External cladding is the system used to cover the walls and roof of a residential home or a commercial building. One of the most popular forms of cladding is external foam cladding, also known as External Insulated Finish/Facade System (EIFS).
As a homeowner, you’re probably wondering why one would choose foam cladding as opposed to something like metal, brick or solid plaster.
In this blog, we’re going to take a deeper look at external foam to find out why it’s a great rendering material. We will be discussing its composition as well as its various advantages.
What is External Foam Cladding Made of?
The system is composed of an external polystyrene panel and an internal plasterboard. The cladding is reinforced with a timber/metal core to give it toughness and stability. It also includes various mechanical fasteners, adhesives, and base coats. Some foam cladding systems also feature a fiberglass mesh for additional protection against the weather.
This entire system is installed on a solid substrate, and it protects the walls from moisture and harsh weather conditions.
EIFS panels can also be cut into different sizes and can be made in various thicknesses. This makes EIFS suitable for various property types.
Advantages of EIFS
- Easy to Install
Compared to other natural materials, foam cladding is relatively simple to install.
Foam cladding is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. In addition, it can be installed via large panels, allowing workers to cover a wide area in just a short period of time.
In contrast, with something like natural stone, the workers would have to install a lot of small individual panels before they can cover an entire wall.
- Weather Resistant
Due to its composition, foam claddingis extremely durable and resilient. It can withstand heavy impacts, moisture and even termites. Additionally, unlike masonry and timber, foam cladding generally has a low risk of cracking. So, if you live in a part of Australia that experiences extreme weather conditions, this could be the best cladding option for you.
Foam cladding also doesn’t use toxic chemicals. This makes it a safer option not only for the property owners but also for the workers who will manage the installation process.
If your walls aren’t insulated properly, your home is going to lose a lot of heat. This means you will need to use a lot of energy via heaters and air conditioners just to keep your home comfortable. In the long run, this will lead to higher energy bills.
Luckily, foam cladding has high inherent insulation, with an R-value of around 4-5. In simple terms, this means the foam cladding will keep heat inside your home during the winter and keep it out during the summer. It will lessen your use of HVAC systems and therefore lower your energy bills. This R-value can also increase to 11-16 when combined with other forms of wall insulation.
- Fire Retardant
Despite what some might think, foam cladding is actuallyfire resistant. Plenty of EIFS products have passed various fire resistance tests and are compliant with Australian fire safety standards. This includes ignitability tests, intermediate multi-story fire tests and multi-story corner tests. Put simply, it was found that foam cladding canprevent the spreading of fire to other nearby spaces.
If you think external foam cladding is for you, be sure to contact your local rendering/cladding specialist. The most suitable cladding material will depend on your budget, the local climate as well as your property type. It’s best to get the advice of a professional to get the best results.