Award-Winning Wood Rainscreen Project in FloridaWritten by Liza Sivek on
Are you wondering if you should choose a wood rainscreen system for your home or design? You may want to check out this award-winning home in Jupiter, Florida. It is a lovely example of the beauty of real wood siding, coupled with the functionality and benefits of a wood rainscreen system design and installation.
The architect rendering of the Tree Tops house. This project won the AIATC Design Honor Award 2020 (Photo courtesy of Hughes Umbanhower Architects)
A rainscreen wood siding system is a good-looking and healthy way to add sustainable design and natural beauty to your home or project. They help walls manage moisture in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Major advancements in rainscreen system technology makes installation easier and the rainscreen more energy efficient.
In Jupiter Island, Florida, a recently completed rainscreen project is beautiful enough to compete with the ocean view. We spoke with both the architect, Clint Larkan of Hughes Umbanhowar Architects and the contractor, Charlie Kawas of CK Construction to hear their feedback about the Climate-Shield Rainscreen System and Garapa wood siding on the award-winning Tree Tops house. This was their first experience with the Climate-Shield System.
Why Use Garapa Hardwood Siding?
Clint Larkin explained that “We have done a lot of “wood” applications, …composites, real wood,” and “we had a lot of trouble with the composites moving along the board length.”
“For this particular project we wanted the look at Teak. But Teak was just going to be too expensive, so we decided to go the Garapa route because it has a very nice orangey-golden color. It looks similar to teak, as opposed to something like Ipe, which is much browner.”
Garapa wood rainscreen siding shows off its natural, varied beauty in the Florida sun.
“The material is very diverse, there was some dark pieces and light pieces … and it all sort of nicely blended together and created a very nice, finished product."
- Clint Larkan, Architect, Hughes Umbanhower Architects.
Being a spec home, obviously they had to be budget conscious. “We really did want the overhead ceilings and soffits to be wood but that was plan B”. In the end “the whole team decided that it really needed to be all wood. It really does make a huge difference. You enter the house under this volume of Garapa wood ceiling,” Clint said. “I’m glad we did that.”
The Garapa wood soffit makes a warm, inviting and natural surround to the entranceway.
(photos courtesy Charlie Kawas, CK Construction.)
Garapa is a high-density hardwood, more affordable than most other hardwood cladding options, like Ipe and Machiche. Garapa does offer similar benefits to other exterior hardwood sidings. Garapa wood is about one-and-a-half times tougher than Oak, very durable, and resistant to insects and decay. It looks beautiful, too.
Garapa colors and grains are lighter, golden brown tones that vary from light brown to amber. Garapa wood can also be finished for a richer and darker appearance. On this house they chose to use only a Penofin Hardwood Sealer, for a natural but finished look that can weather off and allow the siding to age naturally to a silver patina. Clint explained, “The material is very diverse, there was some dark pieces and light pieces … and it all sort of nicely blended together and created a very nice finished product."
Garapa hardwood shown with Penofin Hardwood Sealer and without. You can clearly see the stunning tropical graining and color variations that set it apart from other woods.
Why Use the Climate-Shield Rainscreen System?
According to the installer, Charlie Kawas of CK Construction, “I have no faults on this, it’s a really nice system.” The rainscreen clips really worked out well.” “It’s doing exactly what we want it to do, ” and “we absolutely would use it again.”
Charlie demonstrates the Climate-Shield attachment channel and CS2 clip.
Because of the home’s cladding layout, the Mataverde team suggested an ‘Arts and Crafts’ design approach to the siding for the project. “So we varied the width on the siding material," said Clint. They selected 4” and 6” nominal width siding planks, “to accommodate any tolerances. It’s a nice look, we really like it”. Both Charlie and Clint described the help from the Mataverde team as extremely helpful and essential to the success of the project.
Charlie shows how simple it is to install the CS2 Rainscreen clip to the attachment channels. It saves time and labor.
How Can I Skip the Furring Strips?
Partnered with the Climate-Shield Rainscreen System, Garapa siding can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to meet your design goals.
The Climate-Shield CS Attachment Channel is an eight-foot attachment channel that makes installing furring strips unnecessary. It can be used over masonry, exterior gypsum of rigid foam installation for a secure rainscreen installation. Here it allowed the rainscreen to be installed directly over masonry walls. Clint told us, "The Climate-Shield clip system was very good … Charlie was able to stabilize the long boards” and keep them straight.
Climate-Shield aluminum attachment channels in place on the concrete masonry.
The attachment channel works like a hat channel, but is much easier to install and secures more effectively. The CS Rainscreen Attachment Channel is made from rugged marine grade aluminum for extended life, additional strength, and affordability.
Charlie installs aluminum attachment channels into the top edge of the wall.
How do we get a wood siding outside corner to stay put, with no gaps?
Whether you want vertical or horizontal outside corners for your wood rainscreen design, Mataverde offers beautiful real wood outside corners. They arrive pre-mitered, and ready to assemble. The wood corners save you time and energy, and hold tight over time. These well-designed outside corners create a visually appealing wrap around the corners of your wood rainscreen without gaps or extra work.
Clint explained, “We had a few different tricky corner conditions (in this design) …and, especially being outside, you don’t know what and how it’s going to expand and contract…these are harsh conditions” on Jupiter Island.
So far, so good, they look great”, said Charlie. The horizontal outside corners were custom design by the Mataverde team for this project. “These were corner conditions that were fabricated and keyed in [the Mataverde] shop which made a huge difference, because they are really locked in place. I don’t think they are going to move.”
“These were corner conditions that were fabricated and keyed [at the Mataverde] shop which made a huge difference, because they are really locked in place. I don’t think they are going to move.”
- Charlie Kawas, CK Construction
Corner wraps installed using Mataverde Climate-Shield pre-mitered corners allow for movement without creating gaps.
Clint's vision really came to life with the help of Charlie, Mataverde and the Garapa wood rainscreen and Climate-Shield System. We look forward to partnering on future projects with Cliff and Charlie soon.
How can we help you and your projects? Contact us with any questions about Climate-Shield rainscreen system or wood siding, we're here to help.