Understanding History and Purpose of Rainscreen Cladding

Protecting our valuable structures from elements like rain and moisture is very important across many fields, and one of the primary systems for doing so is called a rainscreen cladding system. Available in several formats, these systems are generally installed as a refurbishment on existing buildings to help increase their protection from rainwater and storms.

At QC Facades, we can help match you with the perfect cladding system based on your building’s needs, including our Honeycomb open-jointed system. Let’s look at some of the history behind rainscreen cladding, plus how modern forms of it work and how they can benefit your structure.

history purpose rainscreen cladding

Rainscreen Cladding History

Rainscreen cladding can be traced back hundreds of years in some form or another, depending on how widely you want to stretch the definition. But from a modern perspective, they were first seen prominently in the UK in the 1950s, where they were used as a cost-efficient model for rebuilding what was a largely broken infrastructure.

Today, though, cladding is used a bit more specifically. Also called re-cladding or overcladding, this is a process that’s primarily applied to existing buildings that are being refurbished or upgraded.

How It Works

Cladding systems work by creating a cavity of air between the outer face of a given building and the reverse side of the cladding panel. This pocket allows air to constantly be in circulating motion, which in turn forces out any moisture that’s made its way in.

In most cases, including most of our systems, cladding will be supported by an aluminum framing system within the cavity. This frame helps create the rear ventilation, with several options and sizes available depending on the building lines and design. The cavity will be offset enough to allow for proper drainage and ventilation.

So why is this important? Well, because damp or wet walls lose more heat and more energy. Not only is installing cladding a great way to make your structures last longer, it will also improve interior comfort and decrease your utility costs. Rainscreen cladding stops rain at the outer face of the panel, and any little bits of moisture that are carried in will be removed by the basic ventilation.

Managing Condensation

If you’re a savvy consumer, you might be wondering what is done about condensation within these kinds of systems. If this is present, it’s easily managed by installing vapor permeable insulation and a fabric membrane, which allows for better ventilation and causes condensation to simply be moved into the ventilated cavity for removal.

Aesthetic Benefits

On top of the practical benefits it brings, rainscreen cladding and facades are also huge for aesthetic purposes. They often help completely transform the landscape of a given building, making it virtually indistinguishable from the previous version, all for a fraction of the cost and waste of actual demolition and rebuilding.

For more on how rainscreen cladding and facades work, or to learn about any of our composite panels, speak to the pros at QC Facades today.