One of the best siding materials in modern construction has gotten a bad wrap because supposed professionals are not installing it properly. This type of siding installation is not only a fantastically energy efficient method of combining insulation and siding, but also cuts down on air infiltration. EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finish System) has been around for a number of years, but has seen a slow down over the last 10 years because of moisture issues and law suites. EIFS provides a solid foam board insulation that is covered with two coats of concrete plaster held onto the surface with a fiber mesh. This mesh has to wrap around the edges around windows an doors in order to be affective. Otherwise, this material will fall apart.
EIFS Wrapping Basics
There are two methods of wrapping the foam board that forms the EIFS so that it terminates correctly:
Edge wrapping is when you take fiber mesh and run it past the edge of the foam board onto the substrate (sheathing, masonry, etc.) This terminates the EIFS and once the base coats is on, protects the foam board from moisture and sunlight decomposition. This is common in areas where the EIFs meets a different siding material.
This is more of an accepted technique in which the fiber mesh is wrapped around the edge of each piece of foam board in a factory. This gives the edge a perfect termination as the base coat is already wrapped up a few inches in the back of the foam board, making install significantly easier. This is the preferred way to have your EIFS installed as it keeps mistakes to a minimum. This is the preferred method of ordering EIFS as it is much easier for the builder and causes less issues than doing the wrapping on sight.
Properly installed EIFS can last an entire life time with minimal maintenance and repairs, but a bad job can haunt you for the rest of yours. If you are having someone install EIFS on your home and you see that the edges and corners are not properly wrapped, stop the project right away before it is not fixable.