A lot of people are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills or to simply just be more green. However, these two concerns often clash together. What is the solution? One of the best ways that many people are turning towards these days is exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS). They offer high thermal performance and low-cost alternatives to interior insulation products, but they also have some disadvantages. In addition to these, it is important to be aware of the fully comprehensive EIFS systems available on the market. With this article, we will take a look around and discuss these in detail.
What are Exterior Insulation Finish Systems?
It is safe to say that an EIFS system is a type of exterior insulation finish that applies coatings on top of the existing roof system. An EIFS product is usually applied because the roofing material used in commercial buildings or residences cannot handle frozen construction joints for long term periods due to its durability and strength. In order to solve this problem, an EIFS system is applied as a sealant over an existing roofing material, which allows for uniform expansion and contraction.
EIFS technically is any decorative solid material that covers the entire roof and walls. The exterior insulation finish system (EIFS) has been used for over 20 years as a means to seal the construction joints on a building and improve its thermal performance. There are two main three types of products that fall under this classification:
- Polymer EIFS: These products consist of two main layers: the top layer is a polymerized coating, while the bottom layer is typically a mixture of mineral dust, masonry dust and cement. The polymerization process spreading evenly over both layers can be either sprayed or troweled on.
- Traditional EIFS: These products consist of three layers: the top layer is typically a polymerized coating or cementitious material, the middle layer consists of aggregates and fibers, and the bottom layer is composed of a water-applied membrane. The polymerization process for this type of EIFS only coats one side of the top layer. After working its way into the joints, this product dries to create a solid barrier. The other main advantage associated with this option is that it does not have any restrictions when it comes to being installed in an expansive or highly corrosive environment.
In addition to these two options, there are also some newer EIFS products available on the market today as well.
Significance of Exterior Insulation Finish Systems:
Many people assume that the only downfall associated with EIFS systems is their high cost. However, this is not the case. There are many other significant benefits to be had when installing an exterior insulation finish system for your home or business. Among these are:
- Storm Water Run-off Reduction: Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems can reduce storm water runoff by as much as 50 percent, depending on the product used and environment in which it has been installed. This performance is due to its ability to withstand even the most harsh and extreme weather conditions.
- Energy Efficiency and Energy Savings: Another main benefit of installing exterior insulation finish systems on commercial buildings or homes is that it can significantly cut down energy costs and increase energy efficiency over time. This is due to its ability to insulate the roof, which can reduce energy bills by as much as 25 percent.
- Durability: Exterior Insulation Finish Systems are extremely durable and corrosion resistant, allowing them to last a very long time with little maintenance required. This exceptional durability also adds to other benefits of product life and energy savings listed above.
- Diverse Options Available: There are many different types of exterior insulation finish systems available for you to choose from on the market today, each with their own unique characteristics and strengths. Traditional EIFS is typically preferred by those who operate in highly corrosive environments because it does not use polymerized materials in its construction.
Traditional EIFS also comes in a variety of colors, which gives it a more customized look than an ordinary painted surface.
Nonetheless, polymer EIFS is generally preferred because of its sealing and waterproofing properties, as well as its sound reduction effects. It is important to remember that all exterior insulation finish systems are great at resisting outdoor elements such as wind, rain and heat transfer; however some are better at retaining thermal energy than others.
One of the most significant factors to consider when choosing an exterior insulation finish system for your commercial building or home is insulation type. There are generally two types of insulation materials used within these systems:
- Foam: Foam insulation, specifically polyurethane, is usually reserved for denser, heavier or complex exterior insulation finish systems. They come in a variety of densities and thicknesses, each with their own unique characteristics.
- Mineral Wool: Mineral wool is more commonly used as rigid board insulation because it is made from natural materials that are not considered toxic. It also does not have any fire retardants added for safety purposes. This type of material has a high resistance to water absorption and does not have any expansion problems associated with it either.
Exterior insulation finish systems are essentially two-sided products that can greatly improve the quality of your home or business roofing system and help you reduce your energy bills. However, it is important to understand that there are a few downsides associated with this construction process. Therefore, it is recommended that you consider all of the main benefits and drawbacks before making a decision on which option is right for you.