Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Home inspection quagmire, EIFS siding

Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is a house siding system that provides the exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in a layered composite material system. 

It looks great, wonderful street appeal, but be careful.  The design of EIFS, unlike other systems (brick, stone, siding, etc.), does not allow the moisture behind the EIFS to drain. The problem is water intrusion and entrapment in the wall cavities. The moisture can sit in contact with the sheathing (wood siding) for a prolonged period and rotting may result. Damage can be serious. 

But in 2008-2009 it was required of installers to incorporate a drainage system.  I am still waiting to see a drainage system in newer homes I inspect. 

So as a home inspector you have to recommend this type of house finish further evaluated by a specialist.  I strongly recommend this to my clients.  I am a home inspector and legally can only do a visual inspection (level 1).  But a specialist will do an intrusive (make holes) inspection (level 2), with the permission of the seller.  Good luck on that one. 

I also want to share with you, my insurance company will no longer cover EIFS inspections.  In legal terms it was stated to me, I have to recommend the EIFS siding be inspected by a specialist.  I also recommend that my clients contact their insurance company to see if they cover it.

The installers still are not installing it right, insurance companies don’t want to insure it and there are a lot of lawyers getting rich off of it.   Do you really want to buy the house with the EIFS siding that has great curb appeal?