What does a downturned economy mean for EIFS

It’s not news to anyone that in recent times the economy has been quite volatile. Many people have lost their jobs, those who never had to before are budgeting their finances, industries are failing, and nearly all sectors have been hit hard.

However, it’s surprising to note that local housing sales are booming and have been rising steadily in Ontario, and the Canadian market has not been hit nearly as hard as the real estate market in the United States. While the average sale price of homes is higher, interest rates are at a record low, and many, especially younger first-time buyers, are snapping up new homes while they can.

Condos are also quickly taking over the Toronto skyline with all sorts of projects under construction and numerous planned for the coming years as sales of new condo units have staggered to 995 per cent more than in 2008.

EIFS became a popular choice of wall-cladding during the 1970’s oil crisis. While times have changed, energy-efficiency and our dependence on oil as a nation are primary concerns for Canadian citizens, and green building materials are very much “in” again. If you pair all of this information with the introduction of the Canadian Retrofit Rebate and Ontario Home Energy Savings Programs, which offer substantial cash in the form of grants and rebates for green home renovations that include exterior insulation, the EIFS industry might not be in as much trouble as the rest of the world. And why would it be? It’s a cost-effective, insulating and “green” material that makes homes, condos and office buildings look fantastic with its endless design possibilities.

When the economy fluctuates, it doesn’t have to impact EIFS sales

That’s not to say, that as with any work in a similar industry, there won’t be risks. However in these tough times, it’s not uncommon for the exterior coatings to be one of the last components installed on a trouble commercial or residential construction project, and therefore the easiest to cut from the whole thing as a desperate cost-saving measure. So what do they replace these coatings with? Cheaper, energy-efficient EIFS.

The “cheapness” of EIFS only relates to their cost, not their function, and this is an important selling point. Contractors, installers and manufacturers must sell their product. EIFS are great and sometimes might sell themselves, but it certainly is not a wasted effort by any means. Spreading your knowledge of the beneficial qualities and cost-effectiveness EIFS have to offer to customers will help build lasting repeat business, especially in a slow economy when people are desperate to cost-cut while still using a valuable and functional product. Successful penetration of EIFS into the market depends on selling it, describing it, marketing it, and letting project managers, architects and designers know that this is the product for them and all of their future products. Market yourself and your EIFS with calls and online campaigns. The more people know about the cost-effectiveness of EIFS, the more who will want to use it in a tight situation. This is especially important because the stigma of recent issues are still attached to the EIFS name, and it must be reiterated to anyone concerned that these problems were due to a number of other factors that didn’t result from the use of EIFS itself, but that they were brought about by improper installation and maintenance.

Branching out from the residential market into the larger and more stable commercial market is also an idea. Don’t be afraid to change up your focus and the residential market is not nearly as dependable or steady, considering the amount of bad press EIFS received in the United States just decades ago.

There is no other wall cladding available that offers these qualities for the same cost. The only discernible problem regarding EIFS pricing is that it is actually too low. These low prices might result in a lack of available support for the products, which was the case a few decades ago, when prices were a bit higher. They probably could even handle a small price increase without making other wall claddings look more attractive at all, because there is such a huge gap in the price between them already.

When the economy is doing well, EIFS can be touted for more expensive projects where they’re still used for the same qualities and flawless look. It’s a product that can be used in the best of times, and the worst of times, and that’s why it’s here to stay.

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