EIFS Towers in Mississauga

Don Procter

December 2007

Toronto’s biggest suburb, Mississauga, is growing up. The city, which sprang from a farmer’s field to become one of the largest sprawling bedroom communities in Canada, is being made over. The idea is to make downtown a pedestrian-friendly place.

The method: build high-rise housing complexes around the center of the city, dominated by multi-lane roads, a cultural centre, city hall and one of the biggest regional shopping centers. Developer Daniels Corp. has taken the idea seriously with its master planned condominium community that includes several 30-plus story towers, a seniors’ complex and park on a 23-acre site.

Daniels’ development gives EIFS contractors like Toronto’s Lido Wall Systems Inc. reason to applaud. Lido was awarded EIFS contracts on five of the towers, the latest being the development’s centerpiece: One Park Tower, a Gargoyle-laden 39-story tower with a retro top that would fit nicely into the skyline of a Batman movie set. See photos at www.oneparktower.com.

Lido’s no superhero but the building has presented a few challenges. The most unusual is the tower’s 100-foot roof-top fins. "We had to build a structural steel frame with HSS (hollow steel sections) and fill in the sections with structural studs and then cover it with EIFS,” said Oscar Chiarotto, vice president of Lido.

The tricky part was the last two pieces of the fins, which project above the mechanical roof structure. The tower crane wasn’t high enough for placement, so the job went to a helicopter. But that complicated the design because each fin segment weighs 4 to 5 tons. The helicopter could only carry 4,500 pounds so Lido redesigned segments to accommodate the helicopter.

At 125,000 square feet of EIFS, One Park Tower is one of Lido’s biggest contracts. One-hundred-thousand square feet of the job are panels fabricated at Lido’s shop in suburban Toronto; the remainder is field-applied. Cladding the shaft with EIFS panels was done after the average construction day was over—from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.—with the use of the tower’s crane. Like any other highrise job, the panels were welded back to inserts in the concrete structure.

Chiarotto says there is good reason to think EIFS will be the wall system of choice on many of the new high-rises planned in Mississauga and throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Lido uses a two-stage drainage (rain screen) joint on all of its buildings, and window sills are drained according to the specifications of the Ontario Association of Architects.

"If a flashing comes into a panel, a riglet is placed there so that the flashing can be tucked into it and then sealed,” explains Chiarotto, noting that Lido exclusively uses silicone sealants for all its EIFS jobs.

While critics of EIFS maintain that EIFS wall systems don’t belong in the league of first-class cladding systems such as precast concrete panels, EIFS contractors like Lido continue to prove them wrong. And they back up their work with comprehensive warranties. Lido provides a 10-year warranty at One Park Tower.

After 10 years, says Chiarotto, there could be some damage to EIFS at the base if it is exposed to abuse from landscaping crews and the like. And, some caulking might need replacing but properly installed sealants (applied over the basecoat but under the finish coat) should wear well.

Estimating Classes Relaunched. Meanwhile, the Interior Systems Contractors Association of Ontario first two classes of the Training Institute for Drywall Estimators, which got off to a false start in September, were relaunched in late October. I’ll talk more about that in a future column.

About the Author
Don Procter is free-lance writer in Ontario, Canada.