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Understanding How Rainscreen Cladding Works

Sharpfibre

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Building’s exterior walls were traditionally protected from rainwater by being fully sealed through the use of barriers, joints and sealants.  Unfortunately these walls would often fail due to movement within the structure, degredation of materials or through poor workmanship; leading to rainwater penetrating through into the interior.  

Rainscreen cladding is a more modern solution to and old problem, whereby an exterior barrier is applied to a property’s outer wall.  Such systems are a form of double wall construction.  Whilst the principle of rainscreen cladding is a simple one, the science behind how modern systems work is a little more complex.

Rainscreen cladding systems are constructed by mounting lightweight panels to high specification alloy framework, which is fastened to the building’s existing wall.  The panels serve to deflect most of the rainwater, thus preventing it from reaching the walls of the structure.   

The cavity between the panels and the structural wall is ventilated, with air ingress at the base of the system, with an egress at the top.  The flow of air serves to create an equalising pressure on both sides of the panels, thus preventing rainwater from penetrating through any joints or gaps.  

During severe weather conditions, it is possible that small amounts of rainwater may still penetrate through the outer layer into the cavity.  In such situations, much of this water will evaporate thanks to the flow of air.  Any remaining water runs down the rear face of the panel, where it is then dispersed via a drainage channel positioned at the base of the system.  

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