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EIFS vs Stucco


John Dirks Jr
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What are some easy ways to tell the difference between the two? I know what the make ups are. I want to know easy ways to tell the difference in the finished product.

Can you tell by just knocking on it with your knuckle and listening for the difference in sound? What about visual differences in the two? Any tell tale signs?

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Look for the complete lack of any intelligent installation practice. If it's completely lacking all signs of throughtful installation, it's EIFS.

I'm joking, but only partially.....[:-paperba

I rap on it w/my knuckles. If you tap EIFS and then stucco, you can tell the difference.

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Rapping on it can tell you if you have a cementitious base or a foam one, but I would think the presence of vertical control joints would be a better clue. Stucco systems use them, but I'm not aware of any true EIFS product that does.

I agree that pulling a cover plate is the best way to see if it is backwrapped. Also the acryllic finish coat is a giveaway. It is very easy to mistake one coat for EIFS just by rapping the knuckles on the surface (which usualy has a acrylic paint over the system. The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

One coat has different problems associated with it that are harder to detect than in three coat systems. Still less likely to have problems than EIFS.

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Rapping on it can tell you if you have a cementitious base or a foam one, but I would think the presence of vertical control joints would be a better clue. Stucco systems use them, but I'm not aware of any true EIFS product that does.

I agree that pulling a cover plate is the best way to see if it is backwrapped. Also the acryllic finish coat is a giveaway. It is very easy to mistake one coat for EIFS just by rapping the knuckles on the surface (which usualy has a acrylic paint over the system.

A PB (polymer base) lamina is flexible and easy to distinguish. A PM (polymer modified) is like a concrete finish, it is hard and brittle)

The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

No, this is not a good way to tell. Many EIFS clad homes do not have the required sealants at the penetrations. Yes, they are required to have the sealants but I would say that 75% of the time I don't find it.

One coat has different problems associated with it that are harder to detect than in three coat systems. Still less likely to have problems than EIFS.

To a point this is true. All stucco and EIFS clad homes still need to have the proper details and flashing to keep the water out.

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Rapping on it can tell you if you have a cementitious base or a foam one, but I would think the presence of vertical control joints would be a better clue. Stucco systems use them, but I'm not aware of any true EIFS product that does.

I agree that pulling a cover plate is the best way to see if it is backwrapped. Also the acryllic finish coat is a giveaway. It is very easy to mistake one coat for EIFS just by rapping the knuckles on the surface (which usualy has a acrylic paint over the system.

A PB (polymer base) lamina is flexible and easy to distinguish. A PM (polymer modified) is like a concrete finish, it is hard and brittle)

Yes and if the PB is used as the finish coat for three coat plaster. identifying the PB does you no good. Again the simplest way is to take the plate off and look for the backwrap.

The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

No, this is not a good way to tell. Many EIFS clad homes do not have the required sealants at the penetrations. Yes, they are required to have the sealants but I would say that 75% of the time I don't find it.

Yes this is a good way to tell since if you come across a properly sealed EIFS job you can identify it be the sealant joints. If he comes across a house that has EIFS and is missing sealant joints that is a whole nother problem. I was using this as an indicator not the holy grail.

One coat has different problems associated with it that are harder to detect than in three coat systems. Still less likely to have problems than EIFS.

To a point this is true. All stucco and EIFS clad homes still need to have the proper details and flashing to keep the water out.

Water is wet the sky is blue .... Yep

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The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

No, this is not a good way to tell. Many EIFS clad homes do not have the required sealants at the penetrations. Yes, they are required to have the sealants but I would say that 75% of the time I don't find it.

Yes this is a good way to tell since if you come across a properly sealed EIFS job you can identify it be the sealant joints. If he comes across a house that has EIFS and is missing sealant joints that is a whole nother problem. I was using this as an indicator not the holy grail.

Stucco can and should have sealants as well at dissimilar joining's. It is not only an EIFS criteria. Also DEFS falls into this category.

The simple way to tell if a wall is a true EIFS wall is to simply knock on it with either your hand, knuckles or anything you like. Just be careful not to damage it. It will have a hollow sound. Stucco will have a solid sound as will DEFS.

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The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

No, this is not a good way to tell. Many EIFS clad homes do not have the required sealants at the penetrations. Yes, they are required to have the sealants but I would say that 75% of the time I don't find it.

Yes this is a good way to tell since if you come across a properly sealed EIFS job you can identify it be the sealant joints. If he comes across a house that has EIFS and is missing sealant joints that is a whole nother problem. I was using this as an indicator not the holy grail.

Stucco can and should have sealants as well at dissimilar joining's. It is not only an EIFS criteria. Also DEFS falls into this category.

The simple way to tell if a wall is a true EIFS wall is to simply knock on it with either your hand, knuckles or anything you like. Just be careful not to damage it. It will have a hollow sound. Stucco will have a solid sound as will DEFS.

As I said before the knocking is an indicator of it being EIFS, however one coat plaster systems have the same hollow sound. SO the hollow sound is not the only indicator. Sealant joints are also an indicator but are not always proof positive.

Per Johns question I have given some indicators of EIFS none of these are a guarantee of it being EIFS.

As far as three coat plaster having sealant at dissimilar joinings, well yes if you mean ASTM 1063 c at sealant at joints of bases then yes, but if you go to PBA publication PA395 on page 2 it lays out that EIFS and Portland cement plaster are very dissimilar in as much as EIFS is a barrier system. Portland based plaster allows water into the system and has a drainage plane to allows it to exit. Again if you need sealant on the surface of plaster you are only dealing with the symptom not the issue of the leaking flashing. If you have a leaking flashing adding all the caulk you can to the surface it will still leak.

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The other main way to tell is the sealant at windows and transitions, there arent many systems that use sealants throughout the system like EIFS.

No, this is not a good way to tell. Many EIFS clad homes do not have the required sealants at the penetrations. Yes, they are required to have the sealants but I would say that 75% of the time I don't find it.

Yes this is a good way to tell since if you come across a properly sealed EIFS job you can identify it be the sealant joints. If he comes across a house that has EIFS and is missing sealant joints that is a whole nother problem. I was using this as an indicator not the holy grail.

Stucco can and should have sealants as well at dissimilar joining's. It is not only an EIFS criteria. Also DEFS falls into this category.

The simple way to tell if a wall is a true EIFS wall is to simply knock on it with either your hand, knuckles or anything you like. Just be careful not to damage it. It will have a hollow sound. Stucco will have a solid sound as will DEFS.

As I said before the knocking is an indicator of it being EIFS, however one coat plaster systems have the same hollow sound. SO the hollow sound is not the only indicator. Sealant joints are also an indicator but are not always proof positive.

Per Johns question I have given some indicators of EIFS none of these are a guarantee of it being EIFS.

As far as three coat plaster having sealant at dissimilar joinings, well yes if you mean ASTM 1063 c at sealant at joints of bases then yes, but if you go to PBA publication PA395 on page 2 it lays out that EIFS and Portland cement plaster are very dissimilar in as much as EIFS is a barrier system. Portland based plaster allows water into the system and has a drainage plane to allows it to exit. Again if you need sealant on the surface of plaster you are only dealing with the symptom not the issue of the leaking flashing. If you have a leaking flashing adding all the caulk you can to the surface it will still leak.

Oops I was driving down the street an realized I miss quoted ASTM 1063 I meant ASTM C 926 A2.1.3

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EIFS... Exterior Insulation Finishing System.

The key word is Insulation, with EIFS is usually EPS or XPS, either way, it is a styrofoam type insulation. When you rap on it, and is sounds like it's installed over foamboard, it's EIFS.

It can get confusing when a thin hardcoat is applied over plywood. It could sound hollow. That is where the thumb pushing comes in.

Sometimes you will see the EIFS basecoat and finish coat directly on concrete. This is not EIFS.

I've also seen basecoat and finishcoat directly on wood, this is not EIFS either. If the foamboard is not there, it is not EIFS.

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