Industry Experts

Artizan Finishings
Written by Claire Suttles

Artizan Finishings specializes in the installation of Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), architectural moldings, stone veneer, and cornice molding. As genuine craftsmen with years of knowledge under their belt, the team makes it their mission to provide quality work and takes great pride in their stellar customer service.

“We are sure to offer only the best and most efficient advice and service the industry demands,” says President Steve Durante. “That’s how we set our day to day goals and perspective of the company.”

The family-owned, Vaughan, Ontario-based business got its start in 2005 when Durante teamed up with his brother and his friend. After being raised in the commercial and residential sectors of the industry, launching their own company was the natural next step.

The company has grown rapidly since then and currently employs 60 people across various trades. The team has been flexible enough to stay ahead of the curve over the last two decades. “We evolved with the industry over the years because things change over time,” Durante says. “Different systems, different components, different materials, different applications—we’ve seen a lot of that change through the years.”

One thing that has not changed over the years is the company culture. “We try to base the company on our own family values,” Durante says. He and the rest of the leadership think of the entire team as part of this family. “It is a job, but we see it as more than that. It’s a personal relationship, not just that of an employee and employer. We’ve always kept it that way. Our employees are not just our employees, they are our friends, and at the end of the day, we are a family with strong working relationships. We’ve always kept it that way and we treat everyone the same at Artizan. That makes everyone [strive] for a better future for themselves and it’s a better working relationship for all of us. We try to keep it as family-oriented as possible.”

Artizan Finishings is known for its expertise in EIFS, a non-load bearing, exterior wall cladding system comprising an insulation board, an integrally reinforced base coat, and a textured, protective finish coat. The system is becoming increasingly significant because it “will provide the increasing level of thermal performance necessary in Canada to meet our climate goals,” Durante explains. “The only way to do that is by increasing the insulation value on the exterior of the home.” EIFS is like an energy-efficient thermal blanket; when insulating the exterior of a structure, the system can reduce air infiltration by up to 55 percent when compared to traditional wood or brick construction, leading to a significant reduction in energy consumption.

EIFS significantly increases a home’s R-value, which is a measurement of the resistance to heat flow. Higher R-values demonstrate a higher level of insulation. “Most EIFS use insulation board with an R-value of R-4 to R-5.6 per inch as the innermost layer in the wall system,” the Artizan Finishings website explains. “When combined with standard wall cavity insulation, this extra layer can boost wall insulation from R-11 to R-16 or more.”

In addition to being energy-efficient, EIFS is cost-effective and extremely resilient, making it easy to maintain—and ideal for a variety of projects, from restoration work to new commercial and residential builds. EIFS is resistant to fading, yellowing, dirt, mold, and mildew due to a specially formulated, 100 percent acrylic binder. This is why EIFS walls rarely need to be painted and most systems maintain their original appearance over long periods of time.

The first EIFS walls were installed in the late 1960s and the majority of them are still in good condition. In fact, if properly installed and cared for, EIFS cladding will last the life of the building. Periodic cleaning is usually all that is needed to keep up the system’s appearance, although it may be necessary to repair minor impact damage or punctures. Of course, as is the case with all types of cladding, flashing and sealant need to be inspected occasionally and maintained.

EIFS systems require skilled, experienced trade workers to properly install—which helps set Artizan Finishings apart. “Our work speaks for itself,” Durante says. “We try to execute the work in the greatest manner possible. We have great techs out there and they do proper work, with proper system installation, and manufacturers that support us and the work that we do. Our reputation grows and builds from there.”

The company has managed to overcome the recent industry challenges, but not without some bumps in the road. “COVID was a challenging time for everybody,” Durante says. “We were frontline workers… Everybody needed to continue on with construction and housing and it was very scary for us in the beginning. Getting the proper PPE for all the employees was nearly impossible but we did and they were able to continue to work and feel safe doing it. Their safety was our #1 priority. It was a scary time for them; it was tough. The first year of COVID was definitely nothing short of challenging, but thankfully we got through it,” he says.

“But as difficult it was for us during COVID, it was just as challenging for our suppliers. With their support and expertise they managed to keep our supply chains uninterrupted and we are grateful for that.”

Now, the team is eager to help young talent enter the industry. Artizan Finishings is currently helping its local union create an EIFS program to ensure access to proper training. The facility is slated to be up and running by the end of this year. “That’s something big and very exciting for the industry,” Durante says.

As for the future of the company, the team is eager to continue in their current success. Durante summarizes, “We want to keep growing our relationships with our fellow trade partners and customers in an effort to keep growing the business as well as the industry.”

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