What Is a
Rainscreen?

Architectural Rainscreen Systems Overview

As the name suggests, a rainscreen is akin to a raincoat. It protects the building from the elements: rain, snow, and ice. If an elegant cladding material such as decorative glass is used, a rainscreen can also deliver an added dose of modernity and style. It can be easily attached to the structural walls or floor slabs of a new or old building, creating a protective envelope around it.

Rainscreen assemblies are multi-layer building defense systems comprising:

  • 1 An outer cladding layer: it is the primary barrier against rainwater penetration (in some technical literature, the outer cladding layer itself may be referred to as the “rainscreen”)
  • 2 An air cavity protected by proper roof flashing: it helps dissipate any moisture that may have penetrated the first line of defense
  • 3 An air and vapor barrier: it prevents any moisture inside the air cavity from penetrating the building enclosure

Images courtesy of Bendheim Wall Systems Inc.