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Euro Plastering & Stucco, Inc.

Quality is not expensive, it's priceless

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Our truth about EIFS

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM Comments comments (39953)
In the 90's we saw our volume of work decline in the cement stucco industry due to the amount of EIFS being installed on custom homes here in Oregon and Washington.  As a company certified to install both EIFS and traditional 3 coat cement stucco, we were trying to figure out how other companies were under bidding us, sometimes by 30% to 40%.  We finally figured out that when it came to installing EIFS, they were hiring drywaller's and painter's and paying 30% to 40% less wage rate. A house that would take us approx 8 weeks to complete applying/installing real cement stucco was being done in approx 3-4 weeks by our competitors installing EIFS.  Being familiar with the installation of EIFS, we were amazed with the speed of application these companies were providing.  On a real cement stucco system, one has to call for an inspection of the lath/vapor barrier prior to applying cement.  There was no such inspection required for EIFS.  We started to take a closer look as to how these EIFS projects were being put together and it was mind boggling as to the lack of quality control being enforced.  No head flashings, backer-rod and sealant joints omitted, gutters embedded behind the system, no divertor flashings to direct water from getting behind the cladding.  In most cases it was being directed behind/into the system.  In some cases you could see the outline of the fiberglass mesh telegraphing through the finish coat which means they were cheating on the layers of cement coating required by the manufacturer, thinning of the materials to get more square footage out of a pail and the list goes on.  We brought this to the attention of the city inspections, but alas, it was to no avail. It now made sense as to why we were being under bid.  The old greed factor had taken over with complete disregard for quality and pride in workmanship.  One of my old time plaster's/lather's (RIP) predicted what was going to be coming down the road.  He predicted massive failures and a system being black listed.  I agreed with him on the failures to come, but disagreed with him on the system being blamed.  He was right.  I was wrong.  We have since been involved in removing and replacing 1000's of square feet of EIFS on many of the homes we had originally bid on and were beaten out on price.  Some of the same clients still live in these homes and regret the choice they made back then.  I remind them they did not choose a bad system, rather, they choose a bad installer.  There are EIFS systems out there for 25+ years and are still performing just fine, those that would have been installed by professional applicators.  I can attest to the fact that every EIFS project we have removed and replaced had failure due to installer error/neglect and not the system itself.  Some of the installers responsible for the degradation of the EIFS system are still operating and are as busy as ever, even though they may have changed their names slightly.  There is a lot more that went on in the next phase of the EIFS blog (class action lawsuits, attorneys, contractors)  The home owner in most cases becomes the victim.

Interior colored plaster

Posted on February 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM Comments comments (80)
Interior colored plaster comes in many variations from glazier smooth to old hand crafted textures.  One can say it is only limited by one's imagination.  Specific care and attention has to be taken when applying colored plaster to wet areas, ie, showers and bathrooms, etc.  Not all plaster materials react or perform in the same locations.  The most common term used for interior plaster is Venetian.  There are many variations to Venetian plaster and not all perform the same, so be careful of the product you choose.  The look/ appearance that one can achieve with colored plaster is unique to the technique of the applicator.  You can have two applicators applying the same material from the same container and end up with totally different results.  Colored plaster has been quite popular in Europe for centuries: it has a unique look and feel.  One of the many beauties of colored plaster is the fact that in the right hands, one can take a new building and make it look a century old.  People who like old world colored plaster seem to be more connected with the old European architectures.  I am also guilty of this.  Colored/Venetian plaster seems to be more popular on the exterior as it is on the interior.  The choices as I have said, are limited only to one's imagination.  I don't know exactly how many thousands of square feet of colored plaster/stucco we have applied over the decades of being in the business, but I do know this, each project is unique unto itself.  Unique is always appreciated by independent thinkers.  If choosing to do a natural, colored/Venetian plaster finish, please remember that the product you choose is just as important as the skilled applicator you choose to apply it.  The product one chooses to use depends on where it is going to be applied.  What works wonderful in a dinning /living room may not perform as well in a bathroom or kitchen.  Choose your product based on performance and not on cost.  Less expensive colored/Venetian plaster perform just fine in areas that are not subject to high moistures. 

Interior Plaster

Posted on December 9, 2012 at 9:14 PM Comments comments (5)
Live healthy, breathe easy.

Interior plastering has been described as a dying trade in the US.  We beg to differ.  A large portion of our business is restoring historic homes and structures, from patching and repairing, to complete resurfacing/refinishing.  The sound proof and added installation that comes with plaster homes is one of the many reason it needs to be preserved, along with the historic significance.  Interior plaster unlike drywall, is dust free as there is no sanding involved in the application.  Dust from drywall can and do enter into every crevice ( outlets, vents, etc) and can be very unhealthy to breathe for many years post installation.   The interior plaster finish we apply cures to 3000 psi.  It is a very hard and durable finish.  We have access to many  different plaster finishes that are Leed Certified and actually good for the interior air quality of your home.  We have also developed our own (unique to Euro) colored plaster and stucco finishes.  These finishes can be an old world mottled appearance or monolithic semi uniform color.  Colors and textures are only limited to one's imagination.  Shower and bathroom plaster applications have become once again popular in both new custom homes and old historic dwellings.  Hand made samples of various colors and textures are available for viewing at our studio.  Custom colors and textures available upon request.  We have performed fire , smoke and water damage in historic structures for the past 33 years.  During this time we have experienced the following:  on many occasions the lath 'n' plaster has performed very well.  The only repairs needed were removing loose paint, applying a stain blocking primer and re-paint.  If water damage should occur in your  walls or ceilings, it is our recommendation to drill some holes so as to allow the wall or ceiling to breathe.  Unlike plaster, when drywall gets wet it is compromised.  It has to be completely removed and replaced.  Of the many advantages that plaster has over drywall, in our opinion, the most important is the fact that plaster is a healthier system.  You get what you pay for.

Stucco flashings

Posted on September 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (1)
In our personal opinion, stucco has been dealt a huge injustice here in the Northwest and elsewhere.  We get asked many questions regarding stucco in wet climates.  Such as,  Why do so many stucco projects fail in the northwest?  Is stucco a good system in wet climates?   The answer to the first question is: Flashings, flashings, flashings. The stucco system within it self, when correctly installed did not fail.  The total disregard towards flashing/waterproofing and sealant details has cause many an exterior cladding to fail.  In our opinion every exterior envelope contractor should have to take and pass a course in flashing/waterproofing when it intersects with their system. Before one starts to install an exterior system on any building, they need to take the time and inspect  the installed flashing details.  you will be doing the client, yourself and every other contractor associated  with the project a huge justice.  If you don't like the details, notify the appropiate people, if corrections are not made, don't start the project.  By protecting yourself you are protecting  everyone involved.  The systems that  failed were  installed incorrectly from day one.  Whether from lack  of skill, professional oversight, caring, under bid, greed or all of the above.   I don't know, though what I do know is the stucco system itself took the blunt of the blame.  Some professions attached to the construction industry also need to be educated as to what  happened and why. These include  Realtors, architects, designers, consultants and city/county inspectors.

To answer the second question,
Stucco has been the  chosen cladding in wetter climates than the Northwest for over a century.  Some of the oldest buildings and structures in the world are still clad in their original stucco system.  With correct installation and maintenance, stucco will out perform most other claddings.  When exposed to severe weather, which product do you think will last longer?  Wood or cement?

Everything written in this blog has been based on our personal experiences.