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Q. Repairing EIFS

My EIFS sub won’t do small repairs — where the siding has been dinged by a homeowner moving patio furniture, for example. Is there some small-scale repair method that I can do myself as a GC?

A. Barry Jenkins of Southern Stucco in Knoxville, Tenn., responds: Most minor scuffs, nicks, and surface abrasions can be touched up to match an original EIFS finish. We prefer to use the special paintlike top coats offered by most EIFS manufacturers, which are intended for periodic renewal of weathered acrylic EIFS finishes. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t usually sell these acrylic-based top coats to the general public — and they aren’t available in small quantities anyway — so the easiest approach for small repairs is to contact your local EIFS distributor for help in finding a compatible latex or elastomeric paint. With careful color-matching, minor dings should disappear under a high-quality finish.

To fix deeper gouges, we cut out a small rectangle of the EIFS — no bigger than is needed to remove the damaged area — then fill it with a patch made from EPS foam. We glue the foam in place with a “dry base” adhesive consisting of portland cement, sand, and a dry polymer, which can be obtained from most EIFS suppliers. After the patch has dried for 24 hours, we tape off a rectangle around it, allowing about an inch of clearance between the edges of the patch and the tape. We then use at least 40-grit paper to sand the old EIFS finish in the taped-off area down to the base coat. To complete the repair, we apply fiberglass mesh tape and new EIFS base-coat material, troweling the base coat as tightly and smoothly as possible, especially around the repair’s perimeter. We allow another 24 hours for the base coat to dry, then apply the acrylic finish, troweling it flat to duplicate the existing texture. While the new acrylic finish is still wet, we remove the perimeter tape and feather in the repair with a damp, soft brush.

If we’re lucky, the color of the new finish will match the original EIFS, but most of the time the repair still needs to be painted. Colors that may appear to match at first may fade with age, so for larger repairs, we recoat from stopping point to stopping point — from inside corner to outside corner, for example.