Synthetic Stucco and Termites
Synthetic Stucco or EIFS, are multi-layered exterior wall systems used on both commercial buildings and residential homes.
These systems are usually comprised of five layers: an exterior finish, a reinforcing mesh to protect the system, an insulator, an adhesive substance binding the insulator to the building and a substrate to which the insulator is attached.
EIFS were originally developed in Europe, making their first appearance in the United States more than thirty years ago, and becoming very popular in the early 1980s.
Why Termites Like Synthetic Stucco
Termites like the EIFS system foam. They don’t like to eat it. They like to move through it. It gives them cover and freedom of movement so they can get from their nest in the ground to the “wood buffet” without being harassed by their natural enemies and by exterminators. Because termites need a continual source of water and they aren’t fond of sunshine, termites build protective tunnels in the Insulation Foam from the ground to their target so that they can move back and forth from your home’s wood to their nest. Avoiding detection and showing no signs that termites are present. It’s a popular myth that pest control guys and home inspectors have X-Ray vision. But think about it, if the termites are behind the face of the foam they can go about their business undetected.
Some Termite Companies no longer treat structures for sub-terranean termites that utilize insulation foam as an outer covering (EIFS), because of the liability incurred. The late 80’s and 90’s were filled with law-suits and the Termite Companies learned their lessons.
- Have the stucco cut and sealed by a qualified contractor. The synthetic stucco can be trimmed at the bottom about 6 inches from the grade level, then sealed. Then this type of structure can receive a proper successful Termidor termite treatment.
- Caulk and seal cracks that form where the synthetic stucco meets window and door casings. Check these areas for cracks once per year. If a small or hairline crack develops seal it right away with a special sealant made for this job. It comes in a caulking tube and can be purchased at hardware stores and place like Lowes and Home Depot. The color should match your EIFS covering and not need paint touch-up.