An exercise in Canadian EIFS preparedness

After a decent amount of time has passed since the installation of EIFS on a home or building, minor repairs may need to be made, performance may need to be assessed as well as the arising of other enquiries that will necessitate the removal of a small portion of the EIFS to see what’s going on internally. Obviously, once this portion has been removed, it should be fixed up again. Having continuous access to the supplies needed for this job can be tricky unless you have a preexisting kit on hand, ready for the job when the time calls for doing these minor patch-ups.

Maintenance kits are often recommended by EIFS manufacturers so time and money are not wasted in matching the materials already on the wall.

Information needed before repairing existing EIFS:

Years from now, it will be difficult to find out enough information about older EIFS jobs. The following information should be provided for later use incase of the need for repair.

  • The date of installation.
  • Brand names and types of sealing, caulking, and other supplies used in the installation.
  • The supplier, producer and contractor information for the EIFS used.
  • The installation instructions as provided by the manufacturer.
  • Information regarding which colours and finishes were used.
  • A copy of the warranty on the EIFS if possible.

Your kit should include:

  • Embedded trim and additional specialized drainage EIFS materials if the EIFS in question incorporates these elements. Such materials include drainage medium and barrier material that is liquid-applied or comes in sheet form.
  • Several pieces of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) in varying sizes and thicknesses, depending on which is most appropriate for the job. While EPS can be found at the big box home improvement stores, it is not adequate for most EIFS applications and EIFS-grade EPS should be offered.
  • A roll each, perhaps 100 feet in length, of reinforcing fiberglass mesh in both regular and heavy-duty weights that can allow for various-sized pieces to be cut off depending on the specifications.
  • Unopened containers of any base coats or adhesives used in the original installation of the EIFS. These should be stored appropriately in a location where they will not freeze or cook. You may be able to obtain sample-sized containers of these products directly from the manufacturer, which are ideal for these types of situations. Keep in mind, they do not last forever. If they don’t pass the “smell test” after a few years, they should be discarded. Both types of base coats and adhesives, cementitious and noncementicious, can be kept on hand.
  • Many adhesives use cement, and having Portland cement at the ready will allow you to complete these repair jobs quickly, however it’s difficult to store the cement continuously. But never fear, Portland cement is widely and easily available at many retail locations.
  • Some kind of capability to redo the finish appropriately is necessary as well. This can be done several ways. Instead of painting over the patch, the new paint have to cover the whole surrounding area, depending on the differences in colour so the patched area is less obvious. The aging and fading of the original colour is also a factor to consider. EIFS paint can be obtained from the manufacturer, or you can make your own EIFS paint by straining the finish of any lumps or texture chunks, which is basically the same as the EIFS manufacturer’s paint. If this isn’t convenient, don’t use paints not specified for EIFS painting or paints with solvents that will eat through the foam underneath.

The purpose of these kits is not for the home or building owner to patch up problems themselves, but for someone with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to effectively tackle any minor EIFS repair no matter what the type or when it was installed. Many installers will provide kits such as this incase of future repairs to save anyone repairing the EIFS down the road with the materials to patch up problems while keeping it looking great.

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