Why are most EIFS contractors are doing it wrong
There is a very simple reason why most EIFS contractors are doing it wrong
The main reason EIFS contractors are not doing EIFS the right way is that it cost a lot more money to do it right. There are a hundred things you could leave off, and not even do on an EIFS job to make your life easier as a contractor. Treating the windows and doors before the foam is stuck is a very time consuming job, not to mention the cost of using all the right material. Using the best moisture barrier instead of just throwing a cloth based barrier up can save a lot of money. It has been proven that a liquid moisture barrier is the best, so use it. Of course, a liquid moisture barrier is much more expensive to buy and apply. If the flashing, or caulking, or a window fails around the EIFS without a liquid moisture barrier there is a very good chance you are going to rot the wood behind the EIFS. This seems so elementary, but to safe money, a lot of contractors will use the cloth base barrier, and if moisture gets behind the EIFS it rots the wood, and has a potential to do some major damage, which could be prevented by using a liquid moisture barrier, but is cost more. Applying a liquid moisture barrier does not cost a little more it costs at least 3 times more.
You would think not using the best moisture barrier would be enough, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Another area where contractors cut corners to save money is expansion joints. Expansion joints in EIFS are much larger that most other materials. Making a 3/4″ expansion around every window look good is a time consuming process, as you could imagine. Not to mention the customer is going to be asking why there is a huge gap around the windows, and nine times out of ten they are going to want them to look perfect. To avoid dealing with the problem EIFS contractors will not put the expansion at all. The job will look great when they leave, but down the road a year or two the windows will all start to crack at the edges. Roof lines are the same. Contractors will take the EIFS all the way down to the shingles, because it looks better that way. The EIFS should be kept up off the shingles at least 2″ and set in a starter track to protect the EIFS from the roof water run off. The customer is going to have a problem with the 2″ gap where the roof flashing is exposed. The contractor not only saves face by not having to argue with the customer, but saves money by not installing the track. Those are two examples of some major things that contractors do that can real make a mess of things, and cost a lot of money to repair, but there are a lot of little things that contractors are not doing as well. Let me go back to EIFS expansion joints for a minute. The expansion joint has to be back wrapped with reinforced mesh and that mesh must have EIFS Base Coat all the way back to the substrate, and it has to be smooth, and not showing any baggy mesh. That is the only way the caulk is going to be able to adhere to it. I cannot tell you how many times I see the mesh pulled but there is no Base Coat in the expansion joint it is just exposed foam. The times I do see Base Coat in the expansion joints there is baggy mesh and lumpy Base Coat. It is very time consuming and tedious work to Base Coat inside every expansion joint on the job. The contractor does not real save much money in material by cutting this corner, but there is a savings in labor for sure.