EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) is a very rare product with a complicate application course of action. One aspect of the time of action that is commonly overlooked is where the product terminates. There are a few things you should know about synthetic stucco terminations.
One – There are several ways to terminate the product, however the most shared include using a pre-basecoated foam board, a starter track, or a waffle strip. Using a pre-basecoated foam board gets the job done, but a problem does arise. Since the pre-basecoated board already has cement on it, it is very stiff and doesn’t conform to the existing wall which makes it near impossible to get the job done right. Typically after you put the foam board on, you sand the foam flat. The pre-basecoated foam board cannot be sanded and for that reason I do not recommend using it. The starter track is my personal favorite of the three. The track is installed and the foam fits into it. It does however, nevertheless have a few drawbacks. The very bottom corner (1 inch) nevertheless cannot be sanded but at the minimum it is slightly flexible. The major drawback of the track is that the front portion that the cement coat is applied to does not allow the cement to to follow it very well. It is much better as long as the fiberglass mesh is taken all the way down to the bottom of the track, but the fact of the matter is that the plastic is not a great surface for cement adhesion. The waffle strip is a good choice and is definitely the cheapest of the three.
Two – It is important to follow the manufacturer’s specifications when it comes to distance from grade the product should be installed. When installing synthetic stucco, it is important not to take it all the way down to the ground. Other cladding typically go all the way to the ground, so I have found that people just assume that Exterior Insulation and Finish System does in addition. During EIFS repair, the finished product will not look the same as the original since the synthetic stucco may have before gone all the way to the ground and the newly repaired area would not. This becomes a problem aesthetically for the customer.
Three – The reason the product is not supposed to be installed too close to grade is because the foam has been known to absorb moisture. The moisture has been known to cause mold and already decay. It also contributes insects like termites. When the product is installed too close to grade where there is cement, the Exterior Insulation and Finish System can buckle in cold weather due to cement heaving. It is also important to keep the synthetic stucco two inches off the roof on a roof rake to let rain run off flow.
In conclusion, most people are not familiar with this product, so already a lot of builders and inspectors do not know the specifications. Typically, a builder or inspector can keep the contractor in check by pointing out things that may not be done correctly. In the case of this product, that is rarely the case. In turn, things are overlooked and no one knows it until years down the road and a problem arises.