Already effective in helping to reconstruct centuries-old European buildings, in 1969 exterior insulation and finish systems were introduced in the United States. Originally, when the oil crisis hit in 1976, the commercial building industry took a closer look at this energy-conscious option. But unlike Europe, substrates for EIFS in the U.S. contained organic wood-based fiber and gypsum sheathing was paper faced. These wood-based fiber substrates were prone to warping, swelling and susceptible to mold and rot. Their surface did not weather well, and some were not fire-resistant. By the early 1980s, EIFS commanded 25 percent of the commercial market in the U.S. but was in need of a stable substrate that weathered well during construction and was not moisture sensitive afterward.
In 1986, new fiberglass-mat gypsum sheathing—water resistant with low thermal and hydrometric expansion—was introduced. Unlike organic substrates or paper-faced gypsum sheathing, when fiberglass-faced gypsum sheathing was exposed to inclement weather for extended periods, it would perform well.