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Building with EIFS
by Michael DeLaura, LEED AP
Photos courtesy Sto Corp.
AMONG THE EFFORTS TO CREATE MORE
ENERGY-EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE
BUILDINGS, THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT
TOWARD LIGHTWEIGHT CLADDING
OPTIONS FOR THE EXTERIOR. ONE SUCH
PRODUCT IS EXTERIOR INSULATION AND
FINISH SYSTEMS (EIFS).
EIFS provide a number of features and beneﬁts
including an air barrier, continuous insulation (ci),
and an aesthetic ﬁnish. The assemblies trace their
roots back to early 1950s Germany. Originally
designed for commercial use, EIFS made their way
into the residential market in Europe a decade later.
Introduced into the United States in 1969, the
product has evolved over the last 45 years. It gained
popularity in the 1970s as a result of higher utility
costs and the need to improve energy efﬁciency.
The original product consisted of an adhesive
applied with a notched trowel to form vertical
ribbons that attach the expanded polystyrene (EPS)
insulation board to the substrate. The EPS was then
rasped or sanded before application of a base coat,
which then had a ﬁberglass mesh embedded into it.
The mesh is embedded into the basecoat over the
entire surface of the EPS for reinforcement of the
20 the construction speciﬁer | december 2013
2013-11-14 2:39 PM