EIFS, Stats, and Steel

Donald E. Smith

June 2005

I am looking for air and water field testing criteria for a drainable exterior insulation and finish system that we plan to install later this year. Can you send me the criteria as recognized by your organization?

After checking with my sources knowledgeable in EIFS, there is not a field test criteria for this type of system. As with any system whose purpose is to provide a passageway for the elimination of moisture, a great deal of care must be exercised during installation of the each portion of the system. You be must ensure that construction debris does not find its way into the interior or on top of the drainage weeps at the base of the wall. It would be helpful to talk with the mechanics doing the installation to be certain they understand the purpose behind the methodology being used. Often times the mechanics will proceed with an installation using methods that they understand and have used in the past. Following the logic of the intended purpose of the installation leads one to understand that the weep system used must be kept clean of all debris to ensure that any moisture finding its way into the system must be able to get to the outside and not become trapped in the wall assembly, which could cause future damage and callbacks for the installer.

Do you know of any statistics available on the amount of metal lath used or made in the United States?

I get requests of this nature all of the time for not only metal lath, but drywall and cold-formed steel as well. I am not aware a group that specifically tracks the production of metal lath. If there is such a group, I would expect that the numbers are the same as for cold-formed steel and drywall.

Both cold-formed steel and drywall production numbers are tracked by tonnage. Tonnage is not a number that translates well into useable figures relating to boards of a certain thickness and type, or to a particular type of cold-formed steel framing member. The statistics as they exist can produce trends for a given product.

For instance, looking at cold-formed steel production numbers dating back to 1988, the trend indicates an 8 percent growth per year in the production of cold-formed steel framing materials. There is other information available that tracks specific sizes and types of cold-formed steel framing members; however, the numbers again are in tonnage figures and not linear feet of a given member’s type.

On the gypsum side of the spectrum, the Gypsum Association publishes data on the production of gypsum board products on a regular basis. This information is published in our AWCI Member Only newsletter as it becomes available and is also on the Gypsum Association Web site, www.gypsum.org. The Gypsum Association also offers detailed production reports that are available for purchase on their Web site.

I am interested in steel framing training. I have been working with steel framing for more than 30 years and have been training steel framing for 15 years for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Chicago and at the International Training Center in Las Vegas.

AWCI has been receiving numerous requests for information about the Cold Formed Steel Framing Education program being produced by AWCI and the Steel Framing Alliance. The program is an intensive multi-day educational program designed to provide the lead framer, project supervisor and construction manager with high-level skills that are needed to understand steel framing principles, and to run an efficient and profitable operation. It will be presented as an onsite program as well as a self-paced study program in an electronic format.

We plan to host the first live seminar late this fall.

If you are interested in the program, go to www.awci.org, click on the Steel—Doing It Right tab, and leave your information for a future contact.

Also, next month's issue of this magazine will have an article that provides additional information.

About the Author
Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services. Send your technical questions to him at smith@awci.org, or call him at 703.538.1611.