Should I Buy A House With EIFS Stucco?

Stucco buildings are abundant in Canada but how to buy the right one comes with a lot of questions.

No one would like to buy something that isn’t worth the price of it. Now let’s talk about the things that you should know before any decision is taken.

What’s Exterior Insulated Finish System( EIFS Stucco)?

The Exterior Insulated Finish System is also called synthetic stucco, and it refers to a multi-layered exterior finish that’s been used in European construction since shortly after World War II.

EIFS is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. An exterior insulated finish system ( EIFS) is also called synthetic stucco, and it refers to a multi-layered exterior finish that’s been used in European construction since shortly after World War II.

Contractors found stucco to be a good repair choice for buildings damaged during the war. The majority of repairs to European buildings were to structures constructed of stone, concrete, brick, or other similar, durable materials. Some homeowners might think their home is made from traditional stucco when, in fact, the exterior siding is actually EIFS.

The Exterior Insulated Finish System Has Six Layers

  • An optional water-resistive barrier is generally fluid that’s applied to cover the substrate.
  • An adhesive attaches the insulation board to the supporting structure. Mechanical fasteners can be used in some cases.
  • A foam insulation board is secured to the exterior wall surface substrate, most often with adhesive.
  • A base coat, either acrylic or polymer-based cement material, is applied to the top of the insulation then reinforced with glass fiber reinforcement mesh.
  • The reinforcement mesh is embedded in the base coat material.
  • The finish is a textured coat that’s decorative and protective.

The most common type of EIFS used today is the system that includes a drainage cavity, which allows any moisture to exit the wall.

Benefits of Using Exterior Insulated Finish System

Should I Buy A House With EIFS Stucco? Photo by Sky Stucco Systems
White-modern-stucco-Bay-window-design-in-Ontario, Photo by Sky Stucco Systems

  • Water, Fire, and Moisture Resistant
  • Energy Consumption
  • Design Flexibility
  • Easy Maintenance

For a deeper understanding of the benefits check this article Benefits of EIFS

Some Problems and Why You Should Still Consider To Buy

Water deterioration is difficult to inspect on newer homes with EIFS stucco unless you have an extremely thorough inspection with a professional. Water deterioration will seize a period to set in so you might not realize that the EIFS stucco is not working as it should until years after moving in and getting settled. Then, you could be faced with an extensive repair job that you had no intention of dealing with.

If you are wondering about whether to buy a house with EIFS, the answer is, it all depends on you. An EIFS system that has been installed properly by a certified contractor who has been approved to use the system is ideal and you can count on the job. But if you are buying a home with previously installed EIFS stucco, you have to consider that it was done cheaply, with poor materials, and may be below grade or not completely waterproof.

There are a lot of homeowners who have acquired the EIFS stucco buildings only to realize later that the losses were worth tens of thousands of dollars. Some of these homeowners even hired inspectors, but those inspectors missed the less visible signs of damage. Now, these individuals are stuck in a house with a failing structure, and there is no way to sell a place like that. While there is no guarantee every EIFS house will have problems, the possibility is likely to occur.

Contractors found stucco to be a good repair choice for buildings damaged during the war. The majority of repairs to European buildings were to structures constructed of stone, concrete, brick, or other similar, durable materials.

Some homeowners might think their home is made from traditional stucco when, in fact, the exterior siding is actually EIFS.

Moisture Issues

The EIFS layers bond together to form a covering that doesn’t breathe. That’s fine when no moisture is present behind the covering, but moisture can become trapped behind the layers if it seeps in.

A Word From the EIFS Industry Member Association

The EIFS Industry Member Association reports the following: “EIFS layers bond to form a wall covering that is weather-resistant and vapor permeable. As with any cladding, prevention of water infiltration into and behind it is important for long term durability. Over the last decade or so, several advancements to EIFS have been made. One is a drainage cavity that is behind the foam insulation. This cavity is achieved either with vertical ribbons of adhesive, an insulation board configured with vertical grooves on the back or in some cases, a drainage mat. Another is a supplemental component called a WRB, or Water-Resistive Barrier. This component provides additional moisture protection to the structure and is applied directly onto the supporting substrate. “

Photo by Sky Stucco Systems Should I Buy A House With EIFS Stucco?

“These advances address some of the issues that arose in the late 1990s when some homes that were covered with EIFS cladding suffered damage from water intrusion. An investigation into the damage showed that water was not infiltrating through the EIFS, but was infiltrating through leaky windows or poorly constructed details. At the time EIFS was the target of individual and class action lawsuits, although other claddings, including brick, stone, wood and vinyl siding, and conventional stucco, showed similar damage when installed with similar leaky windows and poor construction detailing.”

Final thoughts on EIFS Stucco

It is always your choice to decide whether to buy a house with EIFS stucco. I will strongly encourage anyone who has previously bought a house or planning to buy a house with EIFS Stucco to get a proper inspection done by a professional who will be able to detect the signs and symptoms of an improperly installed system. While the decision is in your hands after critically analyzing each point carefully, I hope it can save you from future difficulties.

Do you still have questions you would want to ask or you still need deep advice on how to sell or buy a house with EIFS stucco? You can call us for a free consultation.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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