Episode 11 – Rainscreens

Rainscreen Cladding Systems

When it comes to protecting your building against the elements, a rainscreen panel system is the first line of defense.

What is a rainscreen system? It’s an exterior wall detail where the cladding stands off from the water barrier applied to the sheathing to create a capillary break and to allow drainage and evaporation. Without a rainscreen to protect your building from the elements, water damage to the walls and the rest of the building from rain and snow is more likely to occur. Additionally, rainscreen systems are energy efficient, versatile, cost-effective and improve the lifespan of a building’s exterior wall system.

Rainscreens are made with a variety of surface materials, including aluminum, sintered ceramic, solar, and natural stone, and can be added to a building’s exterior both during new construction and as part of a renovation or rebuild.

There are two different types of rainscreen cladding: drained and back-ventilated rainscreens (D/BV) and pressure-equalized rainscreens (PERS). What’s the difference between drained and back-ventilated rainscreens and pressure-equalized rainscreens?


Drained and Back-ventilated Rainscreens

Drained and back-ventilated rainscreens are traditionally an open-joint system that allow you to see between the panels and the cavity of the wall system, exposing insulation and the air/vapor barrier to the elements and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.


Pressure-equalized Rainscreens

A pressure-equalized rainscreen, on the other hand, has a closed joint using infill strips that act as air dams in both vertical and horizontal joints. Pressure-equalization reduces the pressure difference across the cladding through the use of compartmentalization and back venting, keeping rain and snow from getting driven into the wall cavity. That significantly lessens the amount of moisture that goes into the system. Leakage of incidental water is reduced, and residual moisture is returned to the exterior of the drainage plane.

Each of Elemex’s code-compliant architectural facade systems – Solstex – Solar Facade System, Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic Facade System, Alumitex – Aluminum Facade System and Stonitex – Natural Stone Facade System – are equipped with our pressure-equalized rainscreen system (PERS), which breathes freely and allows panels to repel water and debris.

Elemex rainscreen facade systems have passed the AAMA 508-07 test for pressure equalization, which measures the percentage of moisture that gets through the rainscreen and anything over 5% is considered a failure.

Thanks to the innovative Unity proprietary attachment technology, our rainscreen systems are easy to install and feature the same limitless design flexibility as Elemex’s facade panels. Plus, the 360° Advantage provides unmatched service and support for all projects from beginning to end.

If you have any questions regarding rainscreens and wish to speak to one of Elemex’s experts, please contact us at info@elemex.com.

Elemex Architectural Facade Systems
530 Admiral Dr,
London, ON
N5V 0B2
+1 844-435-3639