When it comes to energy efficiency and design flexibility, you can’t beat an exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS). But while these popular external wall cladding systems offer numerous benefits, improper EIFS installation can have disastrous — and expensive — consequences.
To ensure your EIFS is installed properly, it’s important to carefully screen potential EIFS contractors to find someone who’s qualified for the job.
Not sure what to look for when screening candidates? Our favorite resource on this topic is an article written by Ann Hickman of the International Risk Management Institute. Though originally intended for an audience of insurers, “Are All EIFS Contractors Created Equal?” is an invaluable guide for anyone seeking a qualified EIFS contractor.
We’ve summarized the best of Hickman’s tried-and-true advice so that you can confidently identify the most qualified EIFS contractor for your next commercial building project.
Training and Education
Training and education are key to ensuring proper EIFS installation. When talking with potential contractors, ask them to detail the training they and their employees have received in EIFS installation.
Since each manufacturer’s EIFS is different, proper installation techniques will vary by product. It is vital that contractors and their employees receive product-specific training for all EIFS products they use.
It is also important that contractors and their employees understand the role that EIFS installation plays in an overall project and that they know how to successfully coordinate EIFS installation with other strategic processes, such as window and flashing installation.
There are several measures an EIFS contractor should take to ensure quality control, but the most important is to always use a single manufacturer’s components on each project. An EIFS system consists of several different components:
- An insulation board
- An adhesive or mechanical attachment, used to join the insulation to the substrate
- A water-resistant base coat, applied on top of the insulation to serve as a weather barrier
- A glass-fiber reinforcing mesh, embedded in the water-resistant base coat
- A color-fast and crack-resistant finish coat
Combining components from different manufacturers could sacrifice the integrity of the system and cause it to fail, so it is imperative to identify a contractor who uses components from a single manufacturer on each project.
EIFS contractors should also maintain up-to-date quality control manuals, including installation and project-completion checklists.
Contracts and Other Documentation
Talking to potential EIFS contractors about their contract requirements and other key documentation can help settle any issues that might arise without having to resort to litigation.
Contracts should always be in writing and should include a clearly defined scope of work, an arbitration clause, and requirements for preconstruction meetings, including a provision specifying that the EIFS manufacturer will review the plan.
EIFS contractors should keep copies of documentation provided by EIFS manufacturers, such as product information sheets, brochures, specifications, etc. EIFS contractors’ records should also indicate which manufacturer’s system was used on each project.
It is important that EIFS contractors have processes for documenting and correcting nonconformance issues and for completing a post-installation inspection. During this inspection, the EIFS contractor should document any changes made to their original work, such as the installation of lights and signs.
Armed with this information, it won’t be difficult to identify a quality EIFS contractor for your next commercial building project. To make it even easier, you don’t need to look further than Diversified Interiors. If you would like to talk to us about our first-rate EIFS installation practices, contact us today.