Exterior Insulation Systems: Open EIFS Vs Stucco.

Energy mandates and building owners are requiring designers to rethink their wall assemblies. In response, more and more designers are developing wall assemblies with exterior insulation systems.  The benefits of doing so can include increased thermal performance, reduce potential condensation, and improve overall resiliency.

EIFS of course, is a well established exterior insulation system. It has evolved over the past two decades to drainable systems with sophisticated detailing requirements.  Building owners readily perceive the budget benefits of EIFS. However, they also perceive that while possibly costing more initially, that stucco is a more durable cladding system and potentially yielding better life cycle costs.  Their decision making process will center on the notion of value. The questions arise, what are the advantages or disadvantages of each system? Which system is more durable, more resilient, or yields better life cycle costs.

Presenting a case study of a recent large remediation project, architect Robert Brunjes will present how Built Environments  was able to guide their client though their decision making process. The discussion will be oriented around exploring an open EIFS system versus tradition stucco over exterior insulation.  Highlighted will be issues explored in our process. These included the design and technical building issues, thermal and hygothermal performance issues, and potential costs.  All these were explored in the early design stages in the context of the project parameters.  The results allowed the building owner to reach a decision early on and the ability to move forward with the project on firm footings.


Brunjes-150x150Robert F. Brunjes  |  Principal Architect  |  Built Environments, Inc.  |  Phone:  651-439-9396  |  Email:  rbrunjes@built-environments.com

Mr. Brunjes is principal architect for Built Environments, a Minnesota based building science and architectural consulting firm. He is a licensed architect with over three decades of professional practice experience. His design experience includes a diverse portfolio of project types including commercial and municipal buildings, industrial facilities, schools, churches, and all types of residential projects. Mr. Brunjes also brings over a decade of forensic and management experience involving distressed buildings affected by construction defects, material failures, and water damage. This combined experience provides the foundation for generating innovative design solutions that integrate improved building performance, resilient design, and enhanced environmental quality.