EIFS in Fairfax County
- Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems, often refered to as synthetic stucco or EIFS, are multi-layered insulated cladding that offers designers a variety of textures, colors and architectural embellishments.
- Controversial in the 1990s, barrier-type EIFS attached directly to exterior sheathing often trapping water and causing wood rot.
- In response, industry converted to drainable-type EIFS which provides a path for water to drain from the system.
Do you have EIFS?
The one way to tell if your house is clad in EIFS is to knock on it.
- Traditional stucco, composed of cement and sand, will feel solid and heavy compared to EIFS which will feel light and hollow due to the foam insulation board.
- If your house was constructed prior to 2000, you may have barrier-type EIFS.
- If you have flashing at the base of the EIFS, as mentioned above, or evidence of weep holes, then you most likely have the drainable-type.
- With barrier-type EIFS, you must take extra care to maintain all caulking and, with the help of an EIFS professional, monitor the moisture content in the wood sheathing beneath the foam board.
- The exterior wall must be protected with a water resistant barrier.
- A water path, usually a drainable mesh, is attached to the wall.
- Foam insulation board is attached with mechanical fasteners to the wall.
- A polymer base coat reinforced with a glass fiber mesh is applied to the top of the insulation board.
- A polymer finish coat with color and texture added is applied over the base coat.
- Flashing (not shown) is usually provided at the base of the EIFS to drain any water which may infiltrate the system.
Code requirements for EIFS
The Virginia Construction Code requires barrier-type EIFS to have special inspections for all applications except those applied to masonry or concrete (special inspections are inspections that require special expertise to ensure the adequacy of the installation). See special inspections requirements. All EIFS products are required to have an evaluation report from the International Code Council - Evaluation Service or an accredited listing agency.
In addition, Fairfax County policy, as outlined in a 1999 policy memorandum, requires the following for all wood-framed structures, residential or commercial, clad in barrier- or drainable-type EIFS:
- The applicable evaluation report or listing shall be attached to each set of drawings submitted during the permit applicaton process.
- All language and information, as required by the report, shall be incorporated into the plans.
- All details contained in the evaluation report or listing shall be incorporated into the plans.
- Other conditions not reflected in the evaluation report or listing, but critical to the performance of the EIFS, as determined by the design professional, shall also be incorporated into the plans, i.e., pipe or cable penetrations, joints, flashing around deck ledgers and any condition which alters any EIFS components.
- Specific product information for all windows and doors to be utilized in the building's exterior walls clad in EIFS shall be noted in the construction documents.
- The drawing sheets which contain the EIFS-related exterior envelope details must contain an original signature and seal of a design professional registered in the commonwealth of Virginia.
- Prior to the final inspection a certification statement shall be submitted to the county which attests that EIFS have been installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the research or evaluation report.