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Proper Installation of Synthetic Stucco

James T Wood

Synthetic stucco, or Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) is a nearly waterproof, lightweight siding solution that was invented in Germany after World War II to re-side war-damaged buildings. It has since been imported to the United States for commercial and domestic buildings.

Proper EIFS installation can create a long-lasting home siding.

With its advantages, EIFS has one major disadvantage in that it does not allow water to evaporate out from behind it, so if it is improperly installed water can become trapped and damage the material behind the EIFS.

  1. Inspect the substrate onto which the EIFS will be installed. Look for any moisture or holes. Dry out or replace any wet material and patch any holes. Check the flashing around the doors and windows for any damage. Repair or replace damaged flashing.

  2. Install a weather barrier or drainage system. Ensure that the weather barrier is correctly lapped so that the upper layer is over the lower layer to keep moisture outside the weather barrier. Think of how roof shingles are lapped with the upper over the lower and mimic that with the weather barrier.

  3. Adhere the EIFS insulation system to the weather barrier. Each EIFS brand will provide its own insulation board and adhesive. Comply with the directions that came with your EIFS product. Use "L" shaped pieces of foam around the openings in the walls (doors and windows) and integrate the foam together at the joints. Use slivers of foam to seal any gaps.

  4. Trowel on the base coat to the insulation boards. Keep the coat even across the entire surface. Embed the mesh in the base coat completely so that it butts against the insulation panels.

  5. Apply the finishing coat over the base coat once the base coat is completely dry. Work continuously around the building to avoid any seams or breaks in the siding.

  6. Caulk the edges of the EIFS where it comes into contact with the windows and doors.