Enhancing Architecture with Exterior Moldings

The purpose of exterior moldings and decor is to enhance architecture, focus the viewer’s eye on key aspects of a structure, and provide a transition between materials that otherwise look stark.

Wouldn't this look nicer with a sill?

The column above is made from EIFS (sometimes known as synthetic stucco) and stone veneer, both of which are perfect for exterior trim, and which have been used as a facade around what must be a structural column (EIFS is not a structural material itself). Both materials are extremely attractive and give a high-end impression, and the difference in both color and texture is a nice visual effect. The stone provides a rugged and durable look, while the EIFS has a finer, more refined texture and appearance.

What stuck out immediately about this column was the abrupt transition between the stone and the EIFS. Not only does it look like the two materials were slapped together, but from a building envelope standpoint, the upper material should always protrude beyond the lower material to prevent water from entering into the wall. This is why metal flashing is used, and there is clearly none provided here.

A simple solution is add some sort of an EIFS sill attached to the EIFS, just above the stone veneer. Adding this sill would create a sloped surface which would force the wall to run off the vertical column surface, and would protrude further than the stone where it met. This would ensure that the water is not entering behind the stone, where it has an opportunity to freeze and thaw in the Northern climates.

Additionally, a sill with a drip edge could (and should) be selected to ensure that the water does not trickle along the underside of the moulding or sill due to surface tension, creating black streaks of mineral residue.

In addition to being functional, the molding would act as a visual enhancer, providing a “softer” transition than the clean-break currently provided. The sill could optionally be colored slightly darker or lighter than the EIFS to make it stand out a little more.