Is EIFS A Stucco?( Complete Guide )
Stucco, also known as plaster of Paris, is a material used in many homes. It has been around for thousands of years and was initially used to cover the exterior walls of houses.
It has grown into something much more helpful ever since, and you can find it on roofs, patios, pools, sidewalks, and other places throughout the home.
Stucco reflects light very well. This makes it great at keeping your house cool during hot seasons like summer. There are many stucco benefits for your home or business.
Still, you need to make sure that you hire an experienced professional who knows what they’re doing when applying this material.
Is EIFS a stucco?
No. EIFS uses a synthetic base coat and an organic finish coat. The approved EIFS finish materials are all manufactured by Laticrete International Inc. of Oldsmar, Florida.
Laticrete International claims that “EIFS is not stucco,” but it admits to using the sand-mix method to apply its unique finish coats.
What makes EIFS different from stucco is only the particular type of reinforcement mesh they use and their choice of finish coats.
Many EIFS manufacturers recommend sandblasting the surface before installing their product over existing stucco.
This is because it helps remove any loose or flaking stucco material and ensures a strong bond.
However, sandblasting can damage some exterior finish materials that are not compatible with the sandblaster’s abrasive media.
Using sand-mix finishing has resulted in many lawsuits against EIFS manufacturers.
Because the sand-mix method was being used by some contractors who did not have a specific type 1 approval for this type of application.
As a result, many insurance companies refuse to cover any claims involving EIFS construction.
Unless their policy explicitly includes damages caused by polystyrene insulation or other components used in its installation.
How Can You Differentiate Between Stucco And EIFS?
You can tell the difference between stucco and EIFS by looking at the surface of the siding. Stucco is a porous material that can absorb paint and other coatings over time.
While EIFS cannot receive paint or any coating. It will crack and crumble if you apply paint to it.
You can also look at how it’s installed. Stucco is well installed one layer at a time, with lath boards attached vertically to the wall through nails or screws.
In contrast, EIFS is well glued on using foam boards installed in three layers.
Stucco-finished homes often have cracks filled with painter’s caulk before finishing them with trowels. Stucco homes may also peel paint on window trim and lap siding joints.
EIFS houses do not have cracks and need no caulking.
EIFS houses feature a smooth, drywall-type textured surface with minimal depth, which one can paint or install to look like wood or other materials such as stucco.
When Did Builders Stop Using EIFS?
Builders stopped using EIFS long before the problems with EIFS became widely known. There was already a shift away from EIFS construction in much of the U.S.
By 2003, when GAF and James Hardie voluntarily withdrew their respective products, “Duraroc” and “Hardiflex,” because of concerns over potential durability issues.
During much of this time, builders used XPS (extruded polystyrene foam board insulation) in place of EPS (expanded polystyrene foams).
This shift appears to have been partly driven by energy-efficiency mandates.
That emphasize insulation levels that EPS products cannot achieve without losing wall cavity space for others, such as wiring or plumbing.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Traditional Stucco Vs. EIFS?
Here are the pros and cons of using traditional stucco vs. EIFS:
Strong and durable. It’s made of cement, sand, lime, and water.
Long-lasting exterior finish that requires very little maintenance over the years.
High permeability because of its porosity allows water vapor to penetrate the wall system with ease.
Either too much or not enough moisture within the wall envelope can cause mold and mildew growth problems, freeze-thaw damage, and materials corrosion.
For high humidity climates such as Florida and coastal areas in Texas.This condition may present particular difficulties in keeping walls dry during winter months.
When interior humidity levels might be low while outside temperatures are cold and relative humidifies high.
Our solution for keeping traditional stucco walls dry was to provide an air space between the stucco and a vapor-permeable but water-impermeable, high-density insulation board.
For rain screen applications, an air space is not required. High maintenance cost because of frequent repainting.
It provides a sturdy exterior wall covering that will last for many years. This requires zero maintenance besides cleaning it once in a while with a garden hose or pressure washer.
There is no need to paint EIFS walls. This means more time for enjoying life, fewer worries about rotting wood trim and siding.
- More time for vacations or mini-breaks during hot summer months.
- The substrate preparation cost is lower. There is no need to remove old stucco or wood siding.
No need to provide a proper drainage plane behind the sheathing, and there’s no need to buy a vapor barrier for horizontal applications.
- You can use it in all climatic regions of the U.S.
- EIFS made with materials is very durable and long-lasting.
- They are primarily when used for exterior building walls.
- A greater risk is water penetrating walls because EIFS allows more moisture penetration than traditional stucco.
- It does not look as good as traditional stucco, especially when painted.
Pro: Maintenance cost is lower than that of conventional stucco.
All it requires from homeowners is to clean it now and then with a garden hose or pressure washer during the spring and summer months.
Washing will remove all dirt, mildew stains but not mold, which needs special cleaners such as diluted bleach solutions or fungicidal soaps for removal.
Installation cost is higher than traditional stucco, but not significantly if a professional crew does it.
Suppose homeowners choose to install this type of exterior wall covering themselves.
In that case, they will most definitely end up paying more for installation than would they have paid someone to do it using traditional stucco or any other type of wall covering.
EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) refers to a group of products used on the exterior side of buildings for insulation and finish;
Including siding, soffit, fascia, and other components.
EIFS includes water-resistant gypsum wallboard, exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFS), synthetic stucco, and related products.
Also known as synthetic stucco or foam stucco;
EIFS is a prefabricated exterior cladding system comprising sheets of foam plastic core sandwiched between two layers of synthetic stucco mesh fabric.
The entire system adhered to the substrate with an adhesive under high pressure.
How Much Is It To Repair EIFS?
Repairing damage to stucco, known as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), is not cheap. It can cost $3,000 or more for labor and materials.
Typically, EIFS siding exposes fiberglass matting on the walls. Water seeps between the matting and the underlying layer of stucco (a cement-based plaster).
As it continues to freeze and thaw during cold weather, water eventually breaks down the stucco’s bond to the sheathing underneath.
Eventually, chunks of plaster break free from your home’s exterior walls, especially if you live in an area with cold, snowy winters like much of America does.
The first step should be tuck-pointing.
This involves repairing the stucco bond to the sheathing with a mortar specially formulated to stick to both materials.
This is better done by an experienced contractor who knows how to mix and use the proper mortar.
Typically, you must remove all loose and falling pieces of plaster from your home’s exterior walls before tuck-pointing can begin.
This alone can take several days or longer for a skilled worker to do appropriately.
Afterwards, it might cost about $1,000 – $2,000 for tuck-pointing plus another $1,500 –
$3,000 for patchwork on any holes left in your walls after removing large sections of broken-off stucco.
However, even if you get the repairs done and do it right, there’s no guarantee that your EIFS will remain watertight forever.
After all, the original installation might have been faulty, to begin with, or was improperly maintained.
Plus, some newer insulation materials are more resistant to water infiltration than others. Thus, it may be worth researching what kind of siding is best for your home climate.
What Is The Best Paint For EIFS?
The best paint for EIFS has to hold up against all different environmental elements and requires very little maintenance.
The paint should also be able to adhere to many surfaces and give a consistent finish.
Several paints on today’s market would work well for EIFS exteriors, such as oil-based or acrylic paints.
Oil-based paint forms a thicker coating than latex and has better adhesion properties because it uses natural solvents instead of water.
It doesn’t shine as much as latex, so you may need two coats to achieve the same appearance as one coat of latex.
Acrylic paints dry quickly, resist mildew growth, and fade from sun exposure better than oil and latex-based paints, but they do not adhere well to EIFS surfaces.
As with most paints, the best paint for EIFS is always going to be an oil-based one. However, some manufacturers’ oil-based paints are better than others.
A good brand of paint would have high solid content and have a speedy drying time.
They also should contain more binders that give it a longer life span on the exterior of a building.
The solvent used in the paint should be as close to odorless mineral spirits as possible for safety reasons and optimal results.
Another property to look for is tint-ability. This means you can tint the color of your choice without having to strip down all of your old paint first.
In addition, look for a high-quality exterior acrylic primer, which helps the paint adhere to EIFS better.
Can You Pressure Wash EIFS?
Yes. A pressure washer can clean EIFS. However, you need to be careful about the nozzles used for this type of cleaning job.
The standard diameter hole in a typical garden hose nozzle is too large and will damage the wall, leading to costly repairs.
However, pressure washing with only water will probably not affect most EIFS walls since they withstand exposure without surface degradation or loss of adhesion.
Are Dryvit And EIFS The Same Thing?
Yes. Dryvit and EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) are the same things.
This material is a synthetic stucco, and in 1968, the “Dryvit System’System’ company out of Oregon patented it.
It was acclaimed around the country because it made an attractive exterior finish on homes and buildings.
This product is straightforward to apply and relatively inexpensive. However, this material does not last as long as most would feel that it should.
The usual lifespan of this exterior insulation system is only about 20 years before failure happens.
The reason for this failure comes from water damage and rot because of the lack of insulation capability.
This exterior system is relatively thin and does not protect from precipitation. It also lacks waterproof qualities, which contribute to its deterioration.
These systems are not approved for commercial use by the International Building Code or the International Residential Code.
However, some developers still prefer this system because it is cheaper than other options in the market.
Should You Paint Synthetic Stucco?
Yes. After five to seven years, you should paint stucco applied to wood or metal with latex paint. Stucco is very porous, which means it absorbs water.
Paint helps protect the outside of your home from rain and moisture seepage. It also seals the stucco so that any cracks are less likely to grow larger.
Stucco is a blend of sand, water, and Portland cement applied to homes or buildings as an exterior insulator.
The rough texture of stucco helps it stand up to weathering, but it isn’t waterproof. Water can seep through the porous stucco and cause damage to the underlying surface.
Over time, repeated seepage can lead to rotted siding and even foundation problems for your home.
I hope this information has been helpful. There is a lot of confusion, as the two terms are often used interchangeably.
Stucco (also known as traditional or synthetic) and EIFS both offer many benefits and some drawbacks.
For example, it’s costly to repair an issue with your home’s exterior if you use EIFS because of its thin outer layer.
But using traditional stucco can be problematic because it needs paint every few years, which leads us back to the first square when it comes time for repairs.