A St. Louis cement contracting office, a Myrtle Beach hotel sales reception center, a Myrtle Beach ocean-front vacation home and a San Diego-area casino were winners in the ninth annual "Excellence in EIFS Construction" awards competition sponsored by the EIFS Industry Members Association of Morrow, Ga.

The winning projects, announced at EIMA's annual meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in February, were chosen in four categories. They are:

* New Commercial Construction Over 10,000 Square Feet: The Sycuan Casino, El Cajon, Calif.

* Residential: The Waddell residence, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

* New Commercial Construction Under 10,000 Square Feet: The Grand Dunes Hotel Sales Reception Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

* Retrofit/Remodeling: Vee-Jay Cement Contracting Co., St. Louis.

Completed last year, the winning projects were selected by a panel of three EIMA judges on the basis of creativity of the installation, the uniqueness of the project, and adherence to standards and specifications that ensure long-term performance of EIFS.

Stories about the projects follow. All were written by Bernie Allmayer, account supervisor for Al Paul Lefton Co.

New Construction--Over 10,000 Square Feet

Outside Chance

EIFS proves safe bet for Vegas-style casino in San Diego area.

Sycuan Casino, the shimmering centerpiece of the Sycuan Indian Reservation in El Cajon, Calif., is a delightful two-story building set in the midst of a miniature oasis characterized by fountains, lights and a kaleidoscope of majestic colors and shapes.

Deep purples, burnt oranges, mustard yellows, velvet blues and tropical teals accentuate the 168,000-square-foot addition's new elegant façade, which consists of 6-inch steel-studded framework covered with layers of gypsum sheathing and more than 100,000 square feet of EIFS.

The EIFS applicator, the Brady Co., of San Diego, worked closely with Group West Architects and Jacobs Facilities in selecting a cladding that would be durable, virtually maintenance free and cost effective, yet preserve the integrity of the design elements.

"This was one of the most complex projects that I've ever been associated with," recalls Mike Ketchum, Brady's field project manager and a 24-year veteran of the firm. "Every detail of this project had to be precisely scheduled and crafted, in order to stay on target with our projected costs and timeframe."

Working within the confines of an existing 80,000-square-foot casino that is open to the public 24 hours a day posed its own set of challenges for the EIFS applicators. Ketchum applauds the efforts of his application crew, as well as the framing and finish craftsmen, in completing the 16-week project on time despite numerous design changes requested by the owners.

As the prime contractor, Brady Co. was responsible for a majority of the materials that went into the project, including the fireproofing, sheathing, drywall, taping, ceiling systems, hardware, insulation and glazing. But it was clearly the framing--both interior and exterior--that required the highest level of skill and craftsmanship, according to Ketchum.

"Clouds, sunbursts, wagon wheels, flowers, Moorish arches, trees and unique cornice shapes were introduced in various components on both the interior and exterior of the casino," Ketchum says. "The result was one-of-a-kind shapes and contours, which until now had only been used in the most exclusive Las Vegas casinos."

With its new addition, the building not only projects the feel and quality of the newest Las Vegas casinos, but also gives testimony to the high level of craftsmanship that went into the project, according to Ketchum. The numerous archways, stone medallion insets, cutaways and recesses required painstaking framing, measuring and scribing, in addition to precise layout.

Before work could begin, the Brady crew had to construct 160 miles of intricate steel frame, over which layers of mesh and gypsum sheathing were attached. The installers then applied solid styrofoam panels ranging from 3/4 inch to 6 inches in thickness over the entire structure.

Next, a second layer of computer-generated, pre-cut foam panels was applied to specific areas of the building, creating the two-dimensional design elements found throughout the structure. Contractors then applied an EIFS finish coat in sand pebble to balance the casino's exotic color scheme, and set in place a variety of stone medallions, neon tubing and light fixtures.

Looking back on the Sycuan project, Ketchum said he was grateful that it was completed on time, given the scarcity of labor and materials at the time.

"Despite the many obstacles placed in our path," he says, "This project turned out to be a model of craftsmanship and a wonderland of artistic elements and design themes. In pursuing this challenging assignment, we were constantly reminded of the casino's logo: 'Where All Your Dreams Come True.'"


Home by the Sea

EIFS adds special touch to dazzling oceanfront home.

The Waddell residence, a striking oceanfront vacation paradise and centerpiece of the exclusive, new Grande Dunes Oceanfront Development here, could easily pass for one of the palatial, Mediterranean-style homes that dot the shoreline of Palm Beach, Fla.

Anchored by driven-wood pilings with concrete grade beams to help it withstand the area's frequent hurricanes, the spacious, 6,000-square-foot residence boasts four master suites with columned balconies, and seven bedrooms, each with its own bath for maximum privacy.

The property's owners, Keith and Cindy Waddell of Half Moon, Calif., grew up in the Carolinas and wanted a second home that their family could enjoy the year around and that would be near many of their Carolina relatives. Moreover, they wanted the home to be located in Myrtle Beach, where they frequently vacationed.

The residence's central rooms, designed primarily for social gatherings, include home theater entertainment centers on the upper two floors and a recreation room on the second floor. The kitchen and dining areas open into the main living areas, revealing an informal interior style. Each room features a multitude of windows offering unrestricted views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The ocean side of the home has two levels of exterior porches. The top is an open deck for sunbathing, while the lower porch is fully shaded and takes advantage of the prevailing winds coming off the beach.

The exterior of the second and third stories was sided with some 8,500 square feet of EIFS in a textured, oyster-shell finish, while matching conventional stucco was applied over some 3,000 square feet of concrete block on the exterior of the ground floor.

To give the exterior more of a European flavor, the architects, Mozingo+Wallace Architects, of Myrtle Beach, sought to accent the EIFS and stucco applications by specifying several thousand square feet of bullnose trim, medallions, reveals and window trim in off-white and brown.

Commercial Systems Inc., of Myrtle Beach, installed the claddings and trim over a period of 28 days in the spring of 2000, employing a workforce that at times numbered more than three dozen subcontractors, according Danny Bonnell Jr., the firm's president.

"The balconies, with their fiberglass columns, presented the biggest challenge from an application standpoint," he says. "There was a lot of intricate detail work involved on a job with so many architectural shapes. Erecting, dismantling and moving scaffolding from one location to the other also slowed the application process."

The home has received much public recognition and praise, according to S. Derrick Mozingo Jr., of Mozingo+Wallace.

"By anyone's yardstick, it's the nicest property on the Myrtle Beach waterfront, and carefully reflects the owner's taste and lifestyle," he says.

As vacation homes go, it doesn't get much better than this.

Commercial--Under 10,000 Square Feet

Coast Lines

EIFS helps sell Mediterranean theme of award-winning community.

Grande Dunes, one of the largest and most diverse master-planned developments in the Carolinas, encompasses some 2,200 acres of coastal real estate that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the western side of the Intracoastal Waterway, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The upscale resort and residential community offers five neighborhoods, each reflecting a distinct Mediterranean theme. Homesites at Grande Dunes offer a variety of views, including the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic Ocean, a golf course, pristine lakes and several nature preserves.

One of the most popular destinations at Grande Dunes these days is the newly constructed Sales Gallery. The 5,500-square-foot building, which opened last December, is the initial stop for prospective home buyers. It houses the development's real estate office, and displays aerial photographs, as well as renderings of the various Grande Dunes amenities.

The building's exterior block walls were sided last spring and summer with some 6,500 square feet of conventional stucco and a textured EIFS finish coat in a beige tint. In addition, the plastering contractor, Commercial Systems, of Myrtle Beach, applied some 3,500 feet of EIFS bullnose trim in white along archways, eaves and windows to help replicate the look of EIFS buildings typically found in Boca Raton, Fla.

"Blending stucco with EIFS proved to be a difficult challenge at times," recalls Danny Bonnell Jr., president of Commercial Systems. "But applying the bullnose trim was by far the most exacting and painstaking task. The owners wanted a siding product that would be flexible and durable, yet competitively priced," he added. "By carefully blending EIFS with stucco, we were able to achieve the best of all worlds."

The Sales Gallery is the centerpiece of the first phase of construction at Grande Dunes. A Mediterranean-style bridge, arching 65 feet across the Intracoastal Waterway, is currently under construction and will provide the only access to the neighborhoods of the Grande Dunes Golf Village, the Grande Dunes golf course and clubhouse. Other amenities being planned are an oceanfront beach club, a tennis club and a four-star hotel. In addition, boaters traveling the Intercoastal Waterway will have access to a Marina Village located along the waterway's eastern side.


Sublime Finish

Cement firm selects EIFS to simulate limestone look.

What does a cement contracting firm do when it wants to replace the brick façade of its aging headquarters with a product that projects the rich shadings of limestone at a fraction of its cost? It insists on a facelift that utilizes EIFS.

That's precisely what Vee-Jay Cement Contracting Co., of St. Louis, did last year to spruce up the exterior of its 9,000-square-foot office complex there. Founded in 1959, Vee-Jay Contracting is one of the leading concrete contracting companies in the country, with annual sales in excess of $60 million.

After 41 years of minor expansions, the owner, Cesare Vitale, decided that the company offices needed a total makeover. So he authorized a renovation that entailed, in part, the replacement of brick along the front and sides of the office complex with some 2,200 square feet of EIFS with 4-inch-thick EPS board. The EIFS cladding Vitale selected featured a blend of beige and brown semi-smooth finishes. The installation was assigned to a six-man crew from Schilli Plastering Co., of St. Louis.

In addition to the exterior facelift, the renovation entailed a total overhaul of interior areas, and the conversion of a 4,000-square-foot garage into a new conference room, dispatch office, kitchen and estimating department. At the same time, contractors installed new windows with 2-inch-deep reveals, as well as a contemporary, all-glass entranceway.

John Morgan, project superintendent for Schilli, says one of the secrets to obtaining an authentic limestone block look for the exterior was marrying the brown shading with the beige finish while the latter was still wet. Also critical to the success of this phase was power washing the brick exterior as part of the preliminary surface prep work. Removing loose dirt particles ensured that the adhesive would properly secure the foam board to the brick surface, Morgan explains.

Rick W. Keisker, the project architect, of Schultz Design, says he and Vitale initially explored several façade designs that entailed the use of a range of materials, including EIFS, brick, cast stone, limestone, pre-cast concrete, and split-face block. After weighing various options, they concluded that EIFS would be best suited for use over existing masonry walls, while satisfying the client's tight budget requirements.

"EIFS provided us with the perfect architectural solution to satisfy the owner's design and financial goals," Keisker recalls. "The installed cost was in the neighborhood of $9 a square foot, considerably less than what we projected for other candidate materials."

Also, applying EIFS directly to the existing masonry walls, Keisker felt, would allow him to specify just one wall cladding and to work with one wall contractor.

"It was a win-win situation for everyone involved," he acknowledges. "We were able to successfully simulate the rich, freestyle look of limestone block while adhering to our budget."