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EIFS Inspection


StevenT
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I have to inspect a house for a bank. They question is... "Is the EIFS system a "Barrier "system or "Drainable" system. I understand the difference between the two systems. Other than weep holes at the bottom of walls, what else should I look for to determine which "system" it is. Or is there no way to tell for sure?

My personal feeling is unless there is a "drainage mesh" layer between the vapor barrier and Styrofoam, its not verifiably draining properly. The use the new newer grooved Styrofoam is quite often installed wrong, negating the grooves.

Anyway, what could I look for to determine?

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Hi Rich,

Thanks for the comeback. I will speak to the bank again tomorrow. As of yet I don't know the age of the house, although I thought 1994 was the magic date.

I was able to get some info at http://www.toolbase.org/index.aspx

They pretty much confirmed my feelings. I just was hoping that there was something that I wasn't aware of to look for. I guess if I see the drainage mesh or weep holes I can confirm it, But if I can't, then who knows and that is a no go situation.

WOW!!! does that make me a "deal killer"?

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Don't depend on the date. Many, many conventional EIFS systems are still being installed. I would say around 2002 is when we started seeing a larger percentage of drainage systems. Keep in mind that drainage systems still have major problems if the proper details are not followed.

The weeps are a good thing to look for. Also you might be able to remove an outlet cover and take a look inside the wall, it is possible that you could see the plastic drain material.

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Scott,

You opened my mind, I didn't think about opening outlet covers, etc. Good thinking, thank you so much!

I also agree that improperly installed, grooved foamboard is useless as far as drainage, so any date will not be a positive confirmation. I do feel that a date can help me make a negative assessment.

I also am not fully confident, even with the plastic drain system, especially in the North, where a MOISTURE barrier belongs on the warm side. I feel that any moisture from inside the home will be trapped. and prevent the home/building from "drying out"

Anyway, the bank only wants to know what type of system it is, so I probably will not offer any un-asked for opinion.

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Steven, the moisture barrier will be no different over that found on a brick veneer or lap siding house. Most of the time if it is in place it will be a Tyvek like product. Allows air movement but not the moisture. You will still have the insulation with its vapor barrier on the inside of the wall cavity or the warm side.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

Also you might be able to remove an outlet cover and take a look inside the wall, it is possible that you could see the plastic drain material.

Scott, I've read that and re-read it and, for the life of me, I can't understand what "plastic drain material" Steven is supposed to see by removing a receptacle cover and peaking through that tiny gap between the box and the drywall.

Steven,

Your original assumptions are correct. Unless you have a preformed plastic termination bead with weepholes at the bottom of those walls, I don't see any way that, without destructive testing, speaking to the contractor who applied it, examining the original drawings, or finding any of the EIFS materials stored in the garage, you'll be able to determine whether its barrier or drainage plane type EIFS.

If it's done correctly, it will be either backwrapped or edgewrapped and the only way you'd be able to actually examine what's in the lamina is by cutting into the wall, or by removing something that's penetrating the wall plane, in order to see whats behind the lamina.

For an experienced EIFS inspector who does a lot of them, using a hole saw to cut out a plug, examining it and then repairing the plug is routine, but for a home inspector that doesn't do it all the time?

You'd need permission from the homeowner to cut out a plug and you'd then need the proper repair materials, plus training, to be able to repair the lamina properly, so that the plug you cut out doesn't capture water and cause problems in the future.

Cross your fingers and hope that there is a termination bead viewable, or that the lamina has been done wrong and wasn't backwrapped or edgewrapped, so you'll know definitively that it is a drainage type system, or can write it up as being totally screwed up.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi Mike,

If you take the outlet cover off, 75% of the time you can see the make-up of the wall. Very seldom will this area be backwrapped, or so I have found. Yes, it is suppose to be but it just does not happen. Hopefully you can see the drain mat (lack of a better term) or the drain system that is in place.

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Cross your fingers and hope that there is a termination bead viewable, or that the lamina has been done wrong and wasn't backwrapped or edgewrapped, so you'll know definitively that it is a drainage type system, or can write it up as being totally screwed up.

I have yet to see a drainage type system.

As Gary said, it's nice to be a part of a forum where everyone is smart. I must ask though...isn't "lamina" part of the female anatomy?

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I continue to see EIFS installed in every manner imaginable; there is no cut-off date as near as I can tell.

Even the guys that have the certificate from Dryvit indicating they're trained & competent are still installing non-draining systems w/no kickout flashings, backer rod, or any other recommended detail.

I have never seen an installation, ever, that included all the recommended/required installation details, and I've seen hundreds of installs. Near as I can tell, the stuff was, is, and will continue to be, bad.

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Before I say another word, I must tell you that... I HATE EIFS. I have a very difficult time inspecting it, reason being is that in my opinion it failed before I arrive at the house. Actually, when the bank called, the first words out of my mouth was "I must warn you, I am an enemy of EIFS"

Anyway, since it is an accepted construction technique, I feel that it is my duty to look at each job indivually and objectivly.

By the way, I think that outsulation is a great idea, but has not been perfected yet. And also, by the way, I do have the solution that will fix the problem.

I also have never seen a true drainage system installed with EIFS, I have seen the grooved styrofoam panels used, but usually improperly. I have seen the drainage systen that we speak of used with stone veneer and stone.

Yes I agree that tyveck house wrap is a vapor barrier and allows a home to breath. The moisture barrier material that I am referring to looks like plastic cardboard. It will not let water vapor to pass through it, which is why I have my concern about it allowing a home being able to breath and dry out . Am I saying that right?

Scott, I understood what you meant about removing a cover and Mike your answer is the dead on "true test". I have no problem repairing the test hole that I would have to make... given permission of course... and for a fee. The only problem I would have is with color matching, so the test area would have to be in a hidden spot.

Finally, Chad... Yes, Mary had a little lamina dogina catina birdina...

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Probably too late but.

Here is a SOP and a great source for training http://www.exterior-design-inst.com/practice.html

Here are some inspection guidelines http://www.eima.com/technicaltools/insp ... uidelines/

Here’s some graphics "Guide to Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems Construction" http://www.eima.com/pdfs/Guide_to_EIFS.pdf

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The land of Gar is truly linked to knowledge.

I see more and more of this stuff.

Might be a good idea to learn more and study these systems in order to be qualified.

Personal level I think they look like what they are,but do have some interesting design possibility that may not have been utilized to take advantage of the material as of yet.

Just like brick veneer it revolves around cost so I bet we see more and more of it.

just wish they would keep it off street level where it gets banged up so easy.

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