Exterior insulation and finish systems, or EIFS, initially consisted of rigid insulation adhered to exterior wall sheathing and covered with a thin, reinforced lamina, providing the appearance of plaster, and were commonly referred to as “synthetic stucco.” In the 1990’s, damage associated with moisture behind EIFS installations was widely-reported. As a result, manufacturers developed water-managed or “drainable” EIFS, which has gained popularity in some applications. Although, the use of EIFS was unpopular for a time, the use of continuous insulation to improve energy-efficiency in exterior wall will likely make EIFS more attractive to building owners and developers in the future.
BC&E personnel have first-hand experience in evaluating some of the earlier EIFS installations in Colorado, and have designed repairs to extend their serviceable life. In addition, BC&E personnel have evaluated numerous EIFS installations on newer buildings which have experienced problems with staining, premature deterioration, physical damage, and water leakage, particularly at the interface with windows, doors, balconies, and other elements of the façade. BC&E personnel often work closely with plastering subcontractors during the repair work.