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EIFS disaster

stephen11962

I have a house, 13 years old, that was incompetently clad in EIFS - building paper on plywood sheathing, 2" EPS foam, fiberglass fabric under the finish coat of synthetic stucco. There are leaks on the most vulnerable south facade. Other facades are subject to the same kinds of failure but they are not visible.I am tempted to re-do the house facades with a rain screen installation (very expensive, I know).

The new facade would include a new layer of 1.25" of Roxul insulation applied over the existing 2" EPS foam insulation. 

The faulty EIFS installation allowed water to enter the house and collect on the floor, rotting out some window frames in the process. The rain screen correction would involve removing the 2" EPS around the perimeter of the windows, correctly flashing the windows. The disturbed insulation would be replaced  with new 2" EPS foam. The results would be covered with a new drainage plane membrane and the new layer of 1.25" Roxul and the final elements of the rain screen facade.

One thing that concerns me is that the EIFS finish is opaque to vapor and would trap moisture behind it. I was thinking that it might be possible to tear off the fiberglass reinforced finish without unreasonable damage to the 2" EPS which would be covered up by the new layer of roxul insulation. This would reduce, by a lot, labor and disposal costs and new insulation to replace the EPS. The additional insulation would be a long term benefit.

So, is it reasonable to tear off the stucco finish or will that be harder than I think? Anything else I might be missing?

TIA
Stephen

 
Nov 18, 21 4:14 pm
Non Sequitur

"I am tempted to re-do the house facades with a rain screen installation"

/thread

"So, is it reasonable to tear off the stucco finish or will that be harder than I think? Anything else I might be missing?"

Rip it all down.  Don't install new over existing EIFS.  Hire a professional to design the details.

"I was thinking that it might be possible to tear off the fiberglass reinforced finish without unreasonable damage to the 2" EPS which would be covered up by the new layer of roxul insulation"

Kids, this is why you need ti hire professional.  unprotected EIFS sponge in a rainscreen application? What could be possibly go wrong with that approach?

Nov 18, 21 4:28 pm  · 
5  · 

Stephen,

First off - hire a professional to design this for you. If you are a professional contact a few GC's and EFFIS reps and show them your ideas. 

Second - what you're proposing doesn't seem like a good idea.  

That's all the free advice you're going to get.  

Good luck. 


Nov 18, 21 5:00 pm  · 
4  · 

EIFS has a long history of disaster with numerous lawsuits and class actions.

There is no fixing it other than complete removal. When you do you will likely find significant problems including toxic black mold and structural rot.

https://google.gprivate.com/se...

Nov 18, 21 5:03 pm  · 
 · 
Le Courvoisier

Rip it out like the way an ex ripped your heart.

Nov 18, 21 6:32 pm  · 
1  · 

I didn't know you had a second account Josh.

Nov 18, 21 6:49 pm  · 
 · 
stephen11962


Well, I asked a question which was not addressed and got comments that seemed to me to be intemperate. I do have some idea about the existing conditions, the causes of the failures and the principles of flashing and building dry houses.

I am trying to rectify incompetence perpetrated by the subs who did the initial installation and the first remedial effort. And I am trying do the best job at the least cost.


 

Nov 18, 21 6:53 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Yeah, we can certainly offer many solutions but this is what we’re paid to do. You’re not getting anything for free. Hopefully you didn’t pay too much for this place because fixing this issue properly will be expensive… but since you’re trying to sleeze your way to answers, I doubt you’ll do anything competent.

Nov 18, 21 7:19 pm  · 
2  · 

Stephen - If you want to do the best job for the least cost then hire a professional.

Ep 069: Better Faster Cheaper | Life of an Architect

Nov 19, 21 11:00 am  · 
 · 

Stephen wrote:

"Well, I asked a question which was not addressed and got comments that seemed to me to be intemperate. What’s your point?" 

 You asked for free professional services and are upset that we’re not providing them. Would you be upset if I came to your house and demanded that you to do your job for me for free? 

Stephen wrote:

 "I do have some idea about the existing conditions, the causes of the failures and the principles of flashing and building dry houses."

They why are you asking us to solve your problem? 

Stephen wrote:

"I am trying to rectify incompetence perpetrated by the subs who did the initial installation and the first remedial effort. And I am trying do the best job at the least cost." 

This statement shows that you do not understand the issues regarding the problem you’re attempting to solve. Hire a professional.  It will be less costly than you trying to do the work yourself.  

Nov 19, 21 1:13 pm  · 
 · 

You have little idea of existing conditons and won't until you open it up. I've seen a number of houses with EIFS problems and they were all much more extensive than they appeared.

As to repairing it, it is simply not possible. One of the primary problems is condensation on the inside of the insulation, which is trapped and causes mold and rot. 

Later versions of EIFS have 'drainage channels' in the foam that supposedly allows condensation to escape (lawsuits notwithstanding). To install this all the insulation would have to be removed, and if you are doing that it would be beyond idiocy to reinstall the same shit product.

If you think that's intemperate stick around for a few minutes and you'll likely find out what intemperate is.

You're welcome.

Nov 18, 21 7:26 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

I've done my share of EIFS projects, but they are all small retail or commercial buildings. I've always specified insulation with drainage behind and the product in non-absorptive. We've moved away from it and only certain clients ask for it. Rainscreen cladding is easier and in most cases, cheaper, anyways.

Nov 19, 21 11:07 am  · 
1  · 

We don't use EFIS at all. Our insurance will not cover it's use.

Nov 19, 21 1:08 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Same here Chad, but that's referring to the lawsuite-heavy disintegrating sponge EIFS of the past. Actually, I think the only place I still hear/read about EIFS is from old school GCs (the ones who make an effort to say masonAry) and folks on archinect.

Nov 19, 21 1:32 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

I've used EIFS in literally every project I've ever been involved with. It's ubiquitous where Code requires R27 EFFECTIVE walls. (I've also never put batt in a wall cavity). Modern EIFS with a fluid applied avb is surprisingly bulletproof in my climate. I didn't even know that EIFS over house wrap was a thing - I've never seen it. Sounds like a terrible idea

Nov 19, 21 2:24 pm  · 
4  · 
gibbost

Bowling is right. EIFS installs from the last 15 years are dramatically different from the shit they installed in the 90's. It only took millions in lawsuits for the manufactures to create better detailing that includes drainage and proper substrates & vapor barriers. While I don't do a lot of it anymore, there is an occasional project where it gets added.  The recent push to move the insulation plane to the exterior has forced me to revisit the merits of EIFS.

Nov 19, 21 2:59 pm  · 
2  · 

Why not just use a typical 3 part stucco with continuous rigid insulation? Works better than EIFS and costs the same.

Nov 19, 21 3:05 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Chad, can you expand? Not that I've ever even heard of doing that, but what are the advantages? I don't see how it could be the same cost - traditional stucco takes longer and requires more labour and material. There's a reason acrylic stucco has taken over, and it's the lower cost. What's up?

Nov 19, 21 3:18 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

BB, I think what Chad is referring to is more like this: https://www.dryvit.ca/systems/

It's acrylic stucco on rigid insulation + drain space behind.  This is what we do.  No more soggy sponges.

Nov 19, 21 3:31 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

NS, that's what we generically call EIFS these days - back-drained EPS with acrylic stucco. Chad however, specifically said 3-part stucco and didn't mention drainage at all, so I'm not sure why you think that.

Nov 19, 21 5:46 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Because i did not completely read, and glossed over, duh. But yes, now that you point it out, it does sound odd. I should check my office master specs and see how it’s called.

Nov 19, 21 6:50 pm  · 
 · 

BB - a standard 3 layer stucco system uses a self furring metal lath and two layers of building wrap behind it. These two layers of building wrap create the drainage plain. The two layers are required because the stucco will damage the first layer of building wrap as it cures. This is a standard system works well over continuous exterior insulation and is recommended by all stucco manufactures and construction institutes in the US. 

 The use of a single drainage membrane, even on built for stucco is not recommended by any any manufacture or construction institutions in the US.

Nov 20, 21 4:22 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Sorry, that's not EIFS. Maybe that's why we're not on the same page. That sounds like a bastardized rainscreen that's guaranteed to fail. This crap went out the window (in Canada at least) about 30 years ago.

Nov 20, 21 5:13 pm  · 
1  · 

I know it's not EFIS. 

What I said is that stucco and insulation works way better and is less costly than EFIS. Also the system I described with two layers of building wrap isn't garbage. It's a standard stucco detail that's worked great for decades. In fact it's required by many stucco manufactures to maintain their warranty.  If you're only using a single layer drainage plain under stucco then you're doing it wrong.  

Nov 20, 21 6:07 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

I know the original version of stucco with 2 layers of house wrap, because it's ubiquitous - my own home was built that way - 80 years ago. Things have improved substantially since then in building science. I'm not saying it can't work, but house wrap is 100 year old technology. House wrap makes for a terrible air barrier, a crap moisture barrier, and is prone to failure at every joint and fastener. It's garbage. My firm does low budget projects and even then, I've literally never used it. You're puncturing that membrane hundreds (or thousands) of times - there are much more reliable alternatives out there.

Nov 20, 21 6:15 pm  · 
 · 

I never said house wrap. 

 I said building wrap. 

That's a generic term for weather resistant barrier here in the US.  We use the term building wrap on our drawings and call out the appropriate weather resistant barrier in our specs depending on the wall assembly. 

 The point that I am making is that you NEVER use a single building wrap under stucco. Even the stuff that's supposently designed to be stronger and provide a drainage plain in stucco doesn't work well. It fails because of the curing of the stucco.  You're way better off using two layers of building wrap with staggered, sealed seams.

With two layers of the correct building wrap the the fastener penetration's aren't an issue.  Typically because the inner layer is self sealing and isn't weakened by the curing stucco.  

Nov 20, 21 6:28 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Chad, "house wrap" is common term up here... means building wrap but from a residential pov. It's Tyvek. But besides that, the trowel-applied AB is the only product the trades use here in drained EPS+Acrylic Stucco. No one is adhering to sheet-membrane... double-bagged or not.

Nov 20, 21 6:31 pm  · 
2  · 

NS - I'm not talking about EFIS. I'm referring to actual three layer stucco. My point was that a standard stucco finish with continuous insulation performs better and is typically less costly than EFIS - at least in the area's I've practiced in.

Also - you NEVER use Tyvek as a building wrap under stucco.  It fails very, very quickly.  


Nov 20, 21 6:35 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Sorry, meant house wrap is assumed to be tyvek. That’s more Home Depot speak.

Nov 20, 21 6:43 pm  · 
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joseffischer

This went back and forth and I'll add my experience and 2 pennies, which is specifically not as an expert. In Georgia different architects spec both the systems as described above for multi-fam parking deck wraps and plinth buildings, typically above a couple floors of brick veneer, and in lieu of some siding/paneling from hardie as a different look. It's typically treated interchangably from the GC side and they often request substitution one way or the other, so I have to think it's generally the same cost and depends on the day whether a GC has a preference and/or subs available. The friends I know who deal with it (I don't do multifam as much, or at least not that type) then put it on the GC to provide all details and assurances. When you get south of Macon, the stucco falls off (even though those guys are a lot cheaper) because material costs for the lathe get extra as anything on the coast and/or in Florida cause it to fail more quickly as the wetter saltier air corrodes the lathe. If you do go that route, my understanding is they use a different lathe, but not sure if it's like alum or galv or something to make it work.

Regarding some of bowling's comments, I have to disagree with a "it's 100+ year old technology and therefore doesn't work" mentality.  The reason most of our advancements have taken place have been due to cost.  I don't think we're innately building better buildings except to say we are building more insulated buildings with more efficient equipment inside.  If the U-values and warranties etc of each system stack and they'll knock off $1/SF for one or the other, I don't think I'd ever advice an owner against one over the other because either could fail due to poor workmanship, but the owner will remember that one conversation where you said "go with this so it won't leak/will work better" rather than look at underperforming detailing.

Nov 21, 21 12:52 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

New goal: Turn this one-post ponies' thread on EIFS into Politic Central 2.0.

Nov 21, 21 1:45 pm  · 
1  · 

All I have to do is bring up hunting . . .

Nov 21, 21 2:08 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

How many arrows to take down a typical EIFS panel?

Nov 21, 21 2:12 pm  · 
1  · 

Only one. 

 A well placed shot to the single function weep that hasn't been plugged by the application of the acrylic coating can take out up to 200 sf of EFIS panel. 

Nov 21, 21 2:13 pm  · 
4  · 

I’ve seen a few - only a very few - EIFS installations that were good, and only when the architect was very closely involved. Your  best bet is to remove it.

Nov 18, 21 9:53 pm  · 
 · 

Anyone interested in green construction avoids EPS like the plague.

https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/why-styrofoam-expanded-polystyrene-should-be-banned-everywhere-in-the-world-4101552f5e2b

Nov 19, 21 4:04 pm  · 
 · 
gibbost

I feel like you could make this dubious claim about nearly all building materials. The most environmentally friendly building is the one you don't build. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/25/concrete-the-most-destructive-material-on-earth

Nov 19, 21 4:23 pm  · 
1  · 

Since when are environmentally detrimental materials a dubious claim?

Nov 19, 21 5:57 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

When has humans ever not been environmentally detrimental. Humans is an environmentally detrimental plague. The inconvenient truth of this race and its history.

Nov 24, 21 4:03 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

I was thinking about this post some more... Imagine going to a plumbing forum (I like Terry Love's) and posting something like "my plumbing was poorly installed.  I've already looked into it.  It doesn't even have vent piping.  So I've already opened it up and plan on redoing it, but my main line was installed 2".  Can I reuse it or do I have to start all over?"  And the responses are some ribbing, but basically a direct answer "nope, replace it".  It's sad he didn't take us seriously, but ribbing aside, it's nice that we actually did give him good (and free) professional services.  

Nov 21, 21 3:16 pm  · 
1  · 

This thread is an EIFS disaster because nobody has taken the time to make sure you're all talking about the same thing. Lots of confusion over traditional EIFS, EIFS with drainage, and stucco. 

I won't go into detail but suffice it to say, if you want to see EIFS that works, go to the desert (or better yet, find an installation on fully-grouted CMU or cast-in-place concrete backup walls ... the OG from Europe). If you want to see EIFS with drainage that works, go to the PNW. If you want to see good stucco, go to California. California hasn't really had to deal with continuous insulation on projects where stucco worked until recently. Now they are realizing that 3-coat stucco on continuous insulation isn't as easy as Chad makes it seem. The 3-coat stucco over insulation isn't penciling out for projects. I'm starting to see more EIFS with drainage being specified for California projects (which was previously sacrilege where stucco reigned) because it pencils out (easier detailing and installation sequencing too). 

Oh, Miles ... if you don't like EPS because of the article you posted about food containers, there are alternatives for you (I still wouldn't recommend eating your takeout off of any of them though).

One last thing for the OP. You said that one thing that concerns you is that EIFS finish is opaque to vapor and would trap moisture behind it. Sleep well tonight my friend because the finish on your EIFS is likely one of the more vapor open parts of your assembly. Look up some data sheets. I'm looking at Dryvit's DPR finish and it tests to 40 perms. One from Sto is 34 perms. Another one is 26 perms. Anything over 10 is considered vapor permeable or vapor open (aka not a vapor retarder at all).

Ok, one last thing just because it's fun watching people freak out ... 

Nov 23, 21 2:49 pm  · 
 · 

Don't forget the confusion about building wrap.

Nov 23, 21 3:16 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Hey now... some of us are deliberately trying to derail this train.


Nov 23, 21 3:19 pm  · 
1  · 

EA - I never said that a 3 layer stucco over continuous insulation was an 'easy' assembly. No continuous insulation assembly is. What I said that 3 layer stucco performs better and where I practice is less costly than an EFIS assembly.

Nov 23, 21 3:21 pm  · 
 · 

EIFS stands for Exterior Insulation and Finish System, the insulation component is EPS.

Nov 23, 21 3:34 pm  · 
 · 

Building paper, tar paper, felt paper, asphalt-impregnated felt paper, Grade D paper, 60-minute Grade D paper, building wrap, house wrap, HomeWrap(R), CommercialWrap(R), StuccoWrap(R), DrainWrap(TM), WRB, weather-resistive barrier, weather-resistant barrier, weather barrier, etc. Too many to choose from to derail the thread.

Nov 23, 21 3:38 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

What about all the many blueskins and blueskins wannabees? Aka smurf-rap:

Big Papa Smurf rap smurfs biggie notorius big smurf

Nov 23, 21 4:02 pm  · 
2  · 

You want me to get into peel-and-sticks too!? What about liquid-applied products? What about integral weather barriers in/on the sheathing?

Nov 23, 21 4:06 pm  · 
1  · 

Chad:

  • Are you doing 3-coat stucco over CI for Type V buildings only? 
  • Any buildings over 40 feet? 
  • What type of CI are you using?
Nov 23, 21 4:24 pm  · 
 · 
square.

a lot of weird flexing going on here

Nov 23, 21 5:08 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

The beach is that way >

Nov 23, 21 5:45 pm  · 
1  · 

EA - over IIa and V buildings, buildings are between 20 and 80 feet tall, insulation is POLYISO or XPS.

Nov 23, 21 6:38 pm  · 
1  · 

Got your NFPA 285 compliance dialed in for those Type II projects? Pretty sure I've seen compliant assemblies for polyiso, but not sure I've seen it for XPS like you've described.

Nov 23, 21 8:04 pm  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

Do all you experts have a catalog of cutsheets and descriptions you have your young professionals review when they're working CDs or do you have all your knowledge locked up in different random brains at the firm, all with their own quirks and preferences, and make the young professionals guess why the "standard" detail they used on the last job for one PM "SHALL BE FORBODEN" on their next PM's job? We do the latter, you know, can't make it too easy on the young kids these days.

Nov 24, 21 9:44 am  · 
2  · 

Miles, most systems do indeed use EPS, but there are other insulation options if you want them.

Nov 23, 21 3:44 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

I feel it's still close enough to the origin time of this post to blame all of you and especially OP for the Property Condition Assessment that landed on my desk this week, a large conference center built in 1988 with a few early 90s expansions, a significant renovation in 2009 including attempts to repair what must have been extensive and typical EIFS damage from the 'bad' era, repair elevations noting areas of damage and specifying Dryvit outsulation system with 3 sheets of copy-paste (as in literally cribbed from the catalog without alteration) details, and a client description to heavily identify exterior issues.  Was printing/reviewing the existing drawings provided so that I could go out next week.  Will let you know how bad I find it.

Nov 25, 21 12:36 am  · 
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