Building Defects and Construction Issues Causing EIFS Problems | Best Pick Reports
Unfortunately, many Atlanta homes using EIFS were not well designed
and well constructed. Furthermore, when many homeowners first
identified the resulting construction defects, either their builder
warranty had expired or their builder was unavailable. Some previously
accepted building practices are now known to cause problems. While many
construction defects and building practices contribute to EIFS
problems, a few seem to be more common than others.
Missing flashing at the roof-vertical wall joint.
During original construction, some builders fail to install step and
kick-out flashing along the roof-vertical wall joint. In a properly
constructed house, as rain falls onto the roof and runs along an
EIFS-clad exterior wall, the step flashing keeps the water from
penetrating the joint. At the eave, the kick-out flashing then diverts
the water away from the wall and into the gutter. Without such
flashing, moisture is readily trapped behind the EIFS and damages the
home. To prevent further damage, the correct flashing must be installed.
Deck-house joints. Some
builders attach decks after the house is nearly complete and after the
EIFS is installed. Often, the deck crew anchors the deck to the frame
of the house by drilling holes through the EIFS. Large bolts are
installed through the band board and through the deck. Then the bolts
are tightened, pulling the deck to the house. In many cases, this
process leaves either cracks or holes in the EIFS where water enters
the wall, thus creating damage. Special flashing can prevent this
problem. However, many builders do not install it.
Lack of caulk at dissimilar junctions and penetrations.
A dissimilar junction is any place where a non-EIFS material, such as
wood, touches the EIFS. Penetrations of the EIFS occur at areas such as
window openings and light fixtures. When such junctions and
penetrations are not properly caulked, a gap allows water behind the
EIFS. Temperature fluctuations exacerbate the problem, as dissimilar
materials contract and expand at varying rates.
EIFS extending to the ground.
Historically, extending EIFS all the way to the ground was a generally
accepted building practice. However, Georgia building codes were
changed in 1997. The new codes require the builder to leave a six-inch
gap between the EIFS or other foam insulation board and the ground. The
gap is intended to prevent termites from finding an easy pathway into
the home and to allow for easy inspection for termite companies.
Currently, some termite companies will not put an EIFS-clad home under
contract unless it has the six-inch gap. Stucco repair contractors can
terminate EIFS that extends below the acceptable grade. The EIFS is cut
and trimmed, then sealed to the foundation.