Repairing water-damaged EIFS without complete removal

In many cases, performing sufficient repairs on Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems may mean to some who are uninformed that they must be completely removed and redone. However, this does not have to be the case, and a bit of pre-existing knowledge can help you in avoiding these costly and time-consuming situations.

Proper repairs can be made to EIFS in many circumstances without necessitating an entire do-over, and removing the EIFS only to reinstall it can damage the supporting wall which will make this endeavor that much more time-consuming and costly.

The need for EIFS repairs more often than not arise because of water intrusion or damage to the supporting wall because of this excess moisture. As well, these repairs are rarely necessary on the larger, more visible areas of EIFS but more so on the edges of the EIFS, including near windows or caulking joints where the water can infiltrate the EIFS. These problems may also only be concentrated in a particular region of the building as a whole, perhaps because a water source like a sprinkler is located nearby. So again, only these small areas may need to be remediated as opposed to the whole cladding system.

Often times there are irrational reasons for home and building owners to want to completely remove the EIFS, perhaps because of stories they’ve heard with regards to misconceptions about its performance and other issues that have been unfairly associated with it. These are not sufficient reasons to remove the EIFS and the consequences such as the unnecessary cost and the possible damage to other components like the supporting wall should be explained in detail to these home and building owners.

Determining how much EIFS must be removed

In order to properly determine how much EIFS should be removed, a thorough investigation of the damaged areas should be a priority. This can be done by equipping the wall with moisture-reading sensors, removing beyond repairable portions of the EIFS to find where the damage stops, and by perhaps utilizing a competent building inspector who is knowledgeable of the ins-and-outs of EIFS installation and repair. If an inspector says the entire building or home must be redone because of a small, damaged area, he may not be the right inspector for you.

Determining the cost of repair

By obtaining a concrete estimation of how much of the EIFS needs to be replaced, a general square-footage damage estimation can be created and compared with the overall square footage of the building exterior. This will provide you with a rough estimate of the cost of the repair, which will be a much lower number than the cost of stripping and replacing all of the EIFS, as well as repairing any damage done to the supporting wall during a complete removal.

Cases for complete removal

One case in which the EIFS may have to be removed in its entirety is if the supporting wall is the component in need of fixing. Obviously this is not an issue with the EIFS itself, but it is in the way. However, if it is only a small portion of the supporting wall that has an issue, only the part of the EIFS covering this area needs to be removed to fix the problem.

If there is significant damage to one entire side of the building, and reparations threaten to leave this side looking patchy and uneven, it may be wise to strip this particular side and redo the EIFS, however it is not necessary to strip and replace all of the EIFS on the building or home.

Complete removal of the EIFS to repair small problems is usually total overkill. Many common problems that arise from moisture intrusion can be solved by repairing only the affected areas, saving time and money.

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