EIFS weighs significantly less than many traditional cladding products, such as stucco or masonry facades. An EIFS assembly can weigh as little as 0.50 Kg/ft2 (one-inch thickness) creating a much lower 'dead load' applied to the exterior of a building. This is an important consideration for high-rise construction. The lightweight characteristic of EIFS is also very beneficial when used in retrofit applications and in areas where seismic activity may be of concern.
EIFS are much more flexible than traditional rigid cladding systems. This allows the cladding to better accommodate building movement and prevent cracks from occurring. It also reduces the number of required joints within the system.
EIFS is monolithic in its application. Breaks in the system are only required where the system meets dissimilar substrates, at all floor levels, and where there is an existing expansion joint in the substrate. By reducing the number of breaks in the cladding it is easier to prevent the ingress of unwanted moisture and airflow.
EIFS incorporates polystyrene insulation to act as the backing for the EIFS lamina (basecoat, mesh, finish coat). At one inch thickness, the EIFS expanded polystyrene insulation provides a metric R-Value of R 0.70 @ 10┬░C (Imp R 4.0 @ 50┬░F). Insulation fastened to the exterior of the building is much more effective than the same amount located within the stud cavity (batt insulation). By wrapping the building in a seamless 'blanket' of insulation, the EIFS bridges the studs of the open wall construction and significantly reduces the amount of energy (cooling or heating) that is allowed to escape. As a result, the building becomes more energy efficient with lower operating costs.
EIFS finish coats are available in an unlimited range of colours and in a large variety of textures. Aside from 300 standard colours, custom matching is also available. This allows building owners to choose specific corporate colours, or unique one-of-a-kind colours for their projects. EIFS also has the ability to be shaped and cut into a variety of designs. It can recreate the design of Roman columns, arches, quoins, etc. without the added weight of framing and the use of heavier construction materials. The design possibilities are only limited by the designer's imagination.
Resistance to Moisture Penetration
EIFS are manufactured to perform as effective barriers against moisture intrusion. Today, EIFS contain two barrier coatings to prevent moisture ingress. The first is the EIFS lamina, composed of the basecoat, mesh, and finish coat. The second line of defence is the weather resistant barrier (WRB) located directly over the sheathing/substrate. This secondary barrier may be vapour permeable (breathable) or it may be a vapour retarder (non-breathable) depending upon wall performance requirements.
Adaptable to Design Requirements
EIFS are suitable for use in a variety of settings. In hot climates, the added insulation helps keep buildings cool and reduce air conditioning requirements. In cooler climates, this calculates to lower heating costs. There are also numerous levels of drainage and protection available in EIFS today. These drainage options allow EIFS to perform well in wetter climates. Where fire-resistance is a requirement, EIFS offers a number of non-combustible solutions for the Design Professional.