EIFS - architectural acrylic coatings have revolutionized the concept of stucco veneer on building exteriors; most evident with the application of polymer based stucco overtop insulation providing a thermally efficient and crack resistant cladding. The growing popularity of EIFS can be attributed to its superior energy efficiency, flexibility of texture and design, with unlimited color
selection. Architectural detailing is more cost effective with EIFS; such as cornices, arches, columns, keystones, and decorative accents.
A common example is what is called one-coat stucco, which is a thick, acrylic stucco applied in a single layer (traditional stucco is applied in 3 layers). There is also an EIFS-like product called a Direct-Applied Finish System (or DAFS), which is essentially an EIFS but without the insulation, and has quite different characteristics.
EIFS are proprietary systems of a particular EIFS producer and consist of specific components. EIFS are not generic products made from common separate materials. Adhesives and Finishes are water-based, and must be installed at temperatures well above freezing. Two types of Adhesives are used with EIFS: those that contain Portland Cement ("cementitious"), or do not have any Portland Cement ("cementless"). Adhesives that contain Portland Cement harden by the chemical reaction of the cement with water. Finishes that are cementless harden by the evaporation of water - like house paint.
To function properly, EIFS needs to be architecturally designed and installed as a system. EIFS consists of a number of layers that are installed in the following order. The most basic EIFS (a barrier EIFS) consists of 3 layers:
1. A layer of foam plastic insulation (also called simply "foam") that comes in the form of sheets 2' x 4'. If an adhesive is used to attach the insulation, the adhesive is applied to the foam with a trowel. Most EIFS use a type of insulation called Expanded Polystyrene, also known as EPS. EPS is 1 lb. density Expanded Polystyrene, similar to the white foam that coffee cups are made of. The usual range of thickness for EIFS insulation is 1" to 4", although thicker pieces are sometimes used for decoration accents - called foam shapes.
2. A reinforced layer that is applied onto the face of the insulation with a trowel, consisting of a alkali-resistant fibre glass reinforcing mesh ( or "mesh") embedded in a cementitous adhesive. The mesh has an open weave, somewhat like window screening but with opening about 1/4" square. It is made of fiberglass and can be cut with a utility knife. The mesh is available in various weights, the "heaviness" determines the impact strength of the surface (resistance to damage by being "hit"). The standard weight is 4oz, the high-impact mesh weight goes up to 15 or 20oz. This 2-part layer is called the Base Coat.
3. A final topcoat or finish, which is a colored textured paint-like material that is applied with a trowel or, very rarely, by spraying. A wide range of colors and textures are available as well as custom colors. Available textures include smooth surfaces, rough "stucco-like" textures, embedded stone chips, multi-color (granite-like mixtures,) and even brick-like treatments. This layer is called the finish. It is acquired by floating.
If an EIFS with Drainage, or water-managed EIFS is installed, a water resistive barrier ) is first installed over the substrate (generally DensGlas Gold, exterior-grade gypsum sheathing, OSB or plywood).The moisture barrier is applied to the entire wall surface with a mesh tape over joints and a liquid-applied membrane or a protective wrap like Tyvek or felt paper. Then a drainage cavity is created (usually by adding some sort of space between the foam and the WRB). Then the other 3 layers, described above, are added. This type of EIFS is required by many building codes areas on 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. The purpose is to preclude water from damaging the supporting wall.
The series of PUCCS EIFS was developed to make the design of rainscreen walls easy– both for the designer and for the contractor.PUCCS EIFS represent the ultimate in insulated rainscreen technology. PUCCS EIFS provide drainage and moisture control, with the ability to control air leakage as well. Furthermore,the patented circular drainage pattern of the insulation enables the system to pressure-moderate and vent as a true rainscreen.The PUCCS System is intended for use on non-wood substrates. This system may incorporate either air/moisture barrier or, where the design permits, air/moisture/vapour barrier. Furthermore,the insulation may be installed in either a one-step method with mechanical fasteners,or a two-step method without.
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