How Do You Select the Best Stucco Repair Company in Las Vegas?
So you’ve made the decision to have stucco applied to your home. Or, maybe you just need a repair. Either way, you’ll need to look up stucco contractors in Las Vegas so that the project can be completed. You may be tempted to just open up a phone book and call the first contractor with a big ad, but that is not the way to go. Just about anyone can take out an ad, and having a larger one only means that they spent a little more money on advertising. Like any other skilled trade, learning how to apply stucco is not only an art but a science as well. Having the proper insurance, bonding, employees, portfolio of satisfied clients and ethical business practices should be the criteria you base hiring a contractor on. Doing an initial background check on a potential contractor now will save you copious amounts of work later.
First, you need to establish exactly what your project will entail. Then you need to contact a few contractors and ask them for a cost quote. It’s a good idea to let them know right away that you are going to be speaking to several contractors to see what their bids are. This can save you time when trying to negotiate a good price. Throw in some terminology about your specific project if you can. You will appear to be more knowledgeable than the average customer, so you will be less likely to be taken advantage of. Once you have gotten a few quotes, look for the median price. A good contractor will price fairly. Too low of a price may indicate an inexperienced contractor, while a high price may be a predatory contractor. Find the three or four contractors that are close to the median price and contact them for more information.
Qualified stucco contractors will have up to date insurance and licensing. This information will either be on hand, or in their office. Asking to view or make a copy of their paperwork is neither rude nor uncommon. If a contractor acts insulted or repeatedly gives excuses as to why the paperwork cannot be produced, you probably shouldn’t do business with them. Whether these are stalling tactics or they are just really unorganized, they are indicators of an unprofessional business person.
How to Repair Stucco
Stucco has been use to protect and decorate exterior and interior walls and ceilings for many centuries. Stucco is available in dozens of textures, thousands of colors and is currently the cladding of choice for most new construction and remodel or restoration projects.
The two main categories of exterior stucco that encompass dozens of different systems are Hard Coat Stucco and EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System). Hard Coat Stucco is the preferred system for residential or multifamily construction, and is being used increasingly for commercial projects since it is more economical. EIFS is more commonly used for commercial building projects, but is often also used for high-end custom homes.
Hard Coat Stucco is typically applied in 2-3 coats with a cementitious base coat. Two commonly used hard coat stucco systems are called One Coat Stucco and Three Coat Stucco. Traditional Three Coat Stucco consists of two coats of a cement base and one finish coat. One Coat Stucco is actually a two-coat process but instead of two base coats it consists of one cementitious base coat with one finish coat. In the last few decades One Coat Stucco has become much more popular simply because of the cost. The materials used and application process are virtually the same for both systems, other than the exception of One Coat Stucco taking fewer steps and less time. The design ability and performance between the two systems are also the same, although Three Coat Stucco is typically stronger and will crack less in most circumstances.
The finish coat application of both hard coat systems is the same. There are numerous finish options but they can be consolidated into a few categories which are: Integrally Colored Stucco, Painted Stucco, and Acrylic Finishes. Colored cement finishes or "colored stucco" was the popular choice over Three Coat Stucco for most of the 20th century. It is simply a mixture of cement, lime, sand and pigment. It is inexpensive and easy to apply, however, if the base coat cracks the finish is almost guaranteed to crack. Colored Stucco will stain easily, is hard to repair, and allows water to pass freely through it (which can be good or bad depending on what part of the country the system is applied within). It is usually applied by hand and can achieve virtually any finish imaginable.
Painted Stucco has been around almost as long, and is the majority of the finishes being used today. Painted Stucco is the same mixture of materials less the color, so it is applied the same and will achieve all the textures that integrally colored stucco will. The final step with Painted Stucco is the paint application. The paint, or as some like to call "coating", will look more vibrant and is easier to patch. Color options are vast and it is important that a good quality stucco paint is used. The most desired stucco finish today is Acrylic Stucco or Acrylic Finish. Some will call this system Synthetic Stucco, which is somewhat correct since it is a synthetic finish, however it is not a synthetic system.
Acrylic Finish is available in as many colors as a paint and has the same chemical make up as paint, but is a much thicker application. This does raise the cost of the overall system, but offers many benefits that the other two finishes do not. Acrylic Stucco will bridge most all hairline cracks and does not allow water to travel freely into the system, which is a huge benefit in freeze/thaw zones. Acrylic Stucco will keep it's look and typically will not require any maintenance for many years, whereas painted stucco must be repainted and repaired within a few years. Colored Stucco stains easily, will show every crack and is very difficult to repair.
EIFS is a full synthetic system or what most will call Synthetic Stucco. EIFS systems weigh much less than traditional stucco and are much more flexible. Although most EIFS adhesives and base coats are cement based, they are heavily polymer modified so they are considered synthetic. These type of systems have been used successfully for many decades but are much newer in the stucco world. Most all EIFS systems use EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation board which is usually adhesively attached to the substrate and sometimes mechanically attached. The EPS adds insulation to the wall assembly, absorbs movement better than any other stucco cladding used today, and adds many design options.
The original or traditional EIFS systems all used a cement-based adhesive and/or mechanical fasteners for the EPS, fiberglass netting for reinforcement and to gauge base coat thickness, cement base coat, and an acrylic finish. These systems are known as Barrier EIFS. Since these systems are so watertight, they've had some problems such as not allowing water to escape after it had travelled into the system because of improper application and flashing. The industry quickly designed Drainage EIFS or Water Managed EIFS which some manufacturers had and promoted before these issues arrived. Drainage EIFS systems have been very popular in recent years and include added or altered components such as notched or channeled EPS, plastic trim, trowel or roller-applied waterproof coatings. These systems seem to have remedied the water drainage problem of years past. The finish coat options for EIFS are not as vast as they are for Hard Coat Stucco. Since EIFS is a "soft system" or synthetic system, cement finishes will not work unless they are acrylic or polymer modified.
Most EIFS manufacturers have their recommended systems and will not warranty their products if deviated from the original specifications. Almost every final coat for EIFS consists of an acrylic emulsion and marble or silica sand finish that is hand-troweled over the base coat. Acrylic finish is integrally colored and very flexible. There are a few standard textures that acrylic finishes provide, including Smooth Finish, Sand Finish, and Rilled or Swirl Finish. These finishes, which are expensive, are usually applied in one coat at a thickness of 5/32" or less. Many different textures are possible by multilayering an acrylic finish.
As it happens the next generation of EIFS has learned a lot from the last generation
From 1969 to about the year 2000 was the first generation of EIFS where the EIFS foam was installed directly to the substrate of a house. Where the EIFS exterior itself was the weather barrier. Before the year 2000 building codes did not require a secondary moisture barrier. The IRC (International Residential Code) in 2000 required this secondary moisture barrier on all sidings used over wood framed construction. The problem with the EIFS itself being the water barrier is that when any moisture infiltrated the system there was nowhere for it to escape. A properly installed first generation EIFS application that has been maintained has a very good chance of not having any problems. The EIFS can be done right, and the caulk and sealants maintained over the years, and still a window or roof leak can cause major damage over time on a first generation EIFS home. However, you can still have a first generation EIFS home inspected, and after passing the inspection get a warranty on the home through The Moisture Warranty Corporation.
The Next Generation of EIFS has grown and learned from the past along with the entire building industry. The unprecedented testing done has helped many industries, and has had an impact on the building codes. With the addition of a Air/Water barrier to the EIFS process has made significant improvements to the overall performance of EIFS, and is now mandatory on all wood framed construction whether you are using EIFS or not. The next generation of EIFS has been proven to drain water effectively. This overcomes the major issue with first generation EIFS.
The Next Generation of EIFS is a superior material, and out preformed all other exterior wall claddings (including brick, stucco, concrete block, and cementitous fiber board siding) in the Hygrothermal Performance testing by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was funded by The US Department of Energy and EIMA. A study by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that over a 50 year life cycle of a building, the carbon footprint of EIFS is 1770 compared to brick at 8303. We are talking some huge numbers here, as Dryvit, one of the leading manufacturers, boast 'over 2 billion square feet of EIFS applied' you can begin to imagine what a positive impact having such a smaller carbon footprint has had on the environment.
Benefits of The Next Generation of EIFS - Superior Cladding
- Thermal bridging virtually eliminated
- Improved IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
- Improved overall energy performance of a building
- Helps keep structural members at a consistent temperature, which extends life expectancy
- The constant temperature helps structure member movement and stress from temperature swings that lead to cracking in concrete and stucco walls.
- Dewpoint is eliminated
- Vapor diffusion from condensation is minimized
- Deterioration of batt insulation from condensation is minimized
- Mold growth due to condensation is virtually eliminated
- Rusting of metal fasteners and framing from condensation is minimized
- EIFS has low levels of volatile organic compounds as know as VOC's
- EIFS carbon footprint is 5 times smaller than brick
- EIFS saves money in construction costs
- EIFS is more energy efficient
- ASHRAE (American Association of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers) Standard provides minimum requirements for energy efficient design of buildings - EIFS meets these requirements
- According to ASHRAE 90.1 2001 - 2 inches of EIFS offers the equivalent energy efficiency performance of 8 inches of fiberglass insulation in a wall cavity.
- EIFS puts the continuous insulation on the outside of the building where insulation works best.
- EIFS is in the International Building Code and the International Residential Code
- EIFS provides the continuous insulation (CI) described in ASHRAE 90.1, which is required by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
- EIFS can contribute to LEED certification
- EIFS is the only cladding that has an air-barrier, insulation and aesthetics all in one system, which is installed by a single contractor, with a single warranty
- EIFS has a very low Global Warming impact, where brick has a very high Global Warming Impact
It may not be faster than a speeding bullet and it can not leap tall buildings, but The Next Generation of EIFS is a Super Cladding when compared to the other leading Claddings.
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