Rain-Screen Cladding 2.0

With an increasingly inconsistent climate, rain-screen cladding applications have become more relevant than ever. While you may not need them in the desert, they are fantastic for building here in Austin, TX and most places for that matter.

I originally learned about rain-screens from my friend and builder buddy, Matt Risinger. Since then, I have done countless experiments,  attended numerous building science classes/seminars on the subject, and obsessed on previously published systems posted to buildingscience.com (sometimes until the wee hours of the morning!). So, with even the best systems, small details can always be tweaked with hopes of improving on a good thing. Look at each new iPhone iteration for example; I just got the 6S Plus and love it, even more than my previous version.

The more significant tweaks we made involve the use of a perforated stainless steel insect screen (at the bottom of our wall) for added durability, and the use of the same material (at the top of our vertical walls, assuming we have overhangs). This is in lieu of the more typically used woven fiberglass screen (similar to window screen).

The other noteworthy additions branch off into another topic, air-sealing. We sheath/block our walls all the way to the roof line and couple that with the use of a fluid applied caulking by Tyvek to seal every nook and cranny of our envelope, including sheathing to the foundation and our roof to wall connections .

By no means do I wish to take away from (or take credit for) any of the previously used rain-screen systems out there. Rather, I would like to share our ideas with the world, similar to the “Open Source” format used today in much of the technology sector. Enjoy!

Doug Cameron is a Healthy, High-Performance Builder & Remodeler with EcoSafe Spaces Design+Build in Austin, TX

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