall clading system have similar leakage issues .

    The masonite siding is a example.


  24. #24
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    By your logic we should remove Csst.
    SVH: Yes, we should. Three expert cases under my belt with this stuff has shown me the light.

    The EIFS installtalions that i see today exceed the past by leaps and bound.
    SVH: Not in my area.

    I am not going to change a closed mind.
    SVH: Hence, you will not listen to me.

    Call out for a EIFS -stucco expert,
    SVH: According to my credentials and two North Texas district courts you are corresponding with one now.

    The situation may be different in other parts of the country. In Texas stucco contractors are not required to be licensed, registered, insured, trained, etc. That is true of many construction trades. Add to that the fact that builders are also not regulated - not at all - and municipal inspectors that are lackluster, and you have the recipe for BAD BUILDING.

    Move down here and walk in my shoes for a year or two and you will change your own mind.


  25. #25
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    I as well am a Expert in EIFS and stucco as well a moisture intrusion and construction including inspections, defects, contract management and responsabitlilies EDI # KS-03

    I was on a D-4 when I was 14. I have built or repaired almost every item on a home. I own several rentals and have flipped several houses.

    My last expert witnesss went form we want 600k to we will settle for 5k, Considered a win by my client.

    As VP of construction for Hollywood Video in the 1990s, I have built in over 30 States in various exposures, Mountains to Ocean front. Including TX, some I remeber- Austin, Houston, Lubbuck, Amarilo, Galvanston Etc,

    I am from the Show Me State, I beleive what i see and touch, We dont have that TX ego but we manage.

    Some items in construction are opinions (durability, future performace etc.) Wall cladding systems fall into this catigoray.

    Although it has be 10+- years since i have built in TX, when i was there i felt the labor force was about avarage for the US


  26. #26
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    EDI # KS-03
    SVH: Now that you've hosed down the decks with your "credentials", let's take a closer look at the one above. EDI=EIMA=EIFS Defender. Makes sense now.


  27. #27
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    There are those in EDI that fit that point of view, I am not one. I just call it like i see it and my opinion is that its not EIFS as a product but the instalation of the product. For bang for the buck i would install a one coat over foam with brick and stone accents, on my house, if i was building.


  28. #28
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    For bang for the buck i would install a one coat over foam with brick and stone accents, on my house, if i was building.
    SVH: To each his own, I guess.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Stacy, does the saying "pissing up a rope." have any meaning for you?

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

  30. #30
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
    Stacey Van Houtan Guest

    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    i assume you think that that is a bad to put hard coat over foam.

    if that system is pissing up a rope then it just shows a lack of understanding. of exteriour cladding systems .


  31. #31
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Stacy, does the saying "pissing up a rope." have any meaning for you?
    JC: In Phoenix it may denote business as usual. Otherwise it might mean:

    Nailing porridge to a wall.

    Pounding sand down a rat hole.

    A futile act, such as attempting to install leak-free EIFS, for example.


  32. #32
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    i assume you think that that is a bad to put hard coat over foam.
    SVH: Not bad, just stupid.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JC:A futile act, such as attempting to install leak-free EIFS, for example.

    Truer words were never spoken!

    If I was installing a barrier system that would be my only goal. But, that is not so for a drainable system.

    With a drainable system, the idea is to divert as much water as possible, and that any water that does get in should be repelled and be able to drain... the easier and faster, the better.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  34. #34
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
    Stacey Van Houtan Guest

    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    As i have said before "get out more"

    For example.

    In KCMO we have built with a single wall method for many years, meaning one layer of lap or sheet siding of any composite nailed directly to the studs while laying on the sub-floor. Then we install the windows soffit, facia and rafter tails. We then raise the wall and and it is ready for paint. We have a few that used the sprint system and applied the foam and then raised the wall then installed the Dryvit, All of this is a barrier system that is on thousand of homes in the KCMO area.
    I am certain that most of you will have a double wall construction and install windows after the wall is raised. Different methods same results.
    Most KC homes, if well maintained, still are in a function and servicable condition. Not that we dont have failures. and issues, we do, read my other post, In fact i am glad we do i still have 3 kids school.

    And for moistue intrusion a barrier system is the poorist performing system requiring the highest level of installtion detail and maintaence. But look up value engineering if you are not aware of the concept.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Stacey, the pig enjoys it.... Get a clue.

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

  36. #36
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    But look up value engineering if you are not aware of the concept.
    SVH: I am familiar with the term. It is (originally GE's) a euphemistic term for planned obsolescence.

    You are truly an idealist when it comes to EIFS (maybe you have stock in Sto or Dryvit?). In your hypothetical perfect world where competent design, excruciatingly close construction oversight, and meticulous installation contractors actually exist, perhaps EIFS and even chocolate icing would make decent exterior cladding systems. In the real world though . . .


  37. #37
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Get a clue.
    JC: Just not from you, right?


  38. #38
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
    Stacey Van Houtan Guest

    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    JC got it

    In my reality (not my perception) I am a building science expert.

    So take or leave my opinions as you wish.


  39. #39
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Van Houtan View Post
    JC got it

    In my reality (not my perception) I am a building science expert.

    So take or leave my opinions as you wish.
    SVH: Actually, your "reality" and your "perception" are one in the same, phenomenologically speaking.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Ah, now we see the true stripes, misogyny rears it's ugly head.
    Over and out, A.D.
    Done w/you for good.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: EIFS over Hardcoat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Van Houtan View Post
    But look up value engineering if you are not aware of the concept.
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    SVH: I am familiar with the term. It is (originally GE's) a euphemistic term for planned obsolescence.

    Actually, the best description/definition for "value engineering" I have been able to come up with is: "Value engineering" is where "the value" is engineered out.

    "The value" was where one got more than they were paying for, i.e., there was "real value" in many things. Now, there now longer is "value", just a simple even exchange, and sometimes even shortchanged, for an inflated price which lacks actual "value".

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

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