Considering EIFS? You Can Save Thousands in Insurance Costs

New church building construction

If EIFS Has Improved, Why Is Insurance Cost Still High?

Are you planning new construction at your church, school or nonprofit? Then you may be exploring EIFS as a siding option. Although it had a rocky past, it has come a long way in its development. But, did you know insurance underwriters have not yet caught up with its advancements and how much better it is today?

EIFS is a common construction material here in Florida as well as across the US. This is due to its low cost, added insulation and the decorative options it provides. But, the poor reputation of EIFS has not been forgotten by insurance carriers. This results in more premiums for property insurance every year. Knowing this is crucial to saving thousands in coverage for your church building.

EIFS on church building

In this article we look at what EIFS is, its problems in the past and how it has improved over the years. We also look at its affect on property insurance and what help is available to reduce premiums when opting for this siding on your new building.


What is EIFS diagram

What is EIFS?

The acronym “E.I.F.S.” stands for “Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems”. It is a non-load bearing cladding system for exterior walls used on buildings. EIFS consists of an insulation board attached by adhesive or mechanically (or both) to the substrate. It has an added reinforced base coat and a textured protective finish coat.


Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems Role in Construction

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems is a preferred choice in new building construction due to its energy efficiency and visual appeal. It was invented in Europe more than 75 years ago and has since become popular in America.

EIFS became widespread in the United States in the 1970s because of its many benefits. Its application covers both residential and commercial construction projects. This is due to its adaptable versatility and many unique design capabilities. These traits are why it’s favored among architects, builders and property owners.

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems

Keep in mind, it is imperative to be informed when planning to build or beginning an addition on your property. Be sure to ask your contractor about the use of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems on your building. Note that many products, identified by their brand, do not use the term “EIFS” specifically.

EIFS vs. Stucco

EIFS is sometimes referred to as synthetic stucco or fake stucco. This is because it is similar to, but often costs more than, traditional stucco. In comparing the two, the biggest differences between them are the insulation and the application process.

The table below highlights the key differences between EIFS and traditional stucco.

EIFSTraditional Stucco
Multi-layered coatingSingle thick coat
Includes insulationNo insulation included
Enhanced energy efficiencyLower energy efficiency
More flexibleProne to cracking
Diverse design optionsLimited design options

One of the key differences between EIFS and stucco is the insulation advantage in Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems. This improves thermal efficiency which reduces heat transfer. It provides superior insulation compared to traditional stucco. This can help buildings stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The energy efficiency of EIFS can outweigh the initial higher cost of installation.

EIFS is also different from stucco in its application process. Traditional stucco is applied in a single, thick coat. While EIFS consists of several layers in its implementation. This layering enhances its insulation properties and allows for more options in design.

  • Insulation layer
  • Base coat layer
  • Reinforcement mesh layer
  • Finish coat layer

What Were the Problems With EIFS in the Past?

EIFS encountered several problems when it was first introduced to the commercial market. Insurance claims would come in steadily from the damages these problems caused. Unfortunately, these damages gave it a bad reputation in its beginning. This reputation has lingered long after improvements were made to the system. Below were the major concerns surrounding EIFS initially.

  • Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems was prone to moisture intrusion and rot, which lead to structural damage.
  • The system was susceptible to mold and mildew, which caused health issues for occupants.
  • EIFS damage would occur in high winds if not installed or maintained properly.
Church siding eifs problems photo

Problems with water intrusion

One of the major issues with EIFS in the past arose when there was a significant impact to the outer surface. This often resulted in cracks due to the thinness of the top layer over the softness of the base. Cracks in the surface allowed water to penetrate its protective layer.

These cracks would let moisture seep behind the outer layer and get trapped. This moisture would then cause mold, mildew and rot. The greater the mold, mildew and rot, the more expensive the damage would be to fix.

Problems in high winds

Another issue with EIFS in the past was structural deterioration as a result of incorrect installation and inadequate maintenance. If it was not installed or maintained properly, it would not stand up to high winds.

Wind damage was one of the biggest drawbacks and the risk outweighed its cost and designer look. The problem was the wind would pick up a corner and remove a sheet along with the connected sheet. This, in turn, effected adjacent sheets and so on.


Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems Has Improved Over Time

EIFS has improved over the years due to comprehensive testing and is NFPA 285 compliant. In fact, when discussing EIFS today, you may hear: “it’s come a long way!” It has since become the preferred choice for siding among builders in construction.

  • Boosts energy efficiency
    Compared to traditional stucco, this material can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Resists cracking
    Its flexible nature makes it more resilient to temperature fluctuations, preventing cracks and maintaining its look.
  • Unmatched durability
    This option offers superior durability compared to conventional stucco, ensuring a longer-lasting exterior.
  • Impenetrable defense against moisture
    The water-resistant properties create a strong barrier, preventing moisture infiltration and protecting the exterior.
  • Creates a unique look
    With a variety of customizable textures, you can design a stunning and personalized exterior that reflects your style.
“EIFS offer tremendous versatility in the new construction and renovation of both commercial and residential projects. In addition to their lightweight composition, design and detail flexibility and cost effectiveness, EIFS are the most fully and comprehensively tested exterior cladding choice and are also NFPA 285 compliant.”

How Does EIFS Affect Insurance Premiums?

When it comes to coverage for Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems, insurance carriers seem unaware of its improvements. So, there are EIFS exclusions and coverage concerns you need to be aware of. Understanding these factors is crucial for adequate protection and avoiding the unexpected.

EIFS Insurance Exclusions and Coverage Concerns

The table below shows three coverage concerns and their implications on EIFS insurance.

ConcernsImplications
EIFS ExclusionMay limit or deny coverage for property damage related to EIFS
Legal DisputesLead to debates about EIFS exclusion interpretation and applicability
Court RulingsInconsistent outcomes based on policy language and nature of damage

EIFS Exclusion in Liability Policies

Many commercial liability policies contain an Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems exclusion. This can limit or deny coverage for property damage related to EIFS. This exclusion is typically included due to the perceived problems with EIFS. This includes things such as moisture intrusion, mold growth and structural deterioration. By excluding coverage, insurance carriers believe they can reduce exposure to costly claims.

In the past, there have been many legal disputes and court cases surrounding Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems. Mainly on the interpretation and application of EIFS exclusions in insurance policies. The outcome of these cases have made an impact on the coverage available to property owners using EIFS.

Court Rulings on Insurance Claims

Court rulings on EIFS insurance claims were inconsistent at best. Some cases favored the insured and others upheld the exclusion. The outcome of each case depended on various factors. These included specific policy language, nature of the property damage and jurisdiction. These unpredictable rulings added to the complexity and uncertainty of EIFS insurance coverage.


Insuring Your New EIFS Building

Beacon Insurance Agency encourages property owners to better understand today’s EIFS. With the help of a knowledge insurance agency, you may be able to get a lower insurance premium. This could mean thousands in savings on your building’s insurance coverage.

Safety and liability risks due to construction issues are a regular, ongoing concern. At Beacon, our advantage is our partnership with GuideOne Insurance. This gives us access to safety resources that offer guidance in whatever risks you face.

“To avoid commercial insurance underwriting challenges, provide documentation that confirms your EIFS-clad buildings are in excellent condition. Then your underwriter can feel confident when insuring your property portfolio.”

Don’t make an uninformed decision based on the rocky history of EIFS. Contact Beacon Insurance Agency today to learn more about the insurance coverage and safety resources we offer to help protect your ministry.

Navigating Existing Insurance Claims

When facing an existing EIFS insurance claim, you must understand your policy terms. Be sure to work closely with an experienced insurance claims professional. Having expert guidance can help you with the process and maximize your claim.

Documenting the extent of damages and gathering evidence are important in making a strong case.

  • Take photographs detailing the affected areas
  • Gather any relevant repair estimates or invoices
  • Keep records of all interactions with insurance company

Help With Existing Insurance Disputes

If you encounter a dispute with your insurer on your existing EIFS claim, it may be necessary to seek legal help. An attorney in insurance law can help protect your rights and advocate for a fair resolution. They will be well-versed in the intricacies of EIFS insurance disputes. They can also help guide you through the legal process effectively.

Remember, be proactive, stay organized and seek professional help to receive the justice you are entitled to. With the right support and documentation, you can navigate the claim process and resolve your dispute.


Conclusion

We hope this article helps your understanding of EIFS as a siding option for new building construction. Being informed allows you to make a better decision for your church, private school or nonprofit needs. Although EIFS and insurance can be complex, there is professional help available to assist you in choosing what is best for your organization.

Choose an insurance agency who can negotiate terms for you. If you have questions or need help with EIFS insurance in Florida, contact the team at Beacon Insurance Agency today. Our experienced professionals are available to provide you with guidance and support. We can help you navigate the complexities of EIFS insurance coverage, related issues and help you with coverage for your unique needs.

Our goal at Beacon Insurance Agency is to help light the way to peace of mind.
We hope to empower our clients with the information they need to safely fulfill their mission to the world.

Beacon Insurance Agency provides insurance and risk management services to religious organizations. We have served Florida and Alabama since 2009 by helping customize insurance packages to fit their unique needs. We also offer safety resources to help protect your organization against common risks.

Contact us to have us review your existing church, private school or nonprofit insurance policy.
We can also work with you to customize a plan that helps protects your ministry’s future.


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