Friday, May 01, 2009

How's it made? Greenwood Heights Minerva Buildings' final finish.

EIFS Process Shots
This notorious building site has had to go through many design reincarnations to get it to where they are, finally, as-built today.
Behold the town houses 614, 616, 618, 620 Seventh Avenue and 322-326 Twenty third Street.

I'm not a big fan of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems. They have been around for something like 30 years in the United States. Not sure how these condos will hold up over time, maintenance wise, especially those protruding wood framed windows... but you can certainly examine for your self the steps that actually go into the multi-layered construction of these plastinated skins. Just click on any of the photos to enlarge.
The trouble with EIFS, it's only as strong as its weakest seam. Water tends to infiltrate a building's exterior envelope around poorly installed windows and doors, and at the roof line flashing. I would always recommend redundant layers to be on the safe side. That probably doesn't happen very offen with most of the overly value engineered developments in the South Slope.
You really need to have a very competent highly trained design team and stucco contractor doing the work, or else the system will fail and moisture will eventually enter and become trapped behind all that fiberglass mesh and acrylic co-polymer technology with no way to get back out. That's when you get mold and rot between the interior and exterior walls... and big repair bills down the road.
Every once in awhile I even see synthetic stucco being used over old wood frame houses. There's one on 16th Street and 6th Avenue in the neighborhood that comes to mind. When you think all it takes is one split seam or poorly flashed window opening to trap in moisture, well that's just plain criminal, throwing your money away in my opinion.

Anyone remember when they were building the new Union Market on 7th Ave? Before they started construction the building owners had to remove a large amount of the second story plywood substrate that had rotted after the EIFS apparently failed.

An additional note about the Minerva buildings. That's got to be one of the largest curb cuts Ive seen around any where. No place left for the planting of street trees?

So what do you think about the finished product?

DoB Building info link.

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