Are you building a new home or business, or updating the exterior of an existing one? You’ll want to consider exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS), sometimes called “synthetic stucco.” This exterior cladding system offers many advantages over traditional building materials.
It is normal to demand the best for your home or business. EIFS exterior walls give you that, and more. They outperform other wall systems in important ways. In this post, we’ll explore exterior insulation and finish systems, what they are, and how they can benefit your home or business.
What Is EIFS?
EIFS is short for exterior insulation and finish system. It is a type of cladding that is most often used in commercial construction, but is also suitable for residential applications.
The exterior insulation finishing system is a multi-layered exterior wall cladding system that has been used extensively in Europe and here in the United States since the early 1970s. It consists of an insulation board, base coat, reinforcing mesh, and finish coat.
EIFS is sometimes referred to as “synthetic stucco” because the finish coat can be textured to resemble different types of stucco. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has reported that EIFS is the fastest-growing exterior cladding system in the United States.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam board is the most common type of insulation used in EIFS. The base coat is usually a Portland cement-based plaster that is applied directly to the EPS foam. The reinforcing mesh is embedded in the base coat, and the finish coat is applied over the base coat.
What Are the Benefits of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems?
There are many benefits to exterior insulation and finish systems, including:
- Improved comfort: By creating a continuous thermal barrier, exterior insulation and finish systems can help improve the comfort of your home or business by reducing drafts and uneven temperatures.
- Energy efficiency: The thick layer of continuous insulation helps keep homes and businesses cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, resulting in lower energy bills.
- Decreased exterior noise: The thick layer of insulation helps to reduce exterior noise.
- Lower maintenance: Exterior insulation and finish systems are durable and low maintenance. It does not require painting or staining, and it is resistant to rot, pests, and mold.
- Increased durability: EIFS is resistant to rot, mold, and mildew.
- Easy maintenance: The smooth exterior surface is easy to clean and requires little upkeep.
- Customizable: The exterior finish can be textured and colored to match any design aesthetic.
Overall, its insulation board, base coat, reinforcing mesh, and finish coat make the exterior insulation and finish system an excellent choice for any new construction or exterior renovation project.
How to Install EIFS
Your architect or exterior designer will specify the type of EIFS that is best suited for your project. Once you have chosen a system, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Building Science Consortium provides detailed guidance on installation.
The basic steps are as follows:
- Install the insulation board: This may take time, as the boards need to be cut to fit the contours of your building.
- Install the base coat: The base coat is applied over the rigid insulation boards and reinforced with a layer of fiberglass mesh.
- Install the finish coat: The final step is to apply the exterior finish, which can be textured. The protective finish coat can be colored to match your desired aesthetic.
- Install the trim: Once the exterior finish has dried, the trim is installed around doors and windows.
Follow these steps and you’ll have a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance exterior that will last for years to come.
How Do Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems Work?
The system is composed of an insulation board, base coat, reinforcing mesh, and exterior finish. The system components work together to provide a durable, low-maintenance exterior that is resistant to rot, mold, and mildew.
For it to function properly, each layer must be installed correctly and the result such as the water-resistive barrier, continuous air barrier, weather barrier, and odor barrier must be continuous without any gaps or holes. When mechanical fasteners or sheathing paper penetrate any of these layers, the exterior finish system can fail and allow water to enter the building, resulting in mold and rot.
It is important to consult with a qualified exterior finish contractor to ensure that your exterior finish system is installed correctly and will function properly for years to come.
Tips for Conserving Energy With the Exterior Insulation and Finish System
If you’re looking for ways to emphasize energy conservation and save money on your energy bills, exterior insulation and finish systems are a great option.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your investment:
- Install exterior insulation: Make sure to install exterior insulation to help keep your home or business cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
- Use a low-emissivity finish: Choose a finish with a low-emissivity rating to help reflect heat away from your building.
- Install energy-efficient windows: Consider installing energy-efficient windows to help reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
- Add exterior shading:To help keep your building cool in the summer, add exterior shadings such as awnings or trees.
- Install an exterior finish: The exterior finish helps protect the continuous insulation from UV radiation and weathering.
By following these tips, you can maximize the energy-saving benefits of exterior insulation and finish systems.
What You Need to Upgrade to EIFS
There are certain requirements you will need to meet before exterior insulation finish systems can be applied to your building.
The first is that the building must have a minimum of R-5 insulation installed on the exterior walls. This can be accomplished by adding additional insulation to the existing wall or by installing a new exterior wall with R-5 insulation.
Secondary Drainage Plane
If you live in an area with a high water table or are installing an exterior finish system on an existing building, you may need to install a secondary drainage plane.
A secondary drainage plane is a waterproof barrier that helps protect the exterior finish system from water damage. It is typically installed over the top of the exterior insulation and beneath the exterior finish.
Air and Water-Resistive Barrier
In order to ensure that your exterior insulation and finish system performs properly, an air and water-resistive barrier must be installed. This barrier helps keep moisture infiltration and air from penetrating the exterior finish system and causing damage. It is typically installed over the top of the exterior insulation finish system.
The exterior finish is the final layer of protection for an exterior insulation and finish system. It helps protect the underlying layers from UV radiation and weathering.
There are a variety of exterior finishes that can be used, including paint, stucco, brick, stone, and siding. When choosing an exterior finish, it is important to select one that is compatible with the underlying materials and that has a high degree of durability.
Qualified Exterior Finish Contractor
Finally, it is important to consult with a qualified exterior finish contractor to ensure that your exterior finish system is installed correctly and will function properly for years to come.
At Old Pueblo Stucco , we make sure that all of our exterior finish systems meet the highest standards for quality and performance. We also offer a variety of exterior finishes to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your home or business.
Installing an exterior insulation and finish system is a great way to improve the energy efficiency of your home or business. By following these tips, you can ensure that your system will perform at its best for years to come. If you have any questions about the system or would like to learn more about our services, contact us today. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.