Siding systems are continually evolving, changing and sometimes improving as new materials are developed and new understandings in building envelopes are improved.
We are always looking for the sidings that need less maintenance, are inexpensive and, are easy to install with very little instruction. Those three attributes fuel the evolution of sidings and over the years some have been great and some have not been so good. In the last 20 years there has been a siding that has worked well in other parts of the country but has failed so consistently in the northwest it has actually been banned in Oregon! This wonderful siding is very adept at allowing water into the wall cavity while appearing visually good.
Synthetic stucco, Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems (EIFS), or even by the brand name “Dry-vit.”
Like most siding systems the problems arise with poor installation. Lack of proper installation training appears to be at the heart of the problems with EIFS. If EIFS is installed precisely and maintained aggressively, it can shed water properly.
Perfect installation is very rare. So rare, that I have only seen one home that had a proper EIFS installation and the home had just undergone a $100,000+ insurance claim siding remodel that involved forensic siding specialists!
If you are going to buy a home that is covered in EIFS you should plan on having an inspection that will include invasive probing. The foam boards that make up the substrate can be a very clever thermal barrier…
EIFS is still allowed on commercial buildings and on a recent inspection in Salem, my clients did not negotiate for invasive probing and thankfully the pictures that the thermal camera captured made the total replacement of the siding a compelling option: