Rainscreen Best Practice on Exterior Siding

  • 3 min read

In various parts of the country, the concept of rain screens on siding may not be a widespread practice, but in certain regions, it’s a crucial component of building codes. Oregon, for example, mandates rain screens for most residential properties. This construction technique involves creating an air gap between the exterior siding and the house’s shell, offering valuable protection against moisture-related issues.

Understanding Rain Screens

The fundamental idea behind rain screens is to establish a barrier against moisture infiltration. By introducing an air gap, typically achieved with furring strips, between the cladding and the structure, potential issues arising from water, condensation, or leaks are mitigated. Vents strategically placed at the top and bottom of this cavity facilitate airflow, promoting ventilation that aids in drying out any moisture that may accumulate.

Rain Screen

Preventing Moisture-Related Problems

The primary goal of rain screens is to prevent moisture-related problems, such as mold, mildew, and other organic material growth. While rain screens add some labor and material costs, the long-term benefits far outweigh these initial expenses. The siding, whether it’s hardy board, board and batten, or any other material, becomes a cosmetic element rather than the primary moisture control barrier.

Cost and Security Considerations

For those in regions where rain screens aren’t mandatory, it’s essential to evaluate how incorporating them might impact costs and enhance the overall security of the house. The air gap provided by rain screens acts as an additional layer of defense against potential water damage, contributing to the longevity of the property.

Versatility of Ventilated Rain Screens

Ventilated rain screens are considered one of the most versatile options. This method involves creating a gap between the cladding and the insulation, allowing for effective airflow. While this technique is common in high-performance building, some builders opt for low-maintenance synthetic cladding. The versatility of rain screens lies in their ability to adapt to different climates and construction requirements.

Exploring Rain Screen Variations

Builders can choose from various rain screen implementations, each with its advantages and considerations. Ventilated rain screens, mesh-based systems, and other configurations cater to different preferences and climatic conditions. Understanding the specific needs of a region can guide the selection of the most suitable rain screen method.

A Worthwhile Addition to Home Sealing

While rain screens may not be universally embraced, their significance in moisture control cannot be understated. Whether mandated by local building codes or considered as an optional addition, rain screens contribute to the durability and resilience of homes. Even in areas with less rainfall, the preventive benefits make rain screens a worthwhile consideration in the construction or renovation process.

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