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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Why is it that so many people, not in this particular forum but in general, are so willing to badmouth EIFS without learning about the system? It seems as if some people are stuck in the 90's. I not only haven't had any problems with the eifs on my home but neither have any of my customers. And I have been a contractor for 15 years. I think that as a rule, you get what you pay for. That is not to say that more expensive is better but most of the subs that lowball or underbid are either starving or are trying to corner the local markets.

RFS
 

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Before I write else, let me say that 7 out of the 10 'dream' homes that I've pictured myself building have EIFS exteriors. When I get around to building it someday I'll be sure to hire a pro like you to install the EIFS. With that being said -

EIFS101 said:
Why is it that so many people badmouth EIFS - It seems as if some people are stuck in the 90's.
Imagine asking in 1955, "Why is it that so many people are willing to badmouth the Germans?" - the 90's just wasn't that long ago. Memories don't fade overnight.

Aggresive marketing often leads to sales that exceed the supply of skill and knowledge needed to properly use a product. Unfortunately for products like Drivit many of us who work on construction sites saw lots of it being applied by those with only marginal skills and knowledge of the product - and we've seen the results since. It also seems to me that the product was marketed to regions where the climate is only marginally compatible with its use. It was probably those factors, more so than the characteristics of EIFS products themselves themselves, that have lead to the "badmouthing" that you've experienced.

EIFS101 said:
I not only haven't had any problems with the eifs on my home but neither have any of my customers.
That speaks volumes to your application skills and knowledge of the product as well as your obvious committment to doing good work.


EIFS101 said:
I think that as a rule, you get what you pay for. If you pay little then you you get very little quality.
"Little" is a relative term. Just because someone pays the lowest of three prices doesn't mean they should get less than they otherwise would have had they decided to purchase the product at a higher price. The hacks can throw out a highball number as good as the next guy. In fact, some of them (the hacks) figure that a customer that'll pay a bigger price is an easier mark. I think a better rule is that you get WHO you pay for. If you hire a quality company it won't matter if you pay more or less - you'll get a quality product.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pipeguy,

I made some changes to my post prior to reading your reply and I am happy to say that we agree on most of the issues. You use the example of the germans, and such. Well I know that not all Germans were and/or are bad. As a matter of fact the Germans invented EIFS, but that is another story. 50 years ago we didn't even have computers. Now we are posting messages in Chesapeake Va. and they are being read in Boise, Idaho almost instantaneously. My point is, what good is it to badmouth the EIFS system of yesteryear, it's almost like badmouthing the abacus. Times have changed and so has EIFS systems and specifications.

RFS
 

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I agree that it's no good to bemoan yesteryear - as long as 'today' is its distant relative and not its first cousin.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I find that articles written all over the net on EIFS to be very inaccurate with similarities to the fire and brimstone scare tactics used by some pulpit grabbers. They range from being accurate on some things (like, EIFS is an exterior insulation blah, blah, blah) to being unfairly vague on other issues (Like, EIFS will fail no matter what. Run for the hills.) One common misconception is that North American builders began using EIFS in the 1980's, first in commercial buildings, then applied it as an exterior finish to residences using the same techniques that had been successful in Europe. That couldn't be further from the truth. For starters construction codes and specs here and in Germany are like night and day. That, plus wood substrates in Europe were virtually nonexistent at the time EIFS was developed and introduced into the European Market. We must also keep in mind that the first line of defense with any cladding is the sealants and joints. That being said you can find moisture related damage in all wall claddings and most can be attributed to lack of caulk or improper installation of caulk. Should we ban sealants, sue sealant manufacturers. That would be rediculous, and so is the implication that EIFS is the thorn in all of residential construction. What sickens me in all this is that nowadays you find more EIFS inspection certification companies scaring the hell out of owners and ripping them off in the process. The problem is not the EIFS but the people putting it on. Starting from the manufacturers who encourage counter sales and stuff like that to the GC's who have their tushs squarely planted on the bottom line and gladly accept low bids from unqualified applicators. In the past 7 years I've done a total of 12 commercial projects. That's it. I completed 35 residential projects last year alone and 30% of those jobs were new contruction or renovations. The fact is EIFS works and homeowners see the benfits of EIFS despite the fanatical rhetoric.
But, that's just my opinion.

RFS
 

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EIFS has a bad rep, but I have used it to make more money.

I very rarely get new construction jobs for being the low bidder. I am usually 2 out of 3 or the highest bidder. But our company reputation in this market helps sell that extra percent. I also make money fixing other people mistakes; I really let the owners have it. I never tell them you should have use me in the first place just charge them a little extra. I justify the extra money by telling them they are not paying just for the labor and materials but our expertise to get the job done right.

Use EIFS bad reputation to your advantage. It is still one of the most used commercial claddings in the United States. It is more cost effective than other claddings and gives you more room for a complex design.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
There's nothing wrong about making a dollar. Just as long as its for an honest days work. There is not too much of that going on. Try to use the current EIFS situation to educate your customers and provide practical solutions to there problems. In the process we learn more and are able to provide a better service. I wouldn't use EIFS as your only cash cow because it really does limit buisiness in the long run.

I try not to take advantage of my customers ignorance when pricing work. I don't mean that statement to sound as bold or emphatic as it probably sounds. But I try to keep business simple. I find that working with informed customers makes the job go smoothly. I haven't had a whole lot of success working with General Contractors. I guess I'm a handy man at heart. I charge my customers for time,material,overhead and profit.

Rob-
 

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EIFS - PRO & CON$

I agree that EIFS is a nice finish, adding lots of architectual options etc. I am a part time remodeler whose primary house is EFIS. Well I finally feel in love with one of my remodels and am selling the EIFS house, whoops I meant TRYING to sell the EIFS. The major problem is that relocation companies will not take EIFS houses into their re-sale program, therefore I am loosing about 50% of my potential buyers right off the bat. We have had over 40 showings in 3 months (about 4 a week) and not an offer, why, b/c of the EIFS (we have been directly told that, the rest of the house is in great shape, priced below comparable brick and in one of the top school districts). Oh, I also talked to relo companies and found that if I ripped the stuff off and replaced it with hardi-stucco-panels, they still would not put it under their program b/c it was at one time EIFS.

Ok, so now what to do. It seems in the realestate world to get the other 50% of the buyers who are not relos to consider buying the place, you need to give them some type of warranty or assurance. Thus my question, what would your recommend? I have narrowed it down to Moisture Warranty Corp, based in NC. My thought is I got to give a potential buyer some type of assurance with $ backing? I got them coming out next week to do the $500 inspection, I am figuring another $4,000 in reparis, $200 for post inspection and $900 for the warranty, or about $5,600! :eek:

I agree that a few bad apples have really stained the reputation of the product. But I also then wonder why DRYVIT agreed on a repair settlement a couple of years ago to inspect and fix the stuff? Net, Net, I am probably taking a $15k to $25K bath on a $400,000 house(5%) vs. a comparable brick or hardcoat house.

So no more EIFS or Stucco for this guy. Cement board, vinyl or brick, not b/c its what I like, b/c that what will sell...
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Marker,

EIFS warranties are only as good as the installation. The Stucco Moisture Warranty is not what I would go with. For starters, if your car was running rough, would you call the car inspector? You would probably call the auto mechanic. The same with these EIFS inspectors and warranty providers. In most cases you'll get an inspector with little or no hands on experience and little to no general construction experience.

So, would you trust the recommendations of a card carrying, twenty something, scanner thumping so-called inspector, or would you rather get the opinion of a reputable EIFS contractor that isn't afraid to give references, knows what to look for, offers practical solutions to your EIFS concerns and offers a transferable warranty. If you go the way of STUCCO MOISTURE WARRANTY, then you will, without a doubt be overcharged. Why? Middlemen.

A competent contractor would back his or her work for life. As I do.
 

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OK the real reason people bad mouth EIFS......

BRICKLAYERS! EIFS has taken a LOT of work from bricklayers. The brickies around this area try to start up the bad mouthing of EIFS in order for people to deny EIFS on their jobs and stick with brick. Obviosuly in order to keep the larger majority of brickies working. The brick layers union in this area even put out commercials trying to shut down EIFS because it is more competitive financially then brick and can leave an excellent product when done correctly.


Another reason is SCABS. There are so many foreign scabs doing this work that dont know the correct way of doing it that ends up ruining this product. When done correctly and caulked correctly it is an excellect and beautiful product. Brick veneer also fails when caulk joints are made correctly and flashing isnt put on correctly. Remember that ever product only prospers if done corretly.

PM
 

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I got an education on EIFS installation when I tried to sell a 4 year old house I had bought new from what I believed was a reputable builder.

I somewhat still believe the builder is reputable but the subs he hired didn't understand water intrusion, flashing roof/windows, or what a real drainable EIFS system was.

From what I could tell only the principal EIFS 'foreman' had ever been to a EIFS manufacturer's school on how to correctly install EIFS. Somewhere between the manufacturer,him, and the actual people doing the work the correct installation process was lost.

What was a drainable system really wasn't. The only part that was, was the bottom drain edge with the holes in it (and 90% of them were covered with stucco).

The windows wern't flashed right. The vinyl/PVC frames lacked integrity and a couple of them leaked into the EIFS cavity (which should have been able to handle the moisture).

There were no kickouts on the roof flashing.

All electrical/plumbing penitrations were just holes with caulking around them.

I could go on and on.

The 1st house inspector the potential buyers hired gave the EIFS a clean bill of health. I was there when he inspected the house. What a joke. His claim to fame was to watch the dishwasher for 2 hours to make sure it actually went through all its cycles correctly. He did 2 moisture tests outside on the EIFS.

The crap hit the fan when termites were found the day before closing. that's when they do the termite inspection in South Carolina.

Potential buyer then hired a EIFS 'expert' inspector. What he found didn't seem to be major (I got the 1 page report) but the guess was about a $12K bill to fix. The buyer backed out.

Well I happened to find a EIFS 'forensic expert' that seemed to have good credentials. By this time I'm gun shy and did investigate him. Hired him to do a 'litigant ready' investigation/report because the original builder was ignoring me.

There was a lot of rot behind the EIFS. It was debatable what was still holding up the front facade of the house. :eek:

Builder still ignored me after I gave him a copy of the report (40 pages). Just got some 'lip service'. Builder blamed all the subs. The subs blamed each other and the window manufacturer.

Enter the lawyers. Found a really experienced lawyer that was very succesful litigating EIFS cases. The builder bought the house back from me but not before the actual lawsuit was filed. The filing was the only thing that got his attention. The lawyer had warned me that this would be the case.

The builder did some MAJOR tearout to fix the problems. I'm glad he is selling it and not me. I would have not been comfortable with his 'fixes'. I feel sorry for the new owners.

I probably started a panic in the SD. Other homeowners have found out they have water entrusion problems to varying degrees.

I have been told (don't know if its true or not) that builders can't get insurance to cover residential EIFS construction in South Carolina. The builder did tell me he doesn't do EIFS anymore.

Oh yeah, the builders 1 year warranty didn't 'hold water' (pun intended) in getting him off the hook.

Now I have a question for the EIFS guys. If I had you do a new 2 story 3000 sq ft house with EIFS for me (through whatever builder was building the house) would you sign up for a 10 year warranty (knowing you would still be in business in 10 years) if I paid you/builder $1k/year to maintain the integrity of the exterior?
 

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You said, "The windows wern't flashed right. The vinyl/PVC frames lacked integrity and a couple of them leaked into the EIFS cavity"

Now tell me how any product should hold up under certain situations like this. Ive said it before and I'll say it again. "If EIFS isnt done correctly the product isnt good. If flashing, caulking, drainage, ect... is all done correctly this product will last for well over 20 years easily." Dont blame the EIFS, blame the guys putting on the flashing, framing and siding. And you hired a what? Forensic EIFS inspector? LOL I live in one of the largest areas for EIFS work in chicago and never did we come across such a rediculously named position. You can simply call up a local STO, DRYVIT and SENERGY rep and they will inspect it. This isnt brain science that needs some "forensic" trained eye. This is construction, do the job correctly like any other aspect of the building trades and the work will hold up. Period.
 

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EIFS Forensic expert was my term, not his. The bottom line was moisture got into the walls and the EIFS installation prevented it from getting out and therefore the walls rotted. There really was no 'drainage plane' when you got down to the real facts. The wall couldn't 'breathe' or 'drain'.

There is no way in he!! you would get a EIFS manufacturer to inspect a residential house and admit their installer ever did anything wrong. They must be settling those lawsuits out of the goodness of their hearts though.

My 'expert' quoted chapter/verse/paragraph/sentence from both the building code in effect at the time and the EIFS manufacturer's own literature to show the install was done incorrectly. The lawyer I hired had over 15 years (extensive) experience taking the EIFS industry to court (and successfully winning). If you really want to see a pi$$ing contest, watch the window manufacturers and EIFS manufacturers go head to head on whose problems the leaks really are. Throw in the roofing guys for good measure.

Why did they go from the barrier system to the drainable system? Its because they finally realized its impossible (with normal building practices and environment conditions) to keep 100% of the moisture out of the walls (on a residential, wood framed, house). You have to plan for moisture to get in and therefore plan for a way to get it out.

You two from unionized areas have 'union' on the brain. Shoddy workmanship is shoddy workmanship. Unionization has nothing to do with it. I guess you have lots of reason to hate 'romex' too. Probably can justify all day long why to do residential homes in conduit too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti union. I'm even pro union in most cases (to protect the worker).

Unionization, or the lack of it, had nothing to do with the fiasco about EIFS in North Carolina back in the late 80's, early, 90's (and continues, to some extent, today). Unrealistic expectations set forth by the EIFS manufacturers/builders, coupled with questionable installation practices is what the problem was/is.

Why don't you come down to the south east and unionize the residential building trades? Better yet, bring some of the UAW guys to go unionize the foreign car manufacturers and show them how to make better cars. Yeah, that is what we need. Show Toyota how to make even better quality cars so then can cause the big 3 (Ford, GM, Chrysler) to lose even more business.

So who is anyone going to give out a 10 year warranty on their EIFS installation given that I'll pay you to do it the right way and pay you $1K/year to maintain it?

I'm betting its easier to stick to a worthless 1 year warranty and take your lumps if a savy homeowner ever has a problem and knows how to get your attention.

I wouldn't 'hit a dog in the a$$' with a EIFS job done on a residential home.
 

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The problem with EIFS is that it has to be done right, 100%, every time. That is an admirable goal, but difficult to achieve through the design and engineering phase all the way till the acrylic hits the wall.

Currently, EIFS is undergoing a sea change in design and expectations, which should improve it's performance and it's acceptability. The primary issue is that it relies on a 100% waterproof envelope, and this is simply not practical. Allowance must be made for the inevitable water intrusion to escape.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah EIFS is great. But there has to be a better way to apply the stuff. Caulking should not be the primary defense against moisture intrusion. And EIFS should not be applied onto wood substrates.
EIFS should only be applied on cemetious substrates. That's only my opinion.
 

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I am in the process of starting an EIFS division. The demand for qualified applicators here is scary. I have my builders breathing down my neck to get the division up and running so they can kick thier current contractor to the curb and get me in there. It is just taking a lil longer than I thought it would.

EIFS is just going to get bigger and bigger, and will replace traditional exterior applications one day as it becomes cheaper and more available, and as more contractors learn to apply it. People will always want brick and siding..but EIFS will have a concrete place in there with them.
 

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Be sure and keep your insurance paid up, as well as your training and quality control. There is money to be made in synthetic stucco, but you better do it right the first time or it will be a short and bitter trip through the court system before you are done.
 

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The problems with EIFS go much deeper than just applying it correctly.

The application of the system (not just the stucco coating) is difficult and can be very touchy, even with trained appliers.

The system has the property of being able to magnify the errors of other trades, so it is pointed at as the cause of the problems.

Just a minor problem with vapor barriers, house wrap or a window installation can cause big-time problem with EIFS that do not happen with other systems. - That is why EIFS is not permitted in wood frame in some areas. It is permited with concrete or concrete masonry as far as I know.
 
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