What I'm Seeing Now

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Older EIFS In Northern Virginia, With All The Expected Problems

It's not often that I see older EIFS in Northern Virginia, with all the expected problems.

EIFS is an acronym for Exterior Insulation Finish System and it is the generic word used when referring to "synthetic stucco."

The first synthetic stucco used was a Styrofoam product literally glued right to the house.  If water got behind, through gaps around windows and doors, the caulked unions between two panels or even cracking, it had no way to evaporate.

When water stands against wood materials it will encourage fungus, rot and microbial growth.

This is a poorly installed window.

It was installed by the builder.  The house is 15 years old.

The EIFS was merely abutted to windows and doors, but not very close.

To fill the gaps huge amounts of caulking were gooped in there.

And as water continued to get it the EIFS continued to sag and admit more water.

The results over time are predictable.

The lavender, blue and purple in the thermal image represents moisture.

And why would it not be there?

Moisture has a different thermal signature than surrounding material, and, when colder, demonstrates itself as in this image.

That image is just under the corner of the window.

But the entirety of the underside of the window looks like this.

And this is only ONE of many windows on this house so installed!

You get what you pay for.

Obviously, when holes develop UNDER the EIFS, you want to seal it with huge amounts of caulking.

Perfect!  Nailed it!

That's tongue in cheek of course.  It is horrible work!

A bead of caulking should not be wider than 1/4" typically, UNLESS the tube says it can be!

This is regular old latex caulking, and NOT intended to be as wide as shown above.

My recommendation:  product and installation are everything.  Sometimes products don't prove to be bad ideas for a while.  But installation should ALWAYS be done in strict accordance with the manufacturers' recommendations.  When it is not, disaster almost always results.  This house is a disaster!

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • November 03 2013 05:03AM

Comments

I see errors on most EIFS installations. Not surprising since it is a very uncommon finish in my area. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

I see a lot of this style of exterior finishes.

I find all kinds of issues when inspecting. As the "Latex caulking" goes, I don't recommend it being used on the exterior unless there is a silicone in the mix. If no silicone in the mix then the caulking will dry out and become brittle.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie.

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 5 years ago

It's common here, at least until the new EIFS took hold - faux stone!  And the beat goes on Jim.

Clint - I like siliconized acrylic too but the new elastomerics are great.  Still, they aren't intended to be 1.5" thick!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay. We often see EIFS in our area (especially on higher end homes) and have shown a number of homes with it. Not one of our buyers have purchased those homes, in part because we saw a water problem on every one of them. The cost of regular maintenance and repair definitely scares the buyers away.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 5 years ago

Even the new stuff, with the drainage provided as a part of the system, has to be installed right and investigated often Tom.  It has problems too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

uh oh....water is never a house friendly element...and here is one more place it may be a hazard !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

EIFS is very often the water place S&D!  And its installation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Many of these homes required the the entire EFS be pulled off the house and start over.  UGH.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 5 years ago

That's true Cindy.  One neighborhood off of Lawyer's Road between Reston and Vienna had every house ripped apart!  They replaced it with vinyl siding!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Following your lead, a little Wrigley's Spearment gum... ok, a LOT of it would take care of this el quicko! Not sure if it will lose it's flavor...

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

I'm with you Fred.  What, oh what, were these people thinking?

Don't I always preach the right product for the right application?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, it will indeed be interesting to see if the Faux Stone becomes the next EIFS.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

'Sho is round heah Charlie.

A problem a local county refused to get involved with (certainly with some builder pay off) was discussed here a while ago!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3104221/faux-stone-might-become-the-new-eifs-

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay - Thank you for sharing an excellent blog about older EIFS in Northern Virginia with all the expected problems.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) over 5 years ago

It is what it is John.  I am the reporter!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay - The house down the street from us has EIFS problems from poor installation, now being addressed after 2 different failed inspections. The repair bill is going to be in the $40k range.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 5 years ago

I hear you Dick!  See the link to Charlie above about faux stone!  More of same!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

 Good morning, Jay. I do have a problem when it comes to EFIS. If it is installed correctly, it is a great product as it lends itself to the architectural features that are not able to be produced by standard construction methodologies. Most people do not realize that the product needs to be evaluated and certified every five years.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Michael - I recommend to my clients that they have a careful look twice a year.  I have not heard of the certification thing!  Around here I have no idea who would do it.  People can't even get someone to investigate it.  So they call me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

EIFS done right is a beautiful thing but homeowners need to stay on top of actually looking out for their own interests. I can't count how many EIFS homes I've come across that are in horrendous condition simply because the homeowner, for whatever reason, failed to repair simple issues that inevitably turn into huge messes.

Posted by Ed Santana, Modern Wall Systems, EIFS Wall Systems Specialist (Modern Wall Systems) about 1 year ago

You found an oldie but a goodie, Ed.  Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 1 year ago

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