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EIFS Inspections


What is EIFS?



Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is a multi-layered decorative and protective exterior wall system that can be installed on any type of construction. It is the only exterior wall covering that insulates and weather protection in a selection of shapes, colors and textures. It is composed of foam board insulation that is glued or nailed to the structural sheeting on the exterior of a home. In most of today’s construction, plywood, oriented strand board (OSB) or exterior rated gypsum is used.

A field applied fiberglass mesh is installed over the outer surface of the foam which is then finished with two or more coats of the synthetic stucco-like material.

EIFS Barrier type installation: Typical EIFS is a barrier or face-sealed system that by definition have no provision for drainage. The typical system also contains moisture sensitive materials. Specifically, the following moisture sensitive components are used: exterior gypsum board, oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood sheathing, metal or wood studs, fiberglass cavity insulation and interior gypsum board sheathing

EIFS Drainable type Installation: Significantly different from face-sealed or barrier systems in that by definition they have a provision for drainage. Unlike face-sealed or barrier systems  except where they are used in hot-dry climates, drainable EIFS are not inherently defective and therefore are fit for use as an exterior cladding system in most climates. Drainable EIFS are not subject to the same limitations of use of face-sealed or barrier systems. In fact, drainable EIFS are among the most robust and advanced moisture control assemblies available.

EIFS is non-load bearing the components function collectively to provide weather protection and durability.

Problems With EIFS

The basic problem is the belief that homes can be water proofed. The simple truth is, they cannot. Even when professional applied, all caulked joints will eventually fail. No residential windows are fully “water proof”; they are designed and manufactured to water resistant standards.

When moisture gets behind EIFS, it is trapped behind the coating. Trapped moisture inside of the exterior walls contributes to the decay of structural lumber (OSB). A study in Wilmington, North Carolina found that builders frequently installed the material incorrectly or home owners failed to maintain it properly. Although this problem was first found in North Carolina, it is a national problem.

EIFS construction has:

  • Higher probability of installation and moisture intrusion as reported by NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).
    • Windows, doors, electrical outlets
    • Roof flashings
    • Deck flashings
    • Below grade installation areas
    • Projections and vents
  • Potential mold problems
  • Possible insurance considerations
  • Potential for loss of property value

Why an EIFS Inspection by an Exterior Design Institute Certified inspector using EIFS inspections tools including Infrared Thermography?

A properly trained EIFS inspector may be the only solution homeowners have in determining the condition of the exterior of their home. Failure to detect problems can result is serious financial loss to the homeowners. This inspection service can generate peace of mind for the customer.

Home inspectors disclaim the EIFS portion and refer homeowners to a trained EIFS inspector. Many real estate professionals will not list an EIFS home, or the home is substantially under-valued because of unknowns.

The insidious nature of this problem is that there is often no outward sign of distress until the structural damage has progressed to a significant stage. It is often impossible to identify moisture problems with an EIFS application visually. This is why several building and inspection organizations have developed protocols for moisture intrusion testing of EIFS clad buildings.

We visually survey the EIFS installation for conformance with industry standards. The level I inspection employs noninvasive moisture detectors to locate potentially wet areas of the building. The Tramex Moisture meter can not be used on EIFS with metal draining plane.

In a level II inspection, the wet areas are then probed directly through the cladding to determine the moisture levels. The probing is essential to determine how severe the damage may be and to recommending an intelligent course of action.

Our reports include descriptions and images of areas requiring maintenance or repairs, recommendations for follow-on inspections or material removal as necessary, and recommendations for future inspections and maintenance.

Apple Infrared also uses a thermal camera to aid in locating moisture during our inspections. A thermal camera can be very useful as an investigating scanning tool to locate areas with anomalies that require further investigation, probing to determine moisture levels and potential substrate damage behind the system.

Exterior Design Institute EIFS Certification:

Hire a trained professional to inspect your house, and give you an assessment as to any needed repairs. Often, only simple caulking will need to be done, and some years nothing at all. Start an annual preventative maintenance program based on the inspection report.

Moisture Warranty Exterior Cladding Warranty

MositureFree EIFS warranty

A warranty for a residential EIFS system can also be purchased through MoistureFree Warranty after completion of a EIFS Moisture Warranty inspection and the appropriate repairs completed. 704-896-0339

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Serving The St. Louis Metro Area & Beyond

Phone: (314) 800-5731