Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) have become popular in the residential construction market in recent years due to the overall appearance and relatively low cost. EIFS is an exterior cladding system comprised of an insulating foam board base covered with a reinforcing glass mesh embedded into a base coat with a minimum thickness of 1/16th of an inch. A finish coat containing color pigmentation and texturing is then applied over the base coat to produce the finished product. The system is attached to the substrate with adhesive or mechanical fasteners. The system is typically referred to as a PB system, referring to the polymer-based acrylic material used for the base coat.

Barrier EIFS-clad walls are designed as face-sealed systems with the intent that water is prevented from entering the wall assembly. No provisions are made for the management of water that may intrude the wall. While there is little evidence that water penetrates through the field of EIFS cladding, experience has shown that water is often found near window assemblies, doorways, roof rakes, hose bibs and other penetrations of the system. Prolonged moisture build-up behind the system can cause significant damage to sheathing, framing and other materials subject to microbial growth and corrosion.

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