this section, we will define Stucco, and answer some questions about
its past and future.
Stuccos for Sale
Hardcoat versus Synthetic (EIFS) Stucco
The “skin” of traditional Hardcoat Stucco
is a mix of sand, Portland cement, a little lime and water in three layers.
Underneath that is a variety of substraints such as OSB or plywood, a
waterproof barrier, lathe/mesh, and flashings.
Hardcoat has numerous advantages. It can achieve compressive strengths
in excess of 3,000 pounds per square inch. Ladders, baseballs, and rocks
will rarely dent it. If you have a talented plasterer, you have unlimited
surface texture possibilities. Furthermore, if you use time tested installation
methods, you can create a weather tight barrier to
Synthetic Stucco or EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finishing System) was introduced to the US in 1969 by Dryvit Systems, Inc. because of its exceptional insulating qualities, durability, and curb appeal. EIFS’ multi-layered systems typically consist of a polystyrene-based insulation board, a base coat reinforced by glass fiber mesh, and an acrylic polymer finish coat. (link to www.parex/basics.html and pickup the layering substrate picture)
Although it resembles Hardcoat Stucco, EIFS has far more flexibility and can be fashioned into a variety of architectural shapes such as decorative trims, archways, and window and door trim accents.
EIFS outperforms most other exterior wall claddings such as brick and siding in insulating against the winter cold and the summer heat. Click here to read more about this energy efficiency. By design, EIFS is a moisture barrier system, but as with any exterior cladding, moisture can seep behind the system at windows, doors and other penetrations that are not properly sealed or in good condition.
Even more important, EIFS finish-coat is designed to resist dirt, mildew and mold, and when dirt does collect on the surface, it can easily be washed off with a hose or a hose in combination with a soft bristle brush. Since it is colorfast (although it may fade a bit throughout the years), it does not require painting. If surface is scratched, the same color appears beneath the abrasion.
Unlike Hardcoat, EIFS is crack-resistant and will take most building settling or movement.
Why is Stucco a “Problem”?
If the stucco system was installed correctly, but proper maintenance of the other elements (windows, doors, siding, trimwork, etc) has been ignored, the moisture-barrier properties of the stucco system can work against the homeowner. For instance, if window sills have been allowed to rot and pass moisture behind the stucco cladding, the moisture barrier does not allow for quick evaporation of the dampness, especially for EIFS. Continued exposure to moisture over time can deteriorate the wall structure of a home and create a situation conducive to mold growth. Eliminating leaks through the sealing of unlike cladding materials and continued maintenance of windows, doors, trim, roof, gutters, and siding, can eliminate this problem in our area. EIFS homes properly maintained and sealed are not “problems.”
Hardcoat Stucco homes are more forgiving of minor moisture intrusion. In addition, being a cement product, like your sidewalk and driveway, when it becomes wet, it allows moisture to evaporate back out.
What about Mold?
If concerned, you can arrange to have your home properly tested for
mold. Click here to get a list of recommended
companies that test for mold.
In 2002-03, Dryvit Systems Inc. came to a class-action suit settlement
(link to www.stuccosettlement.com)
had to file for benefits before June 2004. There have not been any settlement
agreements since then.
Despite years of “bad press,” the commercial market continues to clad 30% of their new construction in EIFs due to its insulating ability and its beauty/versatility.
Residential builders are beginning to use newer EIFS systems which include a drainage arrangement to help trapped moisture to escape easily. One contemporary EIFS system, the DRYVIT Residential MD System PS 440 is engineered to drain moisture away to the exterior. A drainage plane is installed between secondary weather barrier and the insulation board. Water is allowed to “weep” to the exterior. (By the way, most Georgia County Codes now call for brick homes to have similar “weep hole” drainage systems to avoid trapping moisture behind the brick!)
New EIFs outer layer products have improved dirt pickup resistance and proven mildew growth resistance.
Many manufacturers are now offering builders and their buyers 30-year transferable homeowner warranty programs for one- and two-family homes.
This site is sponsored by Lynne Davis of Keller Williams®