RainScreen Design: Anatomy of a RainScreen Project

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Cambridge-House-Anmahian-Winton-Architects-3.jpgEvery rain screen project offers new ways of looking at design and construction challenges. With the advantage of working with some of the finest architects and construction professionals in the industry, we continually have the opportunity to look at each rain screen project in very unique ways. From the moment blueprint drawings are rolled, we enter the very distinct world of an architect’s design vision. Carrying out those plans requires a highly experienced and skilled construction manager. With the team in place, we all carefully examine the project and the process begins.

Design and Planning an East Coast Rain Screen Installation 

Ipe 1x4 rainscreen cladding  horizontal installationOne of our most recent residential rain screen system design and installations is located in the northeast, in the greater Boston area. Originally, the architects considered using a concrete cladding material for this 4,000 square foot residence. The concrete cladding panels, with their contemporary, ventilated façade, met some of the basic rain screen design element requirements of this project.  However, as design goals were fine-tuned, a better rain screen system option was discovered; the Climate-Shield Rain Screen Wood Siding System. The architects immediately recognized the sheer simplicity and design elegance of the clip and fastener system - no rain screen fasteners are visible with this system. Design versatility with easy installation was apparent. Now, with this system, smooth, clean lines and near perfect alignment of exterior elements; roof lines, windows, and doors, were all possible creating a continuous visual façade.

Benefits of a Wood Rain Screen System

The Climate-Shield Rain Screen Wood Siding System has many beneficial features. The list of benefits and overall advantages give the contractor and architect design versatility with installation ease.  However, there were two key features of interest that made all the difference for this project. First, the Climate-Shield system is a true rain screen system, and secondly, it is a natural and sustainable wood siding system. Rain screen systems reduce the conditions for mold and mildew to develop inside and outside the building envelope giving the home a healthy environment. Building a home with a healthy interior was of great importance to the homeowner and architect. Then, since the Climate-Shield system is a wood siding system, it had the aesthetic appeal of natural, sustainable hardwood materials. A design solution was in the making.

First Steps in the Rain Screen Installation Process

Ipe rain screen siding pre finish for uniform gray appearance

The architects selected 1 x 4 Ipe hardwood for the siding material. This cladding material, at that dimension, gave them exactly what they had envisioned. Next, the architects and homeowner had to decide to either let the Ipe weather naturally to a silvery gray over the next 6-12 months, or to apply a pre-finish tinted sealer.  Clients have the option to let Ipe wood, with its warm brown tones, naturally weather to a silvery gray color over a period of time, or to apply a tinted finish to the material before or after the installation stage. After extensive testing, a choice was made to apply two coats of Seal Once Cape Cod Gray, to the milled Ipe siding material. The architects wanted to achieve this color tone right from the start for a more consistent color scheme and unified design effect. The results are stunning. The natural beauty of the Ipe hardwood species has not been lost in the process and the color range unifies the overall structure.

Visit our website to learn more about rain screen design, rain screen principles and rainscreen architectural cladding options by following any of the links below:

Climate-Shield Rain Screen System

Understanding Wood Rain Screen Systems

Architectural Rain Screen Details

Architectural Rain Screen Cladding Options

Rainscreen Photo Galleries


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