What is Dryvit Siding? Cost, Problems + Repair

Wondering what caused structural damage to your Dryvit siding and how to fix the issue? Here’s a quick guide on the same.

What is Dryvit siding?

Dryvit, also known as Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), is a type of synthetic stucco siding used to insulate external walls. The name ’Dryvit’ is actually the name of the brand that manufactures these stucco systems. However, you’ll notice that in online forums, most people generally refer to any type of synthetic stucco as Dryvit.

Just like any other type of EIFS wall cladding, Dryvit works to prevent water from seeping through to the inner layers of the wall. This is made possible by its waterproof construction, which includes polystyrene panels and an outer layer made of acrylic. Dryvit also keeps off mold and mildew infestations.

Dryvit can be installed over different types of exterior wall materials, including plywood, traditional stucco siding, and even OSB substrate. In addition, Dryvit is available in different styles and designs. Here’s an overview of the different types of Dryvit systems available in the market at the moment:

  1. Continuous Insulation System- this type of Dryvit system boasts foam insulation for an airtight seal that prevents air leaks into the house.
  2. Direct Applied System- works well as a weather barrier over masonry, wood, and ICF substrates. It, however, lacks any insulation additives.
  3. Dryvit Stucco System- mimics the triple-coat application of traditional stucco. All options within this system include a scratch and brown layer. This type of exterior wall cladding is best installed over masonry and wood substrates.
  4. Panelization system- common in commercial structures, Dryvit products within this system feature a layer made of insulating foam for better heat retention.
  5. NewBrick System- the outer layer of NewBrick Dryvit is designed to mimic the aesthetics of traditional brick, while the inner layers offer added benefits like moisture resistance and insulation. It’s also cheaper, lighter, and easier to install compared to regular brick.
  6. ReVyvit System- designed for restoration projects, this type of Dryvit will effectively cover and protect worn-out stucco/plywood walls.

Is Dryvit the same as stucco?

Dryvit isn’t actually the same thing as stucco. While traditional stucco can be used by itself as an exterior wall material, Dryvit is usually installed as weatherproofing over an exterior wall substrate, including over stucco.

In some cases, Dryvit wall cladding is usually finished to resemble stucco, resulting in confusion amongst homeowners. However, when you press a finger or two against Dryvit, you’ll realize that, to some extent, it’s actually softer than hardy stucco.

Dryvit siding cost

It costs about $5-$6 to install Dryvit siding on your home’s exterior wall.

Is Dryvit more expensive than stucco?

Dryvit is actually cheaper than stucco due to its lightweight nature and ease of installation. The average cost of stucco installation is $8 per square foot.

Why is Dryvit bad? (Dryvit siding problems)

The single most significant issue when it comes to Dryvit wall cladding is moisture damage. While Dryvit is marketed as a water barrier, sometimes moisture can still seep through it, especially when the caulking at the joints is not correctly applied. This consequently creates further problems, including water being trapped behind the wall cavity, and mold growth inside your exterior walls.

Here’s a detailed overview of the various Dryvit siding problems that stem from water intrusion:

Water Accumulation inside the Wall Cavity

Whenever there are daily downpours during the rainy season, some of the water from outside is likely to find its way through your Dryvit stucco wall and end up in the wall cavity. Some of the areas of the Dryvit where water can seep through are highlighted below:

  1. Wherever the Dryvit wall cladding adjoins other materials, like brick, stone, or wood.
  2. Wherever the Dryvit wall meets the roof.
  3. Wherever there are holes through the Dryvit EIFS. This may include nail and screw holes, plumbing holes, holes for HVAC lines, and holes through which external lighting fixtures are connected.
  4. Wherever there are cracks in the acrylic finish coat of the Dryvit wall cover material.

With water accumulating and becoming entrapped inside the wall cavity, you’ll likely suffer some form of structural damage. The most noticeable kind of damage occurs if your exterior wall features wood substrate. The moisture will cause the wood to rot, while simultaneously encouraging mold and mildew fungi infestations.

Pest Infestation

Some types of pests thrive in moist/humid habitats. These include termites and carpenter ants. When termites infest the insulation foam panels inside Dryvit wall siding, they’re undetectable to the naked eye. But you’ll easily see the structural damage that they cause.

Termites find it easy to tunnel through moist Dryvit panels, weakening the structure in the process. Even worse is the fact that most types of pesticides come in powder form and will ‘cake up’ upon coming into contact with the saturated Dryvit panels.

Mold and Mildew Growth

Another common issue that often arises whenever water intrusion occurs through Dryvit siding is fungal infestation. Various kinds of mold and mildew prefer moist habitats. These include Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys Chartarum.

If you or your family members are allergic to mold spores, this presents a health problem. Severe mold infestation may trigger a variety of health issues including wheezy breathing, a stuffy nose, and skin/eye irritation. It’s, therefore, important to undertake the necessary steps to repair your water-damaged drywall siding as soon as you discover the problem.

How to Repair Damaged Dryvit Siding

To effectively repair Dryvit siding that has suffered structural damage due to water or any other external elements, follow the general, two-step guideline elaborated below:

Determine the necessary Actions

If the Dryvit damage is due to termite infestation, a local exterminator will help you get rid of the problem and prevent any further structural damage. Meanwhile, if the issue is water intrusion, consider flashing various structural elements. These include installing kick-out flashing at the intersection of the exterior wall and the roof. You should also flash around the windows. Finally, to get rid of mold infestation, call in a water damage/mold growth expert.

Apply Caulking

If caulking wasn’t appropriately applied during initial installation, leading to water leaks, apply additional caulk around the door and window moldings. You’ll know you’ve applied enough caulk when extra caulk begins to squeeze through the edges. Finally, apply caulking to the cracks on the outer acrylic finish coat.

References

  1. https://www.wbdg.org/guides-specifications/building-envelope-design-guide/wall-systems/exterior-insulation-and-finish-system-eifs

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