The EIFS industry gained national exposure in 1995 as numerous houses clad with this system began to show severe signs of water infiltration, rotting wood and mold (see picture 2). Class action lawsuits were filed against the manufacturers of EIFS (Articles 1 & 2). Insurance companies such as Maryland Casualty stated they would no longer issue builder’s liability insurance to EIFS clad homes. In March of 1999 Dateline NBC did a segment entitled Is Your Home Crumbling Around You? All fingers were pointing toward EIFS and its inability to properly manage water infiltration. “EIFS Facts” by Douglas Pencille.
Upon closer examination it was found that the EIFS cladding provided an exceptional building envelope. Properly installed EIFS is an aesthetically pleasing and durable siding which performs well in any environment. However, if water infiltrates the system through such avenues as faulty windows (see picture 3), improper flashings (see picture 4), below grade application (see picture 5), or faulty workmanship (see picture 6), the water will get trapped between the wood sheathing and the EIFS system. This system, which is so effective at keeping water out of the building now traps the water inside the building envelope. The result is rotting wood, insect infestation, mold and other damage caused by the trapped water (see picture 7).
It was for this reason that in October of 1998 EIMA (EIFS Industry Members Association) recommended that all EIFS installed on one and two family residential dwellings receive a “water-managed” application. Simply put, the foam could no longer be attached directly to the wood sheathing but must incorporate a weather resistive barrier with a drainage plane over the wood with proper flashings and terminations to allow incidental water to escape the EIFS cladding.