EIFS Inspection Services In Miami-Dade County
EIFS, also known as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems are a very popular exterior cladding system throughout Miami and the rest of Florida. There are literally thousands of structures in Florida that use EIFS as the exterior cladding material. You’ll commonly see EIFS on hotels, office buildings, car dealerships, strip malls, and other commercial structures, especially commercial structures with many architectural variations such as curved exterior walls. Sometimes EIFS is used on residential properties but more than likely it’s stucco on a residential property (which is different).
EIFS combines an exterior finish with a layer of exterior insulation. An EIFS system has a few different components including polymeric (an organic material) bonded aggregate that is cement reinforced against a glass mesh as the substrate. Whenever you have an exterior cladding system with multiple layers you can create places where moisture or water can collect if it penetrates the exterior finish.
Rain and water penetration due to a number of installation factors is where most of the EIFS system failures occur. Do you have an EIFS installation that you believe is beginning to fail? Do you have cracks developing or is the EIFS actually pulling away from the structure? If you think your exterior EIFS walls are beginning to deteriorate then it’s time to call a professional out for a thorough and detailed EIFS inspection.
How Often Should You Inspect Your EIFS Exterior?
Your EIFS should definitely be inspected if you’ve discovered a problem but most major EIFS manufacturers (Dryvit, Senergy, Sto, and Parex) recommend annual inspections for your EIFS system so you can catch any problems as they are developing and not after extensive water damage has been caused.
So What Do We Look For In An EIFS Inspection?
#1. How Old Is Your Exterior EFIS? One of the first things we need to know is the age of your EIFS exterior. EIFS has come a long way since the 1980’s when it became really popular. The earlier EIFS systems were often installed with what is known as a “face-sealed system” or “Barrier EIFS” and was fairly common up until the year 2000 or so. The face-sealed system provided no avenue for water and moisture to drain from behind the EIFS if water penetration happened to occur. The components in these early EIFS systems were also very sensitive to moisture. Materials like gypsum board, or OSB plywood do not like getting wet, hence why there are so many problems with face-sealed systems used for exterior cladding applications.
The EIFS systems we’re using in construction today are called “Drained EIFS Systems” or also referred to as “Water Managed EIFS”. The Drained EIFS system is an excellent choice for exterior cladding in all types of climates as it provides mechanisms for water and moisture to drain away from the system.
When we inspect your EIFS wall system we need to determine what type it is and how old it is and this can usually be completed with a quick visual inspection. Often the building owner may not know when the system was installed or what method was used during construction.
#2. Inspecting Horizontal Joints At Floor Lines: With wood framed structures it’s not uncommon for wood to have what we call in the industry as “cross grain shrinkage”. This happens when the wood being used loses some of it’s moisture. The wood can twist, or bulge, and this can wreak havoc on an EIFS system, causing cracking, wrinkling, bulging, and outright failure. This type of failure will usually happen within the first couple of years after initial construction.
If you have a newer structure and you’ve noticed cracking or bulging of your EIFS system close to these horizontal joints this could be the problem we’ll discover with an inspection.
#3. Proper Application Of Sealant Around Joints and Openings: One of the more common causes of EIFS failure we see is when the installer either used the wrong sealant around joints, it wasn’t applied properly, or in some cases wasn’t even applied at all. Proper application of sealant is required to provide a weather seal and prevent and water intrusion where the EIFS meets up against other materials such as the joints around windows, doors, and other exterior features on the building.
#4. Termination Above Roofing Or Decking: “termination” refers to any location where the EIFS system comes to an end against another exterior cladding material or an expansion joint or any other type of penetration like a door, duct, pipe, window, or electrical. In this case, up against roofing materials or a deck or patio. At these exposed ends water can get into the system if proper precautions haven’t been followed. Ideally there is a gap in these places that allows for proper flashing to be installed to prevent water from entering.
#5. Proper Diversion At Roof Wall Intersections: Water runoff from your structure should be directed out and away from the EIFS system. For example, water runoff from a roof and constantly running over an EIFS exterior wall could eventually find a way in behind the system. To protect against this proper kickouts or “diverters” need to be in place where the EIFS butts up against another cladding material such as your roof or another exterior wall.
EIFS Inspection “How To” Video
Miami Fresh Renovations Specializes In EIFS Inspections
If you’re having problems with your exterior EIFS the team at Miami Fresh Renovations has the experience and technical know-how to help. Through a detailed inspection we can discover the source of the problem and provide you with a plan and estimate to repair it properly according to industry standards so you can have that peace-of-mind.
If you’d like to schedule your EIFS Wall Inspection please give us a call (786) 382-1507 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll get right back to you.