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Q.Is it acceptable to terminate EIFS at grade? I’m worried that this might provide easy access for termites, or might allow moisture to wick into the wall.

A.Architect and EIFS specialist Richard Piper responds: EIFS should be terminated above grade for the two concerns you mention — termites, and the possibility of moisture entering the wall by capillary action. Snow and ice can also cause water to back up into the wall in winter. Most building codes require the top of the foundation to be 6 or 8 inches above grade for the same reasons. If you want the color and texture of the EIFS finish to extend to grade, the exposed portion of the foundation can be skim-coated with EIFS base material and finish.

Ideally, the lower edge of the EIFS extends approximately one inch below the top of the foundation and is sealed to the foundation to prevent air infiltration. If the resulting thermal gap is your primary concern, it is better to address it from the inside, even though interior insulation is generally not as effective as exterior insulation. The possible damage by moisture and termites outweighs, in my opinion, any advantage of continuous exterior thermal insulation.