Building Codes, Construction Trends and Innovation Drive Opportunities for EIFS
The following are brief highlights from my June 10, 2021 presentation at the Texas Lathing and Plastering Contractors Association (TLPCA) Annual Convention held in Lost Pines, TX.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) incorporate continuous insulation (CI) and typically an air/water resistive barrier or AWRB that resists air and moisture. Opportunities for EIFS are being driven by building codes and trends which continue to influence the use and increase the requirements for continuous insulation (CI), air barriers, and water resistive barriers. With few
exceptions, building codes such as the International Building (IBC) and Residential Code (IRC) require a water resistive barrier behind most exterior wall claddings. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) establishes minimum requirements for energy efficient buildings with
prescriptive and performance methods used for compliance. Depending on the method selected, thermal insulation options for above grade exterior walls generally include or in some cases require continuous insulation (CI). Also under the (IECC) are requirements for air barriers that apply to almost all building types and climate zones.
Water resistive barriers are installed behind the exterior wall cladding while air barriers can be located on the interior or exterior side of the building thermal envelope. Compliance with air and water resistance requirements can be achieved with individually installed materials or a single, dual function product often referred to as an air/water resistive barrier or AWRB. An AWRB affords benefits including single step installation (reduced labor) and ease of detailing since installation is on the exterior.
Exterior wall claddings, such as EIFS, incorporate CI as an integral component and accommodate the CI in terms of system detailing, installation and performance. CI can and often is added or incorporated behind many other exterior wall claddings which effectively increases the normal thickness of the wall assembly. This shifts the outermost wall plane towards the exterior which results in new or additional considerations that can include the following:
Closure details which occur at terminations including around openings, base of the wall, etc. (Refer to example in Figure 1)
Aesthetics and complexity
Practical CI thickness limitations due to attachment considerations, cladding weight, fastener availability, et
Type of CI which may trigger performance based testing e.g. fire, etc.
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