Combining Rainscreen Façades and Composite Panels

When it comes to protecting your building from wind, rain and other elements, there are a few great products you’ll be able to choose from. At QC Façades, we have a wide range of such products available for you, from our honeycomb panels to our metal rainscreens and much more.

In many cases, an alternative that some buildings use to rainscreen façades is called a composite panel. How does this product differ from a rainscreen façade, and can the two be combined to achieve better results? Let’s take a look at all the details here.

rainscreen façades composite panels

Rainscreen Façade Basics

A rainscreen façade is a decorative outer skin of a building that helps it stay protected from the elements, namely wind and rain. It’s non-structural, and can be made using materials ranging from aluminum and steel to zinc, copper, glass or even ceramic in some cases.

Between the outer façade and the internal structure is a rear ventilated cavity, which allows for air to circulate. Air enters at the base, travels up behind the outer cladding, and is expelled at the top – this takes any moisture from the joints right along with it, stopping such moisture from making its way into the internal part of the building. The skin doesn’t directly contribute to thermal performance, but the building does receive performance benefits.

Differences Between Façade and Composite Panel

To the untrained eye, rainscreen façades and composite panels will look identical. The main difference is found in areas you can’t see from the outside – composite panels also include additional insulation between the two metal skins, which creates a lighter and more efficient wall system.

On the flip side, however, composite panels don’t offer the same level of versatility or quality when it comes to aesthetics. For this reason, many manufacturers have begun to combine the two areas into a single product that keeps the best traits of each.

Benefits of Combination

In many cases, façade panels can be fixed directly to composite panels. This eliminates any need for insulation or cement board, and also speeds up the installation speed and saves you money on material costs.

This kind of thing is easily doable within building and fire regulations in any state, and can generally be rigged with the rainscreen façade panel in the same direction or the opposite direction as the composite panels. You do have to account for things like wind pressure and suction loads, which can be different across different models, but an engineer can do these calculations. And finally, know that in some cases, secondary rails might be needed to withstand positive and negative wind pressure that creates stress on the surface.

For more on combining rainscreen façades with composite panels, or to learn about any of our other rainscreen panels, speak to the pros at QC Façades today.