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Have a Question About Your Stucco, Foam or Stone Project?

We are here to help you get your project started — so ask us anything you want about your project!

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    What is EIFS – Synthetic Stucco?

    Synthetic Stucco Explained

    EIFS is an acronym for “Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems.” The product is also called synthetic stucco, and it refers to a multi-layered exterior finish that’s been used in European construction since shortly after World War II.

    Contractors found stucco to be a good repair choice for buildings damaged during the war. The majority of repairs to European buildings were to structures constructed of stone, concrete, brick, or other similar, durable materials.

    Some homeowners might think their home is made from traditional stucco when, in fact, the exterior siding is actually EIFS.

    EIFS in North America

    The EIFS Industry Members Association states that EIFS first came to the U.S. in 1969.

    Many North American builders began using EIFS in the 1980s, first in commercial buildings then applying it as an exterior finish to residences, mostly wood frame houses. They used the same techniques that had been successful in Europe.

    EIFS Has Six Layers

    Unlike earlier applications, there are six layers to modern EIFS:

    • An optional water-resistive barrier is generally fluid that’s applied to cover the substrate.
    • Adhesive attaches insulation board to the supporting structure. Mechanical fasteners can be used in some cases.
    • A foam insulation board is secured to the exterior wall surface substrate, most often with adhesive.
    • A base coat, either an acrylic or polymer-based cement material, is applied to the top of the insulation then reinforced with glass fiber reinforcement mesh.
    • The reinforcement mesh is embedded in the base coat material.

    Regular Stucco

    Stucco Textures, A Visual Aid

    There are a few different stucco textures that can be achieved and having a look at all of them can give you a general idea of what to expect and maybe even help you decide on which one you want to use on your house.

    These are just a few examples of what is out there, some of the more popular ones anyways and each one has its own unique characteristics and style. Some textures work better to achieve an overall look and feel like a smooth texture for a Mediterranean look or a sand finish for a more modern look.

    These are just a few examples of what is out there, some of the more popular ones anyways and each one has its own unique characteristics and style. Some textures work better to achieve an overall look and feel like a smooth texture for a Mediterranean look or a sand finish for a more modern look.

    Sand Finish & Knockdown Finish:

    This is a basic and simple kind of texture that is popular in commercial applications. It can be fine, medium or coarse in appearance and varies depending on the manufacturer. It is troweled down and finished using a float and quick strokes.

    • Is a very versatile finish and can be done using traditional or synthetic stucco
    • Can be applied in one coat and is one of the easiest to apply
    • Is usually troweled on, but can be sprayed on and then troweled down tight
    • A “green float” gives the finish its texture
    • Found in fine, medium and coarse finishes
    • Relatively easy to patch if color matches up and edges are feathered in nicely

    Fine Sand Finish

    Medium Sand Finish

    Coarse Sand Finish

    Knockdown Finish

    Smooth Textures & Finishes:

    These are one of the most difficult textures to achieve, but is growing in popularity. It is the easiest to clean and is very customizable due to the fact that different colors can be added to get a “mottled look”.

    • Is usually a synthetic/acrylic stucco finish, but can be achieved using a fine cement based finish
    • Usually a fine is used to eliminate as many lines as possible, but a medium will also work when using acrylics
    • Achieved using a “swimming pool trowel” or a “pool” trowel
    • Colors can be added directly to the wall to achieve a “mottled” look
    • Is very hard to patch and has a tendency to crack more than other finishes

    ​A Very Smooth Finish

    ​A Smooth Finish With More Visible Aggregate