High performance EIFS sheathing product passes critical fire protection testing

According to Building Enclosure Online:

Texas-based Priest & Associates Consulting, LLC., through an engineering evaluation, determined that current code-evaluated exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) adhered to DensElement Barrier System are compliant with NFPA 285. According to their evaluation, it can safely replace exterior gypsum sheathing in current code-evaluated EIFS designs.

Brent Paugh, President of Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, says the acknowledgement speaks to the strength of the DensElement Barrier System: “This kind of recognition is a tremendous advancement for an important product,” he said. “And with the increased use of continuous insulation across all climate zones, NFPA 285 compliance is essential to ensure the safety of building occupants.”

What’s the big deal? This means that there is yet another substrate option that designers can opt for when implementing an EIFS barrier system for higher performing exterior cladding.

Gypsum-based sheathing is often used as a substrate for barrier-based EIFS exterior assemblies. The problem, in my experience, is that standard gypsum board products are extremely vulnerable to water and moisture intrusion. The whole point of the building’s envelope is to protect vulnerable interior materials such as gypsum wallboard from exposure to weather. So the idea of placing gypsum on the exterior of a building has always seemed counterintuitive to me.

The DensElement Barrier System is a versatile product that, unlike standard gypsum board, is water resistant, serves as a proper air barrier when properly installed, resists flame spread, and may reduce labor costs.

While I refuse to endorse any particular building product, I applaud the innovation.

Image courtesy Travis Air Force Base