Hail: the hidden danger to EIFS and stucco

 Did you know that your building might be in danger?

EIFS and stucco are two of the most common commercial building materials in Oklahoma. But they have an enemy that can tear them apart without you even realizing.

That enemy is hail.

The building envelope

Every building has what’s called the “envelope”, basically a system around the outside that keeps out and drains away water. That envelope consists of several different parts, and if one of those parts becomes compromised, the envelope isn’t complete any more.

If the surface of EIFS or stucco is compromised, that becomes a chink in the armor, an area for water to penetrate the building’s envelope. It only takes one entry point, and once water has a foothold, it doesn’t give up. Seasonal changes cause freezing and thawing, tearing cracks open. Liquid water begins corroding and rusting. And at some point, your building’s structural steel can start to take damage if its envelope is compromised.

Hail is one of the easiest ways this can happen. Heavy impacts from large hail can break the outer skin of EIFS or stucco. And what’s worse is that this damage isn’t always apparent to the untrained eye.

Diagnosis and repair

If the volume of hail is small, it’s unlikely that the entire skin of the building is compromised. You may have some areas here and there that need attention, but it’s not a huge deal. There may be some gouges or minor damage here or there on the building, but repair is usually not hard to do and it doesn’t take that long.

What about heavier hail, though?

There are times when storms will drop golf ball size hail, sometimes even larger. In those cases entire walls and structures can be damaged, with impact damage that goes deeper than what’s immediately noticeable. If the walls that are left behind are cratered and pockmarked, that goes deeper than a simple patch job. In most cases the entire wall will have to be rebuilt.

At JKI, we can both diagnose and repair issues with EIFS and stucco. Our expertise in general construction as well as waterproofing and surface restoration makes us the ideal fit for any building envelope problems. When a hailstorm comes through, we’re on the job, making sure that your structures are safe and free of long-term issues. If you’re worried about recent hail damage, give us a call—we’ll help you get your building back to the way it’s supposed to be.