Stucco and EIFS
One thing we should clear up first before we start. Stucco is not EIFS and EIFS is not stucco. Though it is common for homeowners to refer to EIFS as stucco, the two are quite different.
What is stucco?
Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a coating for walls and ceilings and for decoration as well. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials such as concrete, cinder block, or brick.
As a building material, stucco is a durable, attractive, and weather-resistant wall covering. The finish coat usually contains an integral color and was typically textured for appearance.
While we do have a few traditional installers of stucco, we tend to focus on EIFS since it carries energy efficient qualities while providing the same aesthetic values of traditional stucco.
What is EIFS?
Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is a type of building product that provides exterior walls with an insulated finished surface and waterproofing in an integrated composite material system.
Basic EIFS (called Barrier EIFS) are generally made up of three (3) parts;
A layer of foam insulation
A layer consisting of a fiberglass reinforcing mesh ( or “mesh”) embedded in a cementitous adhesive
A final topcoat, usually referred to as finish coat
Another type is called an EIFS with Drainage, which is a barrier EIFS to which a water drainage capability has been added. This type of EIFS is required by many building codes on areas with wood frame construction and is intended to provide a path for incidental water that may get behind the EIFS with a safe route back to the outside. This would be the first layer added on top of your substrate.
Below is an example of EIFS with Drainage. Please refer to the labels on the diagram to get a better understanding of how this system is installed.
**PLEASE NOTE** This is only one example of an EIFS system. There are different options available depending on the substrate of your project.