Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) is a type of exterior building wall cladding. It was developed in Europe after World War II and became popular in the United States building industry beginning in the 1960s. EIFS is a composite material system applied to a building in pre-made panels that are a combination of an insulation component and a finished wall surface.

While EIFS can look very similar to stucco and is referred to as “synthetic stucco,” actual stucco is a very different material.

Stucco is a type of wall or ceiling finish made from cement materials, sand, and water mixed together to form a plaster. It is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid.

Although EIFS and stucco are similar in appearance, one can distinguish them by knocking on the surface.

If it sounds hollow, it’s EIFS. If it sounds solid, it’s stucco.


Excerpted from Chuck’s upcoming book, Zen and the Art of Facility Assessments.