What Is A Rainscreen?
The main function of rainscreen is to provide protection to external walls of a structure from rains as well as other climatic changes. Rainscreen saves the building from dealing with moisture problems as this diverts rainwater’s direction. Basically, cladding means the process of covering one material using another. Usually, the surface of the material that’s about to be covered is finished already and cladding provides protective coating to it. External wall or roof of any building is sheltered by adding a new layer to be able to drive away the water from surface.
Cladding for rainscreen can be made out of glass, masonry, metal, wood or stone. Cladding can help in reducing the force to which the rain hits the surface protected while the cavity at its back is reducing thrust in rainwater over a support wall. In general, cladding has porous nature and has vents within, which facilitates airflow to the cavity and therefore, prevents moisture from building up in the cavity. Apart from that, airtight supporting wall along with its covering of rigid coating of waterproof material guarantees that the moisture will not cause harm to the structure.
As a matter of fact, there are 2 classifications of rainscreens and these are the simple and pressure equalized rainscreens.
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In the former, the varieties are quite a lot especially for areas that experience low rainfall. Cladding of simple rainscreen is actually vented while the support wall is covered with waterproof material which is airtight. The base of wall usually has a drain and one common example for this type of rainscreen is the brick masonry finish above concrete wall.
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Structures in areas that experience heavy rainfall on the other hand are being protected by using a more advanced pressure equalized rainscreen. The principle for this work in is that, as the rainstorm strikes the building, vents in cladding let the air contained in cavity to bang against the layer of air barrier of the support wall. And primarily because of balancing of outer as well as inner pressure, it helps in preventing moisture to enter from the structure.
The balancing of two pressures on the other hand can actually work better in theory than in practice. However, in compartmentalizing the cavity, it is a big help. And to be able to prevent rainwater to pierce through cladding even further, the size of the joints can deliver exceptional result. To get best results, it is important to get quality sealants and drainage layers as well over support walls to guarantee that the pressure balancing system is working efficiently.
Rainscreens are extremely important to any buildings as this keeps external walls to be strong for extended period of time.