The advantages of EIFS are more than energy efficiency and design flexibility. It is also easy to maintain. EIFS rarely requires painting. Most are made exclusively with 100-percent-acrylic binders that help prevent fading, chalking, and yellowing. As a result, most buildings tend to maintain their original look over time. Early EIFS walls were installed in the late 1960s and most are still in service today. EIFS also resists dirt, germs, and mold, which keeps the building exterior looking cleaner and freshly painted.
Like all cladding, EIFS requires some regular maintenance. It includes routine cleaning, surface crack repair, and sealant maintenance.
David Bowin, president and CEO of Sto Corporation and president of EIMA, said, “Periodically, the EIFS may need to be cleaned to remove dirt, algae or debris that has accumulated on the surface.” “A good cleaning can often restore the appearance of EIFS.”
What kind of maintenance is required for an EIFS?
Periodic cleaning is recommended to maintain the original look. Impact damage or punctures sometimes require repair to restore surface integrity. Like all cladding, remover components such as sealants and flashing should be inspected and maintained periodically.
How can you clean the finish coat?
EIFS manufacturers provide cleaning methods on specific systems. Periodically EIFS finishes need to be cleaned to remove dirt, algae (usually green spots on the surface of the finish) or germs (usually black spots) that have accumulated on the surface. Mild clean detergents and low-pressure cold water and a soft-bristle brush. Do not use the following: Solvent-based Cleaners; High water pressure; Hot water; Or wire brush.
Repair surface cracks
EIFS is designed to be extremely flexible, which makes them exceptionally resistant to cracking problems that are very common with stucco, concrete, and brick exteriors. EIFS, however, can develop small surface cracks. Surface cracks are little surface defects. Chips, spills, or cracks which don’t penetrate outside EIFS base coat. Surface cracks should always be repaired before any refreshing of EIFS coating.
Be careful about water intrusion
Another important activity is inspecting and maintaining flashing and ceilings to ensure that the building envelope remains waterproof. You should repair or replace damaged or missing flashing. Cracked or degraded sealants should also be repaired or replaced as aging effects, or sometimes design or installation deficiencies can lead to premature failure.
Clean before restoring
It is also important to clean the EIFS before restoring or rebuilding to ensure good adherence to the topcoats that can be applied to the EIFS finish. In most cases, the earthen surface can be cleaned with low-pressure cooling water, mild cleaning detergent, and a soft-bristle brush.
What materials can I use to re-coat my EIFS?
In situations where you may wish to change the color of the building or paint the building for any other reason, manufacturers produce several quality paint products (acrylic or elastomeric) to re-coat and enhance the existing coating. Other options are to use standard, high grade 100% acrylic exterior grade paint. Before re-coating, appropriate repairs should be made and the surface should be cleaned to remove any contaminants.
Who do I contact if I need repairs?
EIFS manufacturers provide a “distributor locator” on their website to identify distributors near you. The distributor can help you identify suitable qualified contractors.
Last Few Words
EIFS will provide an attractive lightweight cladding for a building. However, experience has clearly shown that rainwater must be managed and that the perfect barrier method of sealing the mouth (reliance on open sealant) cannot provide acceptable rain control or durability. For relevant moisture drying, such assemblies should not have internal vapor barriers or impermeable interior finishes. An important exception to this growing requirement is where the sewer is also insulated with a vapor impermeable air barrier membrane and internal framing cavities.
Your Exterior Insulation and Finishing Systems (EIFS) can give you the life of your building, but like everything that is maintained, this is the key to a lifetime.