Many tilt-up contractors are discovering that they can save time and money, in addition to increasing the architectural options they can offer customers, by applying an exterior insulation finish system (EIFS) to the exterior of concrete tilt-up panels.

EIFS, sometimes called synthetic stucco, is a generic term for wall systems that cover exterior surfaces, ranging from plywood to concrete. The expanded polystyrene is applied to the surface with an adhesive and then is covered with a thin, polymer-modified, cementitious base coat embedding a mesh of glass fiber in the base for reinforcement. The final step is application of an elastomeric topcoat, which is available in various colors and textures. Tilt-up contractors can create interesting architectural projections and decorative moldings by varying the size and shape of the expanded polystyrene. If the goal is to simply add color and texture to the panels, the elastomeric topcoat can be applied directly to the panel surface.