Saturday, February 18, 2006

EIFS and Brick

Monday, January 09, 2006

EIFS & Stucco and then some.

Install standard EIFS

$7 - $9 / sq. ft.
Install EIFS with drainage system$10 - $14/sq. ft
Install a conventional stucco system (sand & cement)$6 - $8 / sq. ft.
All detail bands are time+material+profitT+M+P
Waterproof block foundations$155 / lin. ft.
Hang and finish 3/8" - 5/8" sheetrock$55 - $75 / bd.
Painting walls and ceilings$1.45 /sq. ft.
Caulking$2.50 / lin.ft.

EIFS Inspection w/ color photos and a comprohensive report outlining all possible problem areas as well cost effective solutions.

$250 / 1 story

$550 / 2 story

Exterior Install galvanized or aluminum gutters and downspouts $3 - $5 / lin. ft.

Waterproofing and Siding
Install aluminum soffits and fascia$8 - $12 / li. ft
Install aluminum or vinyl siding$4 - $5 / sq. ft.
Repoint exterior wall (soft mortar)$4 - $5 /sq. ft
Repoint exterior wall (hard mortar) $7 - $9 / sq. ft.
Parge foundation walls$4 - $5 / sq. ft.
Damp proof foundation walls and install weeping tile$70-$130 /li. ft.

Garages - Decks - Retaining Walls - Foundation
Install a deck $15-$25 /sq. ft.
Rebuild exterior basement stairwell $3500 - $5000
Build detached garage(single) $8000 and up
Build detached garage (double)$12000 and up
Build retaining wall (wood) $20 - $25 /sq. ft.
Build retaining wall (concrete) $30 - $40 / sq. ft.
Structure Underpin one corner of house$3500 and up
Underpin or add foundations $300 + /lin. ft.
Lower basement floor by underpinning and/or bench footings$150-$300 / lin. ft.
Replace deteriorating sill beam with concrete$60 and up/ lin. ft.
Install basement support post with proper foundation$200 - $400
Perform chemical treatment for termites $500 and up
Repair minor crack in poured concrete foundation$400 - $800

Roofing - Flashings - Chimneys

Install conventional asphalt shingles over existing shingle

Strip and re-shingle with conventional shingles$3 - $4 / sq. ft
Strip and re-roof with cedar shingles$5-$7/ sq. ft.
Strip and replace built-up tar and gravel roof$4 - $6 / sq. ft.
Strip and replace single-ply membrane$4 - 6 / sq. ft.
Reflash typical chimney $300 - $500
Reflash typical skylight$300 - $500
Rebuild typical chimney above roof line$100-$200 / lin. ft.
Repoint typical chimney above roof line $20-$30 / row
Exterior Install galvanized or aluminum gutters and downspouts $4 - $6 / lin. ft.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Becky's Buckroe Florist

EPS caligraphy.

Becky's Foam Lettering.

Just completed brown coat.

Rigid insulation mechanically attached to concrete bldg.

Shoalin Buttering Technique

A chilly day in VA.

Chilly day 2.

Notice the Wu-Tang Buttering Technique

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Benefits of EIFS:
  • EIFS is a synthetic material.
  • It is practically unyielding to water and water vapor.
  • One coat and two coat systems are available.
  • The outer surface layer usually contains long lasting acrylic polymers that are solid colored and extremely elastic.
  • A wide variety of colors and textures are available.
EIFS systems are almost always applied over an unbroken layer of expanded polystyrene insulation board but thru modern day EIFS research, especially hear in the Tidewater area more and more materials are being developed to work well with EIFS components. The use of Dense Glass and Durock as a substrate in EIFS applications is one example of how contractors are dealing with the wood factor in the moisture damage problem proactively. Another benefit of EIFS is lower fuel bills. When used in conjunction with standard fiberglass batt wall insulation EIFS is second to none in terms of thermal value. No other siding material could come close.

Monday, November 14, 2005

EIFS SUCKS? Not all the time.

The truth of the matter is that any wall siding is only as good as the installation. The better the contractor the better the chances are that you'll be happy at the end of your project. Whether you're using Dryvit, Finestone, Sto, Synergy or any other brand, the success of the installation lies on whether the applicator knows how to do the damn thing. Therein lies the problem. We have every Tom, Dick and Harry selling EIFS inspection certification courses and not enough hands on training programs for real cement masons. I guess the money is in selling inspections.

Luckily there are some stucco companies that implement training programs to keep abreast of the technological changes in the industry. That, in my opinion is huge.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

EIFS REPAIR. To rip off or not to rip off. (EIFS that is)

To rip off or not to rip off; (EIFS that is) that is the million dollar question. The answer is uncomplicated, and applies to practically all types of cladding. For starters, you must go beyond the symptoms of water intrusion problems, and find the actual sources of the leaks. After all, a constant drip on your forehead should be all the proof you need that you need help. As a professional EIFS contractor and EIFS consultant, I have seen it all. Most EIFS problems occur in residential construction due to a lack of quality control initiatives in the field. EIFS is not a cladding the average homeowner can repair, but many EIFS repair contractors have been trained in the repair through manufacturers. Before you hire any so-called EIFS expert remember to do your homework and ask for references.

Let’s start with the basic facts about EIFS cladding, many of which contradict popular opinion. I suggest you follow a rule that Stucco Technology Institute (STI) instructors use when instructing student EIFS inspectors: ”Do not form preconceived opinions. The structure will tell you what the cause of the problem is, if you heed the signs.” STI has trained over 1500 EIFS inspectors and applicators.

EIFS and other forms of cladding do not normally fail. That is to say, water does not penetrate directly through the surface of the cladding. It penetrates the building envelope. The envelope includes secondary moisture barriers such as felt paper and Tyvek, flashing, and the primary moisture barrier which includes windows, doors, cladding and sealants. The points of water intrusion are identical in virtually every condo or residential project I inspect. The windows were not flashed, and leaked at the lower corners, kick out or diverter flashing was not installed at roof/wall intersections, allowing roof run off to get behind the cladding, and decks were not properly flashed. If those conditions did not exist, there would be no water intrusion.
Here are some things for you to think about:
1. Few of the general contractors, building residential or light commercial, including condos and apartments in this country have been trained in the basics of moisture intrusion prevention. They rely mainly on their subcontractors to install the cladding components according to manufacturer specifications.
2. EIFS is not a subject taught to student engineers or architects.
3. The local government paid building inspector, contrary to popular belief, is not responsible for assuring the water tightness of the building envelope. Much of their time is spent inspecting work completed by licensed contractors, yet, only a handful of the inspectors are required to pass any type license exams, to test their knowledge. Local building departments, in their defense, have the same problem most construction companies have; finding skilled employees.
4. There are lots of condos, apartments and residential projects under construction, which do not have EIFS, but lack a viable secondary moisture barrier and flashing, and will experience typical moisture intrusion problems. I just recently opened a wall on a house, completed 6 years ago, which is clad with stone veneer, and is experiencing moisture intrusion, wood rot, and mold growth.
5. All wood frame construction shrinks. The wood dries and the building weight compresses cross grain members. A two story building will shrink ¼ to ½ inch in one year. This means all of the structural framing gets smaller, but the plywood or OSB does not shrink. The entire weight of the building transfers to the sheathing, and eventually the sheathing buckles at the second floor line, thus the bulges you can see at the second floor line, so common to wood frame construction. There should be a one-inch gap in the sheathing horizontally at the floor line, to allow for the compression. The compression joint then must be installed in the cladding, at the floor line, to absorb the shrinkage or there is potential for a breach in the building envelope.
6. Residential EIFS, in the 1990’s, was installed for less than $4.00 sq. ft., while commercial EIFS cost about $6.00 sq. ft. Material price was the same for both. The $2.00 savings in residential, came from the omission of flashing and sealants, and disregard for manufacturer specifications and application instructions. Why did this happen? Because general contractors were too busy looking at their bottom line when awarding EIFS contracts. They went with the fly-by nighter’s. Plain and simple.
7. The residential building envelope is usually flawed. If it can leak, it will leak. All EIFS should be inspected by a trained inspector during all phases of application. Further, all residential construction should have a secondary moisture barrier. Or better yet, never put EIFS on wood. Use Durock.
There are only three of 1,400+ projects, in my 15 years experience, where I was involved in some capacity, which EIFS had to be totally removed. Most EIFS clad structures do not have to be stripped, at least from a technical standpoint. I hardly ever hear of complete tear-off with EIFS.
Here in Hampton Roads, a local architect was quoted in the Virginian Pilot, as saying he has seen at least seven EIFS clad communities struggle with water damage behind EIFS. One of those projects, where he recommended the EIFS be completely stripped and the buildings clad with cement board siding, was photo documented during the envelope demolition. As fate would have it, Daniel Perez, STI Chairman, was inspecting a project directly across the street while the EIFS was being ripped off. Daniel is a master estimator and capacity assessor. So, while inspecting the repair progress of his project, he photographed the EIFS rip off across the street. Daniel stated: “ 95 % of the sheathing on Gaviotas Villas had no moisture damage, and there was no rationalization to rip it off. The only moisture damage was at poor quality leaking windows, below improperly flashed decks, and where diverter flashing at the roof/wall intersection was missing.” Do not rip off your EIFS without substantial forensic investigation.
An epigrammatic inspection can alert you to potential trouble spots.
1. Check roof / wall intersections to see if an KO flashing has been installed to divert the flow of water away from the vertical wall.
2. Check the lower corners of windows for any gaps in the corner miters, and probe the sealant to determine if is still flexible.
3. Look for any bulges at the second floor line.
4. Carefully check your deck, if it is wood frame and attached to the house. There should be visible flashing and no sign of wood rot.
5. EIFS should not be installed below grade, so when replacing mulch, first remove the old mulch.
6. If you suspect a problem, go to . 85% of all remediation costs less than $1,500, and is usually a maintenance issue. Keep in mind, water intrusion is cumulative. The longer water penetrates the building envelope, the greater the potential damage. If only everyone had used cement board instead of plywood. But I digress.
Moisture content of wood must exceed 19.5% for the algae, which causes wood rot, to exist. Kiln dried lumber is dried to 19%, prior to shipment to lumber yards. There are so many references to moisture content of wood by so many scientists, testing labs and agencies, anyone who states a 10% moisture reading in wood or OSB sheathing should be considered an elevated reading, is simply making up the rules and completely disregarding an army of highly trained experts. Likewise, any inspector or consultant who states any moisture reading in any type of wood, exceeds 40%, has their moisture meter probes submerged in a glass of water, or is using the wrong equipment. Without a doubt, this individual is not a qualified moisture analyst. Most grades of construction lumber and sheathing cannot absorb more than 30 –35% moisture before reaching total saturation. The harder the species, the lower the saturation point. Why? The wood fibers take up the rest of the space. There is simply no more room for water without removing the wood fibers.
EIFS was the product of choice in high end residential construction during most of the '90’s, because of the dynamic design potential and curb appeal. The problems learned about EIFS in residential construction, have been addressed in the STI Integrity Program. The STI Integrity Program addresses potential oversights of all responsible parties in the EIFS cladding chain. Manufacturers in this program are required to issue a 10-year labor and material warranty. Applicators must complete certification training, be sponsored by an STI registered manufacturer, sign a three year blanket labor warranty, and then will qualify for liability insurance underwritten by Lloyd’s. All projects must be inspected by an STI certified Quality Control Consultant, paid by the STI Loss Prevention agents, which helps avoid complicity. All parties must sign a binding arbitration clause to qualify for the Integrity Program. This program is not designed to protect the applicator or manufacturer. It is designed to protect the building owner.
Beware of the engineer, architect, consultant or contractor who says you must rip off all of the EIFS. If you do need to fix your EIFS home or condo, be absolutely certain the contractor is insured, and has a current valid contractor license. Good construction is a must to protect home and building owners.

Tyvek, felt paper or liquid applied membranes are all components of the secondary moisture barrier. Add flashing, windows, doors, and the walls should be able to shed water without any moisture reaching the sheathing or framing. Next comes the cladding and caulking (sealant).
My test equipment of choice for the secondary moisture barrier is a garden hose. If the secondary barrier leaks, it is a waste of time to put in on at all, which, by the way, is the reason many cladding installers don’t bother with it. On the other hand, if it performs as it should, shedding all water, then it really doesn’t matter what cladding is used, the sheathing and structure are protected.
The only work left, is to properly install the primary moisture barrier according to details and specifications. If this is done correctly, the secondary moisture barrier remains a dormant backup to wear and tear of the cladding. All cladding does need some sealant, depending on the cladding used. Never use acrylic caulking on the exterior. It has an anticipated life of less than two years, and a 10% movement capability. Use only urethane or silicone sealants. My material of choice is Dow 790, which is a pure silicone, with +100% and –50% movement capability. The anticipated life is 20+ years.
1. Many cladding contractors sub contract their work to “piece work” contractors. This means the contractor you hired doesn’t actually do the work, but pays another crew by the square foot, to install the cladding. They are often unsupervised.
2. Many cities and towns have set policy requiring an independent third party EIFS inspector to sign off on a project before they will issue a certificate of occupancy.
3. Residential contractors may lack on site supervision of sub contractors, or have inexperienced supervision. But then again most contractors don’t know the first thing about installing EIFS correctly.
If your car starts pinging and ponging, do you take it to a third party auto consultant? I hope not. You call a knowledgeable mechanic, and get the problem fixed. When your home leaks, it is a warning sign of the problem. Something in the building envelope is usually the problem. If you have leaks in the ceiling, it may be the roofing, but it may also be flashing or clogged gutters.
Treat your home the same way your doctor treats your medical ailments. Symptoms lead to causes, and causes are what must be treated. Don’t waste your time treating the symptom, it will just mask the core cause and could lead to more severe problems.
If you own an EIFS home, don’t panic. If you plan to sell your EIFS home, get it inspected prior to putting it on the market, as any professional real estate salesman would suggest. If you plan to buy an EIFS home, require an inspection as a condition of purchase.
The EIFS industry perception in the ‘90’s was negative. But it was very similar to the problems experienced by the rubber roof industry in the ‘80’s. Their solution was to require independent certified roof inspectors to sign off on every installation, and the problems disappeared.
EIFS clad homes, buildings and condos can be repaired at a fraction of the cost of complete removal. Community and condo boards of directors can be held accountable for meeting their fiduciary responsibilities. They must accumulate a reasonable amount of funds to cover the costs of long term as well as short-term maintenance. If you do choose to sit on a board, be sure E & O and liability insurance is in place for directors and officers. There are many competent attorneys specializing in just this sort of situation. Check with your real estate professional for referrals.
If your association is responsible for more than 4 units, hire a management company, who can guide you through the procedures and keep you out of trouble.
Many of the buildings you drive by each day, are clad with EIFS. Hotels, motels, malls, churches, office buildings, most of Las Vegas, and some of the largest and most prestigious homes are all EIFS. If it is particularly fancy, has a lot of architectural detail, large monolithic surfaces, it is probably EIFS. It is one of the most widely used claddings in the commercial market. They do not have the typical home or condo owner problems, because the commercial projects generally have lots of supervision. The same could be said about the residential market, if every project got an independent inspection.
Finally, do not blame the EIFS, blame the building sheathing, then maybe you won’t get ripped off.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


What role did the general contractors play in the failure of EIFS in the residential market?
A huge role. They too have become expert buck passers. The only people not passing the buck are the stucco contractors; but they too were incompetent in their part. Don't be conned. Hire an EIFS/stucco company you trust to do your work. Just because Joe Blow has certifications out the yazoo doesn't mean he is qualified to repair or install your EIFS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

EIMA and EDI. Where were they?

Lately there is alot of talk about getting an EIMA approved this, or an EDI certified that. That's fine and good, but where were these two so-called non-profit organizations in the early 90's when everybody and there respective mother's could be found slapping foam on wood all across the country. Shouldn't they have known that EIFS and wood don't mix? I think they should have. The amazing thing is that they apparrently still don't see anything wrong with EIFS on wood.
Who appointed them as the voice of EIFS. I certainly did not. Don't put all your trust in them because they were the so-called leaders of the industry when all of the problems arose.

Although the industry has taken great strides to remedy the moisture issue there is still a long way to go. It's time for a different approach to tackling this problem of $1,000.00 inspections and of total EIFS removal just to reinstall the EIFS on the same substrate for tens of thousands of dollars. Someone in EIMA, EDI and all the other so-called expert EIFS outfits has to smell the roses.

It does not take a PHD in wall systems to figure out that EIFS does not belong on wood. EDI and EIMA, with all their wisdom, failed the American consumers in my estimation. EIMA failed us by allowing the practice in the first place. EDI for capitalizing on the failures of EIMA, by using, in my opinion, scare tactics to get homeowners to inspect, remove and reinstall on wood again.
It is a vicious cycle that has only one solution. Stop putting your trust in salesmen and put it back into the tradesmen.
So what would I put EIFS on? Cement board and densglass.

Read this related letter.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

EIFS Prices Are Rising. What A Concept.

It seems as though nowadays everything is getting more and more expensive. Not just petroleum or gas but everything. Apparrently oil is used in almost everything you can think of and since oil prices are high the cost for paints and other oil based products consequently rise as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Getting General Contractors To Pay.

Do you find it almost impossible collecting money owed and managing poor cash flow as a result from long delays in payment? Like most small business owners I get frustrated when general contractors give me a hard time when a payment is due. It seems as though they try to make us feel guilty for wanting our own money or they refer to us as peons that aren't worthy of there time.

I could understand their actions if we were asking for payouts prematurely, but this is usually not the case. As specified in our contract, which they approve and sign, we don't invoice for an amount equal to a certain percentage until or after we have reached that date. Nevertheless, GC's almost always find a way to hold on to your money even after the job is completed. It's borderline criminal.

The worst is when they nickel and dime you to death with extra work that is not in the original contract and expect you to do it at no cost to them. This happens even with the more reputable GCs.

I suggest at the first sign of delayed payment, you pick up your tools and leave. It should get their attention, and of course they will threaten you with the worst; but most of us are only small businesses and have maybe two jobs going on at the same time so inevitably our cash flow suffers.

Not all GCs' or their attorneys are trying to put it to the little guy, but they all have their interest and not yours at heart.

Many of you have been in this position, where things get tight once in a while. I know it sounds like you're biting the hand that's feeding you, but the problem is that it's not feeding you The old saying that the squeeky wheel gets the grease is true. We should start squeeking.
No pay no play. Refuse to work for any contractor that hands you a book/contract to sign because 9 times out of 10 they are going to shaft you.

You could offer a discount of 5 percent if the final bill is paid the same day the job is completed. You should also call the day before you plan to be finished and inform the client/GC that you will be completing the job and will be expecting the final payment. On more than one occasion I have been told that we have to wait until the bank or city inspector comes to inspect. My reply is always "When is he coming? We'll be there the day before, or the same day, to finish up."
We're not banks. We are not in the buisness of lending money interest-free. Which is exactly what we do when we let anyone charge or delay payment.

The private sector usually gives me no problem, 50 percent down, and the rest when done. But large contractors just plain take advantage of small guys. That's where communication is important, you should always have your own contract for them to sign, and payment schedule to follow. If they don't adhere, production stops, and you go on to the next thing that will bring some cash flow. Then they have to answer to their client about why the work is not getting done.
General contractors bill their clients every two weeks to keep their own company going, so the thirty day wait is B.S.

We're not banks, and talking to GC's and letting them know where you stand is the best bet. Don't be afraid to let them know you're a small company and will get the job done -- just tell them where you stand and ask them where you stand in terms of payment. Honesty is always the best policy even if the GC is mud.

I suggest charging these contractors that are late on payments more the next time around. Sure, you might not always be the lowest bidder, but then another shop will get stuck waiting, and eventually jack their price, too.

Anyway, you don't stay in business by being the lowest bidder all the time. If you charge more, then you can buy better machinery, hire better employees, and in turn put out a better product for higher profits.

A friendly letter stating that their account is past due, and you will be forced to put a lien on the property until payment is made, may do the trick. Maybe this could also be included in the contract; then you can say, "Well, it was in the contract that this would happen."
As far as a lien is concerned, this is tricky and it varies from state to state. In Virginia you only have 90 days from the delivery date to file a lien. Plus there are other considerations. I would contact an attorney in your town to find out all the details.

If someone can't pay you in a timely manner I wouldn't mess with them. You should have a strict policy: we get paid in 30 days or you don't get any more product, period, no exceptions. You may say I will lose business, but if this is how they operate, can you afford their business anyway? I couldn't. We have bills to pay and we aren't the bank, which essentially is what they are using you for. They have your money.

Beware of people or companies who do not stay with one contractor or who have employee problems. Ask for references -- they ask you, so you can ask them.
One tactic that works for collection is embarrassment. Go around to the contractor's job sites asking where he or she is, stating he is 60 days past due. If you confront him, do it in public with a crowd around. It ain't pretty but it works as a last-ditch, "I may never get paid" tactic.
As for the GCs, except for retainage, they each have unique billing cycles. But so what. You are doing work for them. You set the terms. Some ask for invoices once a month, submit them on the 10th of the following month, and get paid 30 days later, which adds up to about 55 days if you invoiced on the 25th and got paid on the 20th, two months later. That is B.S.

You should communicate with the GCs you work with, and know their billing cycle, and why it takes so long to get paid. If they are not chasing the money then they aren't doing their job. It is all about getting paid in a timely manner and you need to find or work with GCs that understand that subs that are paid on time are loyal subs.

Dealing with private owners directly is my preferred work but most of our jobs involve contractors. Contractors are going to use us and and the rest of the trades as a bank. Expect that up-front in your bid. Reward good-paying contractors with lower bids, and tell them you are. Bid slow-paying or problem contractors high bids, but always bid.
Stay in touch with contractors on progress and create a paper trail on all items involving cost to you. Favors cost you; get change orders instead. Bill according to your contract, promptly.

Charge enough to start with. Do you really know your job costs and overhead? Do you realize a profit annually, and are you creating long-term assets?
I had cash-flow problems until I realized: That's my money, not theirs. I want mine, now.
Good communication is the key. The contract is the best form of communication, because it can always be referred to at a later date, if there is some question about the terms.
Don't be afraid to ask why you're not being paid, and try to work with your customer to stick with the terms. The biggest problem in dealing with GCs is that you're never talking to the person who is actually pulling the trigger. Get to them, and you'll usually find your money.

Final Thoughts:
I developed a simple and easy method to deal with that don't pay on time or how you want to be paid. It is called a contract which spells out exactly what is due and when. Since Virginia has a mechanic lien law, I do not hesitate to use it on those that try dragging out the payment. One point - is make sure up front that you expect payment - you are a professional delivering a service and you are owed your due. Once the GC starts trying to explain that he does not work that way, smile and say goodbye. Believe me - it is better having two or three general contractors that pay on completion than chasing ten or more around trying to collect payment.

I started working as project manager for a small EIFS company in 1991. I had never worked in the construction business before, and was told by the office manager that I "just didn't understand how the GC's do business." Well, I saw very quickly how they did business - one contractor was 6 months past due!
I wrote the contractor a firm but polite letter asking for payment. After one week, I called his office and spoke with him. He gave me a keystone above a window that needed attention. I told him I would be glad to take care of it for him, scheduled a service call to the house with another call we were making to the area, and asked him to meet our guys at the home with a check. Our guys brought a check back for payment in full and I allowed him to save face.
The office manager whined about how we would never hear from that contractor again because I had probably p***ed him off. The contractor called the next day to ask us for a bid on his next project and told my boss how much he looked forward to working with me. Today I own the EIFS company.

I have found that to collect from most contractors, I just need to remain polite and professional, but persistent and firm.

Bottom Line:
Expect final payment on installation! If they can't be there with the money at that time, they can pay the day before. Most general contractors will trust other craftsmen as much as they trust themselves. Whatever they do, don't let them hold your money. If you earned it, it's yours. Remember, a few GC's like to play musical chairs with your money. They will recieve your money from the homeowner or bank, and spend it elsewhere. Whatever you do, never be bashful or intimidated to ask for what you have earned. Present your bill in person and keep your hand out till you recieve your money.

If you have to sit on (lend) money to your GC's/customers like you're a bank, charge them a handling fee just like a bank. If you have customers that are routinely late, change your contract to include a late fee and interest.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

EIFS doesn't belong on wood substrates.

Do you want to prevent moisture damage? OK, then don't apply EIFS directly to wood. That's the secret. That is it.

Free EIFS Inspection.

So why am I offering a free inspection for Hampton Roads residences? Well, because the people in Hampton Roads have been ripped off enough by these so-called EIFS inspection companies. They are in it for the money and that's it. The EDI outfit is largely responsible for the fear factor that homeowners face across the country. Not only do they charge you an outrageous fee for telling you your house is wet but they are also in bed with EIFS manufacturers. They actually care nothing about your home or you. They just care about your money.

Don't fall victim to these con-artist. Call a real stucco expert and save $500.00.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

And still #1

A recent study of the wall cladding industry in the United States and Canada shows that exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) continue to be the number-one choice of cladding used in commercial applications.
The 2003 "Analysis of Exterior Wall Cladding: Nonresidential and Residential" reports that EIFS holds 21.6 percent of the nonresidential marketplace, ahead of brick, pre-engineered metal, tilt-up concrete, conventional metal panel, precast concrete, stone, block and cementitious stucco. In terms of millions of square feet, EIFS was found to be the most popular exterior cladding used on offices and banks; educational facilities; hospitals; public and governmental facilities; religious structures; amusement and recreation facilities; and hotels, motels and dormitories.
The study, which provides analysis of current market dynamics as well as forecasted market activity over the next five years, was conducted by the Industrial Standards division of Ducker Research Co. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The findings are based on primary market research, including more than 700 in-depth interviews with architects and specifiers, builders, general contractors, installation contractors, distributors and product/systems manufacturers. This information then was combined with Ducker's internal database of nonresidential and residential construction activity.
The use of EIFS in both residential and nonresidential building has cut into the market share of traditional cladding products such as brick and stucco, according to the study. Continued improvement of EIFS product design and installation procedures will likely result in EIFS continuing to gain market share in nonresidential and residential construction, the report said. EIFS currently make up about 1.5 percent of the residential marketplace.
"This report confirms that the biggest opportunity for growth of EIFS is in the residential sector," said Kent Stumpe, national marketing manager for Senergy, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based EIFS manufacturer. "It's obvious that the EIFS industry has barely scratched the surface of the residential marketplace.
"The potential to grow our residential sales faster than commercial sales has been a real motivator for Senergy," Stumpe said. "It's our belief that offering and requiring a new generation of more robust systems designed for use in one- and two-family residential construction is the key to capturing more of the residential market.
"We know consumers love the look, and it can help builders sell homes faster. We just need to continue getting the word out that we have now tailored our systems to the needs of the residential construction team."
In residential building, EIFS have most often been used in high-end homes because of the upscale, distinctive style the system creates. The energy efficiency of EIFS also is an important quality and often a decision-making point for people wanting a stucco look for their homes. Furthermore, EIFS perform well in both residential and nonresidential applications because they maintain their original appearance over time, the report said.

Walls & Ceilings Magazine

Third Party EIFS inspectors.

They are not all bad. Some inspection companies are actually very good. The best in fact, in my estimation have a complete or at least a good understanding of construction standards. Having said that, I don't think that just because an inspector has a card/badge taped to his chest, stating that the bearer of that card has the knowledge to determine what is going on with your home is the best way to pick an inspector. After all, with five hundred dollars and the completion of an eight hour course you too can be a certified EIFS inspector.

As a matter of fact, you could probably train a primate to press the little green button and do back flips when the handy dandy moisture scanner starts beeping and blinking.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Question of the day.

Do you need a third party EIFS inspector to insure quality work by a contractor?

I think not. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

History of Stucco

History of Stucco
Stucco is a very old construction material, discovered and first made naturally about 2,000 years ago by none other than Jesus himself. Okay well maybe not himself, but I’m sure he had his hand in it. Following the great volcanic eruption and earthquake of Mount Vesuvius near Naples, Italy, legend has it that Jesus not only turned water into wine but he turned mud into stucco. Actually the eruption occurred in 79 A.D., so there goes my theory on divine intervention.
On the T.V. program "Coliseum" presented by Nova, a very lucid presentation of the origin of stucco was made known. It showed how the volcanic puzzolan dust flowed into the sea and hardened. Jesus himself noticed this and stucco was born. So I've heard.

Natural puzzolan is a cement-like substance found throughout the world. Lime is also a natural resource all over the planet, and following the eruption, someone who was obviously way ahead of his time, added lime to the puzzolan mix, and Shazam! A workable stucco resulted. Go figure huh. Today, the family members of the enterprising young man are now worth, well, nothing. But the point is that from mere mud one can build a castle to the heavens, or die trying. But enough of that.
One of the problems in the construction of 2,000 years ago was that the sun-baked clay bricks used for wall construction and for toilets and for pots and pans and weaponry and nearly every damn thing, didn't hold up well under the assault of harsh weather. Stucco became the cladding put over the bricks that sheltered them. It is the stucco over the mud bricks that has preserved the magnificent Roman Ruins, built 2,000 years ago, that have survived until this very day. To put it frankly, stucco did for the Roman Ruins what a force field would do for the Enterprise. If it were not for the stucco, there would be no ruins.
This use of stucco was sustained through the centuries and ultimately became the foundation of those famous frescoes, which have also survived for thousands of years. In time stucco became the finished wall surface inside and outside of buildings all over the Roman Empire. And do you know what? It’s still being applied today. Very little modifications in the use of stucco occurred through the centuries. In fact you may still see a stucco mechanic sporting togas and sandles. But not on my crew, I hope.
The knack of cement making was lost after the collapse of the Roman Empire around 400 A.D., but stucco predominantly with the use of lime and strong backs, continued through the centuries to be a favorite to builders looking for elegance and good natural materials. In 1756, a British engineer named Sir Stucco Bucko relearned how to make hydraulic cement, and stucco with cement was set back into service. In 1818, an American engineer named John Smith, discovered deposits of rock in Madison County, New York, that made natural hydraulic cement with slight processing. Great amounts of the natural cement were on the Erie Canal construction in New York State. A British bricklayer invented portland cement in 1824, giving it the name "portland" because it had the same color as a natural stone mined on the island of Portland, a peninsula on the south coast of Great Britain. That and because his name was in fact Portland, you see his father was also a mason and his mother had an obvious fixation with masonry products.
Sun-baked bricks were still utilized and were still having durability troubles. Stucco continued to be used to coat the bricks and maintain the masonry walls permanently. There are many buildings built of masonry bricks prior to the 1900's that exist in good shape today because they were coated with, you got it, stucco. Now everybody sing along, “ We love you Stucco, My wonderful stucco, You make me happy, when skies are gray, You never…” You get the picture.With advance technology and the development of brick kilns, the need to use stucco to protect the bricks didn't carry on, but stucco continued to be used both on the interior and exterior of buildings.

World War II, ended in 1945, Germany had very little natural resources and a whole lot of holes in their buildings. They needed something to offset the fact that they had virtually squat in terms of natural resources. And so they put their heads together and developed a wholly new ingredient that has revolutionized the entire construction industry. It was a chemical called Acrylic Resin, a liquid that had distinctive characteristics and completely changed the paint, sealant, and cement industries.
Its prime characteristics were as follows:
1. In liquid form, it was soluble in water.
2. When it dried, it was insoluble in water.
3. It could be diluted with larger quantities of water and not lose its effective characteristics, up to eight parts of water per part of acrylic.
4. It could be used as a permanent bonding agent.
5. It had almost no shrinkage when used in concrete or stucco.
6. It has great durability.
When applied to a cement /stucco mix, it was discovered that a very thin coating in the neighborhood of 1/16" could, structurally speaking, act as well as 7/8" of regular stucco. It could develop its strength while drying over-night; you didn't have to wait 28 days to develop its strength. Because it could be applied very thinly and develop its strength while drying, it didn't expand or contract palpably, and could be used on much larger areas of surface without being restricted to 144 square feet of area between joints as with the use of hard coat stucco. Joints could almost be eliminated.
With the addition of insulation board, it could be used to quickly rebuild the devastation of Europe following World War II at a very economical cost and provide great energy savings. Sealants and paints were made with this acrylic material and it revolutionized those industries.
Iit was inevitable that synthetic stucco was born as a new building material. It became versatile. Beautiful wall designs became very easy to make by shaping the insulation board upon which it was placed. Synthetic stucco is essentially the same as hard coat stucco, except the acrylic resin is mixed with water and is the liquid mixing ingredient instead of water alone.
Its use came to America in 1969 from Europe, and it became a leader in the exterior wall industry, both in the commercial and residential sectors.

I may be an EIFS advocate, but I’m certainly not a visually impaired advocate. I’ve seen what incompetence does to an industry and it’s about time we all stand up and take our trades seriously.