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DuskTrooper

EIFS and other substandard materials used in architecture and construction...

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One of the things that bothers me these days..is the use of substandard materials on buildings, such as EIFS, which is more commonly known as synthetic stucco. The usage of EIFS often leads to extensive rot and damage, which costs very expansive to repair. Yet, architects/builders still utilize this subpar material, due to it's "versatility" and low cost. In fact, it is quickly growing in usage, and even high end projects now utilize EIFS. Such a material can easily be refinished, or replaced later on, and some say it is much easier to "sculpt" with. However, the benefits are truly nothing when compared to the problems, and liabilities faced with the usage of such a thing... So, what is your take on the issue of subpar construction materials(and procedure: not just EIFS) vs cost?

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I believe in doing the job right the first time.  If it's going to cost extra to do it right, open your wallet and pull out the difference.  I have thoughts of owning a road-construction business one day and I can guarantee that my roads will last 25+ years.  They'll be expensive but they'll be cheaper in the long run.

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There's been extensive discussion of this over at Cyburbia.


One guy claimed that a high school wall was made of poor EIFS, and when the students learned its consistency, stuck hundreds of pencils into it. On top of that, a leak had developed near the roofline , which rotted the EIFS from the inside-out.
hym: Asphalt or concrete? It's a pretty famous decision when building a new road or repaving an old one. Asphalt is cheap, but it lasts 1/5 the time that concrete does. Concrete costs 3x more, but lasts longer. Often, the municipality will go with the asphalt, because it's easier to get more money over a longer period of time than a big amount up-front.
EDIT - sorry about the line breaks, guys. for some reason, ST doesn't recognize returns in posts at this point in time.

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Ardecila: I agree with your assesment of concrete vs asphalt. It's my understanding that asphalt expands and contracts better than concrete, and is therefore used more often in cold climate regions. I believe some municipalities choose asphalt for this purpose as well.

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A lot of roads in Fargo, ND are made of concrete. The region has such wild temperature changes that tar roads justr get the crap beaten out of them. Most of the concrete roads are pretty old and very cracked to high heavens, but they still hold up a lot better than tar. Fargo can see temperatures in the winter as low as -40 and summer temperatures as high as 110

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One guy claimed that a high school wall was made of poor EIFS, and when the students learned its consistency, stuck hundreds of pencils into it. On top of that, a leak had developed near the roofline , which rotted the EIFS from the inside-out.quote>

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Thats terrible, especially here in the south where the humidity creates a toxic mold hazard.

What happens when a vinyl-sided house goes up in flames? Toxic chemicals are released in significan numbers.quote>

sometimes its just as bad when the neighboors house burns down and your vinyl siding warps. I think it happened on aqua-teen-hunger-force(a television show), where they decided to mow the yard by dousing it in gasoline and lighting it on fire....

Personally, i like hardiboard, i like the way it looks. Also, its too bad EIFS is so crappy, because to be honest i like the way it looks. We all know that the architecture of new townhomes and stuff could be much much worse.

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I notice a lot of newer brick buildings have a complete vertical break in the bricks about every 20 feet, which is filled with caulk. I just wonder what the reason for this is, and why it is so important to have a line dividing up the continuity of the brick.quote>

This is done in order to allow the brixck walls to move and flex, and expand, etc, according to heat, etc. Otherwise, you might end up with cracks, and such.

Also, hardie plank is much better than vinyl/wood siding, BUT, still, I am quite annoyed when hardie plank is used instead of brick, or other forms of real masonry. On the back and upper sides of homes, it is acceptable, to some extent, but, if it becomes too obvious, then, it is just another shortcut in construction.

Also, I have heard of a new option to consider instead of using EIFS: Hardie Stucco. it is just like hardie plank (fiber cement siding) but, it is available in larger panel sizes. Compare this to EIFS, which is nothing but painted styrofoam over a thin wire/plastic mesh.

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%7Boption%7D

sure, it looks cheap and tract-housey if it is on a brick house, but hey, if its on a house that is is all hardi plank siding then it looks cool.

And yeah, hardi stucco sounds neat. Maybe there will be a kind that does not fade or get dingy or crack too.

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I have not come accross this EIFS here int eh Uk, but it sounds like a real crap material. To udnerstand why buildings are built with cheap materials you have to understand whats known as the construction traingle. The 3 points are: Time Quality Cost You can only have 2 points of this triangle to make a project work. If you want a building built cheaply and quickly, then the quality is not going to be very good (note the cheaper materials). If you want a cost effective building but high quality, it will take a long time to build. Likewise if you want a buildign built to high quality in a short space of time, it will cost you. Unfortunately most building these days are built on the aspect of cheap and quick which unfortunately reduces the quality of materials and workmanship. Hope this helps

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Originally posted by: cpodurgiel Ardecila: I agree with your assesment of concrete vs asphalt. It's my understanding that asphalt expands and contracts better than concrete, and is therefore used more often in cold climate regions. I believe some municipalities choose asphalt for this purpose as well.quote>
Hmmm, my understanding of roads and such, at least here in the PAC NW, is this; concrete is laid when the roadway is expected to handle large volume and/or large capacity vehicles. When it is used it is, "mostly," covered with an asphalt layer over top to smooth out the concrete which is not the best surface for long-term wear-and-tear. On highways, where smoothness isn't really wanted, the concrete is used bare and sometimes grooved for more traction. I do know from experience that when Seattle re-laid a lot of the downtown streets they poured concrete for them; bad idea, in my estimation. Yes, they are very much longer wearing (they carry bus weight much better than asphalt) but are noisier and in general bumpier than asphalt. 38.gif

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I was thinking the vertical breaks in the brick had more to do with saving time in construction. It doesn't make sense to put in an expansion joint a half inch wide every 20 feet, because the amount of expansion they can account for is negligible. Buildings have been built out of brick for thousands of years and they never had expansion joints like that, though the introduction of steel structure adds a few complications. Still, I think it has more to do with the bricklaying process. It is a lot easier to lay out five 20 foot long sections than a single 100 foot section, as you can complete a section before moving on to the next one. It seems as though doubling the length of a section of brick would make it more than twice as hard. My family's home is brick, and whoever laid the brick was an absolute perfectionist. The house is a long rectangle. and you can look down the side of it through a mortar crevice and see 72 feet of perfectly laid brick, all he way up the wall. This could not have been easy or cheap to do, and it is surprising to see such attention to detail in a single family home built in 1988.

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Ratieya, a lot of it has to do with the uniformity of modern brick. The brick used in old buildings, like the ones on university campuses, as well as old townhomes and Independence Hall, is bumpy, irregular, and the size from brick to brick can vary as much as 3/4 of an inch or even more sometimes. The masons of the time just used what they had.

Today, bricks are exactly rectangular, all the same size to a millimeter or two. It makes laying brick much easier and systematic, but also gives the wall a modern look. However, people liked the older look, so they now also make bricks with inexact methods, to replicate that older feel. My family bought several pallets of these older-looking bricks to make paths. It was difficult, because we did it without using mortar. My dad and I had to improvise systems to keep the bricks straight and flat, when some bricks were clearly much wider or higher than others.

As for the sections of brick - I believe that with this method, it is possible to create sections of brick that can be built and set in place much faster than building a wall from the ground-up, one brick at a time.

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Originally posted by: ardecila

There's been extensive discussion of this over at Cyburbia.


One guy claimed that a high school wall was made of poor EIFS, and when the students learned its consistency, stuck hundreds of pencils into it. On top of that, a leak had developed near the roofline , which rotted the EIFS from the inside-out.


hym: Asphalt or concrete? It's a pretty famous decision when building a new road or repaving an old one. Asphalt is cheap, but it lasts 1/5 the time that concrete does. Concrete costs 3x more, but lasts longer. Often, the municipality will go with the asphalt, because it's easier to get more money over a longer period of time than a big amount up-front.


EDIT - sorry about the line breaks, guys. for some reason, ST doesn't recognize returns in posts at this point in time.quote>


My roads would be concrete.  My dad, who is an engineer, had mentioned on more than one occasion that if the cities built the roads with thicker rebarring, they would last longer.  Dow Chemical, the company my dad used to work for, built a trucking road a few years back and with 30+ ton trucks driving over it everyday, the road had only minor cracks along the edges.  The secret: 1.25 inch rebar.

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Originally posted by: Ratieya455 I was thinking the vertical breaks in the brick had more to do with saving time in construction. It doesn't make sense to put in an expansion joint a half inch wide every 20 feet, because the amount of expansion they can account for is negligible. Buildings have been built out of brick for thousands of years and they never had expansion joints like that, though the introduction of steel structure adds a few complications. quote>
Speaking as a proffessional architect i have the following point It is law in the uk to have expansion joints in brickwork at maximim 12m intervals, it is half that (6m) for blockwork. The reason for the expansion joints is not just for the general expansion and contraction of the bricks and mortar joints themselves but also helps prevent major cracking due to movement of the foundation from settlement and subsidence. every material has a maximum elastic property and due to this expansion joints, usually a rubber mastic are required to combat this.

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About the concrete / asfalt question:

First: in Europe TAR is not used anymore at all for years. The reason is simple: While bitumen is made out of petrol tar is/was made out of coal and contains aromatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are highly carcinogenic.

The problem about asfalt is: if it is soft heavy trucks will easily deform it in summer at temperature above 30

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Here in Alaska, if you built a concrete road, you'd be laughed out of town within a few hours, which, incidentially, is how long your road would last.

-60F in the winter and +100F in the summer, heavy truck traffic, and permafrost destroy even the best, most well-planned out roads in a few seasons. Asphalt works miles better than concrete, but even tarred roads don't last long.

Gravel roads are almost immune to frost heaves and permafrost, but they do develop massive potholes. Last summer, we had to haul an RV out of a pothole. It went in, bottomed the front axle, and got stuck.

Steele

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with regard to the need for expansion joints in modern brick work, does it noy have a lot to do with modern mortar. older mortar would not dry completely and would absorb atmospheric moisture to maintain its suppleness, where as modern mortars dry completely and are impervious to the the moisture in the air. therfore to compensate for this the need for these expansion joints became necessary. the house i live in is nearly 500 years old and whilst made of stone and not brick thee are no expansion joints and we have suffered no cracking of the mortar. this i feel must be due to the mortar. it is afterall quite a common sight with modern homes that they suffer cracks fairly recently after construction, how much of this is down to thhe materials used and how much is thanks to poor workmanship i don't know, but i'd guess it's probably a combination of the two.

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If you're intersted in shotty construction job you should consider British Columbia's experience in the 1990s. The province was booming so there was a big demand and little time. The result was that a lot of the condominiums that were built leaked. Now a leaky building is always a problem but a leaky building in an extremely wet climate like coastal British Columbia is a disaster. The things rotted and fell apart leaving the poor buyers to pick up the tab for repairs. It was quite a scandal.

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