Category Archives for EIFS and Stucco

Plaster Cornice Sample with Lighting

Modern Plaster Mouldings – What Are They Made Of?

Gone are the days when cornice and crown ceiling mouldings are constructed of pure plaster. The material is very heavy and difficult to repair if damaged. There are companies who say wood is best because it is lightweight and easily carved. The problem with wood (pure wood or MDF) is that it always splits and cracks within one to two years because of temperature and humidity changes in the typical Canadian home.

Then there are PVC mouldings, which are made through injection, requiring the use of moulds. Like wood, the selection is limited to flat and shallow profiles to save on costs. The only way to achieve a detailed design would have to be done by layering and nailing sections together. These would eventually split due to environmental factors. Also PVC is plastic, and it looks like plastic. (It fits well in certain situations such as vinyl siding exteriors but if your façade is, for example, brick, you may want to consider our mouldings that are authentic in finish and a genuine fit on any exterior.)

Perfect Plaster Cornice Sample Laser Line - Fine Finish Wall Systems Bradford
Plaster Mouldings

Installation of PVC mouldings also requires consideration of expansion and contraction due to shifts in temperature. Manufacturers recommended leaving a 1/8” gap over 18’ spans which are then filled with caulking, leaving a visible seam.

Considering the deficiencies and drawbacks of plaster, wood and PVC, the modern solution to interior and exterior architectural mouldings is EPS – Expandable Polystyrene. For interior spaces, EPS is coated in plaster.

For exterior applications, the EPS is coated in a modified polymer cement rather than plaster.  EPS is a highly durable material used in a large number of consumer products. It is environmentally friendly not only for it’s long-lasting durability and heat-insulating qualities, but EPS has never contained CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs or formaldehyde – all of which are chemicals harmful to the environment. EPS is inert and stable and does not produce methane gas or contaminating leachates. The extrusion process allows the manufacturer to create any detail and any size in one piece with no seams at an economical price point.

Because EPS mouldings are a custom product, the exact profile needed is what is produced and installed: any shape is possible! Homeowners can choose their profile from a catalogue, but if a specific profile is required, or a match to something already in your home is required, it is a simple process. A computer software automates a heated wire to cut the exact profile out of a block of EPS, which is already in its final state of hardness.

Here s a great video of the extrusion process used.

An added bonus is that once complete, EPS mouldings do not require the use of nails for installation, so the final finish will be much more consistent with no holes to patch. Ultimately, their integrity and durability are second to none and literally require no maintenance for the life of the product. We have one client who had his plaster cornice installed in 2009 (10 years ago) and we call him back every year – it’s like a running joke now, that he has “nothing to report”. He is one of our happiest customers.

If an EPS plaster moulding is damaged (from water or structural shifting or impact), then repair is easy and seamless. We simply cut out the affected area, get the profile matched, triple-coat it, wet-sand and re-paint. Voila!

It takes a skilled craftsman to install EPS mouldings properly, where the proper substrate and moisture barrier are implemented, and expert application of the finish coats. Learn more about our professional service.

Woodpecker in stucco

Dealing with Nesting Birds in your Exterior Wall System

Woodpeckers will create holes in your wall system to look for food.

Woodpeckers are always looking for food, and they will peck a hole in your exterior stucco in the springtime. When they realize there are no worms or ants inside your wall, they will move on to another spot.

Small birds such as sparrows or swallows will spot the hole and go into the hole and pick the foam out, to build a nest inside the wall cavity. This hole will cause damage to  your entire elevation if not repaired.  This occurs due to water infiltration at the breach, saturating the foam. Come winter the water-logged system expands as it freezes and pushes the coatings away from the foam. This causes giant blisters and in some cases entire elevations to fail. If left unchecked these little holes can lead to major problems from substrate rot to interior water damage and mold.

There are 2 ways to fix holes in your stucco: 

The cheap fix  is to pump polyurethane into the hole, grind it back, add a mesh, base coat and finish coat. This patch will become thicker than the wall itself because it’s layers do not integrate with the underlying system. The result is a “bull’s eye” bulge, which will only last for 1 or 2 years, and you’ll be at risk for patch failure and further surface and potential structural damage.

The correct fix will cost anywhere from $250-$450 per hole, which is much cheaper than fixing an entire elevation (the eventual result of not doing anything or performing cheap fixes). We cut a 1’x1′ square and replace with new foam, a new moisture barrier if necessary, and then grind the finish coat back on existing wall about 3 inch apply a 5oz mesh, scratch coat and finally a finish coat. In the event the wall has been imprinted with carbon (pollution) or has been bleached by the sun, we guarantee a minimum 90% colour match or better. with the proper procedures followed.

Done properly the result  will be a seamless patch that will last the life of your wall system.