What is a Rainscreen?
Along with the roof, the facade is one of the most important elements of a building. It acts as the primary barrier against harsh weather elements such as rain, snow, wind, frosts and hot sunlight. As well as being a practical addition to a building, it also contributes to aesthetic value.
A rainscreen is one of the most popular and efficient ways to protect a building, fitting perfectly into current sustainable architecture standards.
Purpose and Components
A rainscreen is the attachment of an outer layer or rear-ventilated cladding to a new or existing building. It is a form of double-wall construction that uses an outer layer to shield from rain and allow drainage/evaporation and then an inner layer to provide thermal insulation, preventing excess air leakage and carry wind loading.
The key to a properly designed rainscreen wall system is to control and manage nature’s elements, which are:
- Water infiltration
- Ultraviolet radiation
- Negative wind pressures
- Heat transfer into and out of the building
- Air infiltration
- Vapour transmission
Cladding: As the first line of defence, a high-quality wall panel cladding system is essential for a number of reasons. In addition to protecting the wall assembly against the majority of rain, it also protects against negative wind pressures and ultraviolet radiation.
Commonly used cladding materials include; aluminium, steel, terracotta, timber and slate.
Vented air space: This cavity promotes residual water drainage and airflow behind the wall panel, which helps dry out any water that gets through, as well as ventilates moisture-laden air that may be drawn into the cavity.
Insulation (weather barrier): The insulation in a wall assembly reduces the heat flow into and out of the building. For the most effective and energy-efficient design, insulation should be applied in a continuous layer on the exterior side of the air barrier.
Air barrier: Any residual amounts of water that bypass the external cladding will ultimately be stopped by this air barrier. Any water that contacts this surface will either drain out of the bottom of the wall assembly, or will evaporate out of the wall.
Structural wall of the building: The building is the reason for the rainscreen. It requires protection from the elements to be useable.
How does it work?
A cladding system includes a main structural wall, an insulation layer (weather barrier), mounting track with pre-indexed clips (if using Sculptform Aluminium Click-on Cladding – see below) and a feature cladding material fixed to a supporting structure connected to the building. This structure creates an air cavity between the main wall and the cladding, allowing for adequate ventilation.
Depending on the project, insulation is usually included as part of the system. Although sometimes the main wall can provide enough insulation or insulation can be placed inside the building.
Rainscreen Option: Click-on Cladding
Sculptform Aluminium Click-on cladding was designed to provide architects with a highly customisable rainscreen solution. Our system utilises our proprietary track mounting system which can be fixed to virtually any substrate. Once the tracks are installed, each piece simply clicks into the clips – allowing for speed and accuracy during the installation.
We have a range of flat, flute and 3D profiles available, which can be arranged into various sequences, from fine clean lines to bold shapes. Different textures can also be created by using various depth profiles to create shadows. The system also has an element of curvability built-in, with both concave and convex curves possible. We also have the ability to install with an angle texture as well.
We supply all trims and angles required for the install, or we can help create custom connections for your existing substrates.
Sculptform Click-on cladding is a quick, simple and cost-effective rainscreen option which is also deemed non-combustible according to 1530.1. It doesn’t require any specialised trades to install; any builder can do it!
Advantages of Rainscreens
- Reduces condensation and humidity coming both from inside and outside the building. The continuous circulation of air inside the air cavity works as an extra protection layer.
- Durable: Ventilation behind the cladding keeps it dry, therefore lengthening its lifespan.
- Energy efficiency: Keeps building cool and warm depending on the season, due to the insulation component, providing thermal comfort and energy savings.
- Low maintenance: The design can withstand adverse weather conditions.
- Value: Durability, energy efficiency and low maintenance adds value to a building due to reduced longterm costs.
Have any questions?
Our clients are at the heart of every project. It’s our job to deliver on the big picture and the smallest detail. We’re your proactive design partner – we’ll listen to what you really need and work with you to make sure the job gets done right.
If you have any questions about rainscreens, you can contact us below.